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Person 2 Person: Julie Freed

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Person 2 Person: Julie Freed (Photo provided by Julie Freed)

(KUTV) Lagoon Amusement Park is a Utah institution. It has been run by Julie Freed's family for three generations.

After World War II her grandfather, Peter Freed, and his three brothers were looking for something to do and decided to re-open Lagoon.

It had been closed during the war and was a little run-down.

According the Julie Freed, the park re-opened on May 30, 1946 and Peter was "just hoping and praying that someone would want to come."

"He sat by the entrance and he counted on his hand how many people came," described Freed. "Fifteen people came to the park and he thought that was just the greatest thing."

Peter Freed is now 96 years old. And now there are days when Lagoon gets 15,000 visitors.

Family is very important to the people at Lagoon, since it run by family, for family.

"We are one of the last family-owned amusement parks in the nation and it means a lot to everyone that works at Lagoon," said Freed.

Most of the management at Lagoon has worked there since they were teenagers.

"It's really a family. And it's special because of that," Freed said.

Freed is part of the third generation of the Lagoon owners, but she wasn't expected to work there.

"Our parents never, ever forced us to work at the park. They just said, 'It's here for you if you want it,'" she said. "Everyone in the third generation has really stepped up to the plate and we really love being there."

Lagoon has to work to keep up with the changing times and technology.

"It's interesting--a lot of things have gone 3D in the industry," said Freed. "So we're kind of seeing how we can follow that trend."

But staying on the cutting edge can get pricey.

"Obviously, we have more great ideas than we have money," laughed Freed. "And it's all dependent on the previous year."

If they have a really great year with a lot of visitors, they may plan a ride for the next year or have the opportunity to do something a little different.

"We're always planning about five years ahead," said Freed.

But of course Freed couldn't give any sneak peeks about what is to come in Lagoon's future.

"It's so good! It's worth waiting for," she said.

In the meantime, Freed will work to continue her grandfather's legacy.

Recently, she and her cousin drove him around the park before Lagoon was open during the week.

"He didn't even recognize it. He just kept saying, 'I can't believe this is our Lagoon,'" said Freed. "He calls it 'the thrill of a lifetime' and that for me is what makes me want to just keep going and make it even better."

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