If you’ve visited our Westford location, you know it’s the place to be for classic summer fun! Aside from serving up our homemade ice cream and fresh seafood, there are activities galore that appeal to all ages: mini golf, bumper boats, batting cages, zipline, arcade, driving range, Pitch & Putt, pony rides, and more.
We sat down with Zach Cournoyer, Kimball Farm’s Director of Machines and Amusement Devices, to see what it takes to keep our rides and attractions operating at full-speed all season long.
How long have you worked at Kimball Farm?
I’ve worked at Kimball Farm for 8 years. As the Director of Machines and Amusement Devices I essentially manage and maintain all of our rides and make sure they’re in compliance with Massachusetts and National safety standards. I ensure our staff is following our policies and our customers are having the best experience possible. I also manage and maintain all of the heavy machines and vehicles used across all of our locations, as well as manage the Cruise Night and Bike Night events for our Lancaster location. In fact, years ago when I first started at Kimball’s I worked in Lancaster on the maintenance crew!
What do you love most about your job?
Definitely the people I work with, and how every day brings new projects and challenges.
Which activity do you think is the “best kept secret” and why?
Our live music series! These are free shows that happen several nights each week during the summer. It’s such a fun time, and I love seeing our customers enjoying our food and attractions while listening to fantastic music from local bands.
How many times each day do some of the activities run?
On an average summer weekend day, the Soaring Eagle Zipline will usually clock in about 350 rides and the Spin Zone will run about 200 rides.
Who do you think is more nervous to ride the Soaring Eagle Zipline — kids or adults?
Adults definitely seem the most nervous, I always see them holding on the tightest! When the chair comes in and you hear the whoosh of the air brakes you also hear lots of laughter from the kids — they seem to have had the most fun.
What are the most common (and strangest!) questions and comments you’ve heard about the activities?
The most common question I get is about our Batting Cages: “Which cage does baseball?” or “Which cage does softball?” And of course I always answer that all cages do both! Each cage pitches baseball and softball at multiple speeds that can be selected at the drop of a token. For our Soaring Eagle Zipline, everyone always asks: “How high up is it?” Our zipline will take you 100 feet high and move you 600 feet in one direction, and then zoom you 600 feet back!
One thing that always makes me chuckle is about the name of the Soaring Eagle — I hear people call it things like the “Screaming Eagle” or the “Soaring Rooster.” Too funny!
What tips do you have for someone who wants to impress their friends or a date at the Batting Cages?
Unless you happen to be a stellar baseball athlete… don’t pick the highest speed in baseball! If you do, 90% of the time you will not hit the ball. So my tip is to take it slow (ha ha)!
What goes on “behind the scenes” to keep things running each season?
My team and I inspect all of our amusements daily, and if anything needs to be addressed it’s taken care of immediately. I take great pride in how well the rides perform.
There are many departments working together during our busy season. To name a few that operate behind the scenes, our cleaning crew keeps our tents, tables and pathways clean from trash and debris. And our maintenance team works daily to keep our grass cut perfectly on our Pitch & Putt course and Driving Range. They also make sure our parking lots are mowed and in good shape!
Winter is a critical time too, since we work on our larger projects then. These usually consist of upgrades or changes that will make the guest experience even better! I also work with my team to plow our parking lots during the winter since our Westford Country Store & Café is open year-round. A lot of long days and nights can go into this depending on the number of storms we have and how much snow we get. It’s a lot of work if it’s a snowy winter, but we always have fun while we’re out there!
What is it like getting everything open and running in the spring?
To open in the spring for a new season is a multi-week process. For our attractions, any necessary repairs are made during the winter. Pre-season inspections are done, which are very in-depth inspections that go through each and every component of each amusement ride. I also personally go through and repair each of our vehicles and machines during the winter to make sure they’re ready to go for a new season! It’s always exciting to welcome our first guests in the spring, which for the activities is typically early to mid-April depending on the type of winter we’ve had.
What’s your favorite thing to order at the Ice Cream Stand and Grill & Seafood Shack?
My favorite ice cream is definitely Peanut Butter Chip. And at the Grill I love the Haddock Bites!
Don’t forget you can purchase a “Give Me 3” or “Give Me 5” combo pass for activities and customize your visit at the best value. And next time you’re strolling around in Westford, if you see Zach inspecting the rides out back be sure to stop and say hi!
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