Foley, AL amusement park set to open mid-July as hiring begins to add 400 seasonal workers

Renderings of what the OWA development in Foley, Ala., might look like once it's developed and opened. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians are targeting a mid-July 2017 opening for the new amusement park. (renderings available on
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FOLEY, Ala. ( — A new amusement park in coastal Alabama is pushing toward a mid-July opening and expects to hire 400 seasonal workers through upcoming weeks.

Auditions to work at "The Park at OWA" - the amusement park section of the 520-acre resort under construction in Foley - will begin on Sunday and continue into June. Seasonal employment opportunities will include include food and beverage, retail, ride operations, park services, and more.

The amusement park is part of the overall project named "OWA," the first major non-gaming development in Alabama backed by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The federally recognized tribe owns and operates three bingo casinos in state, none of that is planned at OWA in Foley.

"We're a different place, and OWA is trying to set a different standard," said Kristin Hellmich, spokeswoman with OWA.

OWA will not be accepting "in-person or walk-up applicants" on Sunday, she said. Instead, applicants first go to the website to set up an audition. Then, a pre-screening takes place before prospects are able to attend a closed audition.

Hellmich said that OWA seeks "energetic applicants," and emphasized that those who miss out Sunday will "have other opportunities."

'Game changer'

The hiring process kicks off what will is a flurry of activity at the future amusement park located on the Foley Beach Express, about nine miles from the Gulf Coast beaches.

"OWA is going to be a game changer for the Gulf Coast," said Lee Sentell, executive director with the Alabama Department of Tourism. "This is, I believe, the largest entertainment complex that is opening in the country this summer."

Hellmich said that OWA will soon announce more details, such as giving ticket prices, setting a hard opening date and perhaps revealing tenants for restaurants.

For now, plans are moving forward to open the amusement park portion of the development that will feature 21 rides highlighted by the Rollin' Thunder roller coaster. Several national publications have heralded Rollin' Thunder as one of the most anticipated new thrill rides in the U.S. for 2017.

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