A North Texas amusement park that's been part of family traditions for nearly five decades announced it was closed Wednesday afternoon.
The announcement that Sandy Lake Amusement Park had closed was posted to Facebook, letting customers know that the family who owned the park for 48 years sold it.
"The owners truly appreciate the millions of patrons, thousands of organized groups and special events we've hosted at the park. If the park's legacy is leaving most people with golden memories or pleasant thoughts then the park has done it's job," the post read.
Suzy Self co-owned the park with her husband, brother and sister-in-law.
She said the family has always been in the amusement park business. They were doing the western show at Six Flags Over Texas when her father accidentally stumbled on Sandy Lake when he made a wrong turn. Back then, it was little more than a pool and golf course. He bought it in 1970, and the family quickly added the rides, train and picnic space that would attract families for the next half century.
"We've had company picnics, family reunions, birthdays, all kinds of things," Self said.
Within hours of sharing the news online, hundreds of memories began to flood in.
Self said one came from a man who regularly booked Sandy Lake for corporate events.
"He said, 'This holds lot of memories for me.' And I said, 'Why is that?' And he said, 'Well I came out here to the band festival when I was just a kid, and I kissed my wife for the first time on a paddle boat,'" Self said.
It's one of the many memories of Fun Fest, which remains one of the family's proudest achievements. Self said it was the largest and longest running privately owned music festival in the country. It's brought thousands of middle school students to the park from all over North Texas.
When it comes to what she'll miss most, Self said it's the children.
"The man that drove the train for so many years, his favorite thing to say was, 'Before we get this train going, lean over and give the person next to you a hug,' Self said.
It's a moment that symbolized what Self and her family worked so hard for, to spread happiness and fun across multiple generations.
Sandy Lake was sold to its neighbor, Southwest Landscaping. Self said they plan to preserve the land as it is now and use it for storage of trees and plants. The park, however, will no longer be a public space.