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I know there was a fire that caused the old Fortune Festival area to become the current day Boardwalk, however I think (from looking at pictures) that the left and right are the same structures that are at the park today. Did the fire just affect the back "dead end" area?

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For the most part, yes. There was some damage to both sides as well, but it was all largely contained to the bottom of the "U" shaped dead-end of the building that you describe. Obviously, the original, overhead racing rainbow lighting was replaced throughout the new area.

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Even though the fire took place mostly at the dead-end portion of the arcade, I believe the rest of the arcade suffered severe water damage. The entire thing was demolished except for the two food stands at the extreme ends (Mustard's Last Stand and the Potato Factory). Below are comparisons of the area - 1979 on the left and 1986 on the right.

 

gallery_2_35_4947.jpg

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