Skip to Main Content

Carowinds

Skip to Next Section

Meet the Carowinds Carpenters

Sierra Burrell

Digital and PR Coordinator

When you consider Carowinds’ more than 4,000 employees, you probably think about the parking lot and gate crews, ride and game attendants, lifeguards or security staff. However, there is another group you’ve likely never seen on a trip to Carowinds. Allow us to introduce you to our carpentry team – some of the unsung heroes of Carowinds (though they’re entirely too humble to call themselves that).

Our carpentry team handles just about everything that needs to be built in the park. Over the years, they’ve made chairs, photo booths, SCarowinds mazes, outside décor, special event props, and even a hearth mantle. They also miantain the structure on our three wooden coasters.

To keep the park in shape for guests, they start work at 4 a.m., and every day begins with a safety meeting. From there, the general carpentry team tackles various work orders and the coaster carpentry team goes out to inspect the wooden coasters. Carpenter Josh Ford said they walk each wooden track every day to make sure the rides are ready when the gates open.

Not all their work is routine. Longtime Carowinds carpenter Josh Ford said one of the team’s most challenging projects was rebuilding a section of Woodstock Express. The third turn was becoming a little rough, so the team redesigned it, spreading the track out to make the turn less sharp. Ford said it was a complicated project, and the most satisfying part was feeling the smoothness of the ride after construction was completed.

"I knew riders were going to like it even better," he said with a smile.

Have you enjoyed the rocking chairs in Blue Ridge Junction? All 40 chairs were made right here at Carowinds! Carpenter Steve McCart said Carowinds originally had plastic rocking chairs, but they didn't hold up to weather and use. So the team decided to take matters into their own hands to make something more durable. It took four months to design the rockers, cut all the pieces and then put them together.

"We're glad people like them," McCart said. "Guests are in them all day long."

When the massive Blue Ridge Junction hearth was built, Carowinds’ V.P. and general manager Pat Jones asked for a mantle. Instead of choosing ordinary materials in the shop, carpentry manager Rob Starling brought in timber from a late-1700s York County home to create it. It's a beauty - be sure to check it out on your next visit.

Whenever they can, the team reuses old projects rather than starting with new materials. For example, when a photo booth they’d built was no longer needed, they split it in half and used each side to make two new kiosks for the park. When the carousel was moved, they discovered timbers and hard maple decking that couldn't be reused at the new site. Instead of tossing the wood, the team used it to create a Carolina wall hanging that's a showpiece in our administrative conference room.

One thing is for sure – there is no such thing as a typical day. In addition to their own work, the team helps other departments whenever they need a hand. McCart said they've done everything from laying pavers to assembling animatronic dinosaurs. But that’s just fine with them – they enjoy having a job that isn’t monotonous.

“I’ve got a lot of really good, well-rounded people that work for me,” Starling said. “They can jump in and do about anything.”

We’re not kidding when we say the coolest items in the park aren’t made by an outside company or mass-produced – they’re hand-crafted here. And though they’re often too modest to take credit for their hard work, the carpentry team gets a lot of satisfaction from seeing guests enjoy the results of their work, according to Starling: “At the end of the day, when you hear all of that laughing, screaming and hollering when you’re going out the gate… it makes for a good day.”

Related Topics:

Share This

Sierra Burrell

Digital and PR Coordinator

Post a Comment

Skip to Next Section

Autism Awareness Week

The week of July 8 – July 14 is Autism Awareness Week at Carowinds. We are proud to partner with the Autism Society of America to make sure we serve our guests with autism and their families. Carowinds provides special accommodations so that every member of your family can have an enjoyable experience during your visit to the park.
Read More

Party On! Hurler Celebrates Its 25th Birthday

Afterburn isn’t the only roller coaster at Carowinds celebrating a major milestone this year. You might say that after opening 25 years ago this month, it’s Party Time (Excellent!) for Hurler, Carowinds’ tallest operating wooden coaster.
Read More

They Came, They Saw, They Ate

We’re sure you’re all aware of Carowinds’ newest restaurant: Blue Ridge Country Kitchen. It has quickly become a guest favorite, hosting thousands of folks for down-home Carolina cookin’ in its cool, indoor seating and shady, outdoor seating. But, does it stand up to the test of local foodies? We decided to find out.
Read More

Inside Look at New Carowinds Hotel: Your Room is Almost Ready!

Here's an inside look at the in-progress model room inside SpringHill Suites by Marriott at Carowinds. These clean, modern, and spacious suites were designed for the whole family. The living and sleeping areas are built with comfort and convenience in mind.
Read More

Afterburn Turns 20!

One of Carowinds’ 14 roller coasters reaches a major milestone this year! Afterburn, widely regarded by coaster enthusiasts as one of the best inverted coasters in existence, is celebrating its 20th birthday in 2019.
Read More

Five New Shows Debut at Carowinds

This season, Carowinds has debuted FIVE new shows (including four debuting over this past Memorial Day weekend) that are performed in locations around the park and are a great complement to Carowinds’ outstanding ride and attraction portfolio.
Read More

New Carowinds Hotel - Spring 2019 Update

There's almost as much excitement surrounding the opening of Carowinds' first on-site hotel as there is for Copperhead Strike, the latest addition to our outstanding coaster lineup. Here's the latest update on construction and a peek at what the new hotel will look like.
Read More

A Brew With a Bite

A new coaster deserves a new way to celebrate and what could be better than a crisp, cold IPA? Carowinds and Sycamore Brewing have teamed together to create Copperhead Strike IPA, brewed just in time for opening day.
Read More

Double the Launch, Double the Fun!

If you’ve never experienced a launch coaster before, you’re in for a real treat. This spring, Carowinds will open Copperhead Strike, which holds the honor of being the Carolinas’ first double launch coaster. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “double launch,” don’t worry, it’s not as intimidating as it sounds.
Read More

The Making of a New Restaurant: Blue Ridge Country Kitchen

The food at Blue Ridge Country Kitchen will be so good it'll make you slap your knee and holler. I can guarantee this, because I've been fortunate enough to wander by the test kitchen while the recipes were being perfected and was an eager taste tester. Although great food is the key ingredient for a successful restaurant, recipe development is just one of the many things that go into creating one. 
Read More