Shows have long been a big part of spending a day at a theme park, with entertainment offering a break between rides or a diversion for non-riders. Some shows are quite elaborate, designed to be watched in their entirety, while others are a simple setup meant to be something that catches the eye while in passing on the street.
|When Time Warner purchased the Six Flags Theme Parks in the early '90s, a great effort was made throughout the company to return "theme" to the parks. Some of the projects involved creating new themed areas, while others were simple upgrades to the park's existing sections. The Frontier Adventures area of Great Adventure was one of the more elaborately themed sections of the park from the start, anchored by the park's largest show venue - the Great Arena. However, over the years the Great Arena no longer offered regular shows, only big concerts, so the area lacked any kind of ongoing entertainment. In 1993, a small platform was added to Frontier Adventures where a variety of minor performances could be staged.
|Located between the
"E" tower of the Fort and the western restrooms, a simple wooden
platform was constructed with a two story facade at its rear. The
facade was similar to a movie set decorated to resemble a U.S.
Marshall's office festooned with rustic props including saddles,
barrels, and old time pots and pans.
To the left of the stage platform was an adjoining jail which enclosed the overhang of the Fort's tower. These two sets combined would serve as backdrops for the series of shows that would be shown over the years including the venues' debut performance of Gun Fight at Frontier Adventures in 1993.
|For several seasons
the Frontier Adventures stage was used for a comedy gun fight show.
Gunfight shows were a popular thing for many theme parks, reflecting the
fascination with the "wild west" in movies and TV shows. As the
glamour of the old west faded over time, the traditional gun fight faded
as well, with many parks instead offering a gun fight with a comedy
slant. In 1996, the gunfight shows found a new home at the Legend
of Venom Gulch set built in the queue area of the Viper roller coaster.
While the Frontier Adventures Stage continued to be used as part of Fright Fest each season, it remained unused during the peak season for several years until Runaway Country was introduced in 2005.
|The new Runaway Country show featured a mix of performers singing musical hits and offering western themed comedy. A guy and girl team dressed in country attire including the requisite cowboy hats headlined the show with cordless microphones that allowed them to interact with the audience.
|For the 2007 season,
the Runaway Country show came back as Runaway Country Then & Now, adding
a few classic country songs to the mix.
The 2008-2009 seasons saw the park's Live & Local program which showcased regional talent introduce the Singer Songwriter Series to the Frontier Stage with acoustic performances.
The 2010 season saw a new show with Return of the Whippershnappers, a performance of contemporary country songs. The jail portion of the stage's facade was upgraded with new log planking in 2010 as part of a refurbishment of the Fort that season.
The stage was vacant for the main season in 2011, but in 2012 a new show called The Amazing Travels of MPJ, a "medicine show" themed magic act, was introduced.
|Since 2012, the stage has
remained mostly unused during the regular season while occasional
hosting some shows of varying
capacities as part of the annual Fright Fest events.
After all these years, even without a show, the Frontier Adventures Stage helps add character to the western area as it quietly sits awaiting its next great act.
|Original Spotlight: June 6, 2021. GAH Reference#: SHOW-1993-001