Revving up the go-carts and bumper boats

New summer games and activities will be unveiled during a blues and rock-infused grand opening event at Fort Frenzy.

While the entertainment complex at 3232 First Ave. N. has offered roller skating, laser tag, video games and food since January, the coming weekend bash will expand its family-centered offerings to include water games and go-carts.

“The whole outside is coming together and opening up to the public for the first time,” said Effie Hill, general manager of Fort Frenzy, “and we’re going to kick it off in a big way.”

Launching the kick-off program will be a concert by Standing Hampton, a Des Moines-based power pop and classic rock cover band. Together for 14 years, the group has a reputation as premiere performers of 1970s and ’80s songs by Heart, AC/DC, Bon Jovi, and Foreigner. They have appeared on stage with several national acts, including Rick Springfield, Cheap Trick, Eddie Money, Night Ranger, Little River Band, Head East, and Janey Lane. Standing Hampton will perform from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday.

Also on the schedule is the Kriss Karr Band, a Fort Dodge-based group that performs cover songs from the Black Crowes, Charlie Daniels, Neil Young, 38 Special, and The Doobies. The group also plays a few of their own original songs. They have opened for various national acts such as Night Ranger, Foreigner, Styxx, Grand Funk, Atlanta Rhythm Section, and Average White Band. The Kriss Karr Band will perform from 6 to 7 p.m. Saturday and again from 4 to 7 p.m. May 18.

Bringing a bit of the East Coast westward will be the Peter Karp and Sue Foley Band. From New Jersey, the male-female duo and their group will perform from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday. Karp is a singer-songwriter, guitarist, and pianist who has drawn national attention with his own brand of “Americana” sound. Originally from Canada, Foley is a blues and roots artist who has gained international respect and shared the stage with stars such as BBC King, Buddy Guy, Lucinda Williams and Tom Petty.

Rounding out the line-up of musicians will be the Barn Owl Band, a Central Iowa group well known on the RAGBRAI circuit. The nationally recognized Barn Owl Band plays dance music powered by fiddle, guitar, mandolin, piano, accordion, flute, tin whistle, hammer dulcimer and upright bass. The group will perform from 2 to 3 p.m. on May 18.

Tickets for the concerts are $10 for adults and $5 for children who are 12 and younger. Tickets for the May 18 performances are just $5 for everyone.

While the concert line-up is sure to draw attention, Hill said it’s the activities that she believes will really snare the community’s sense of adventure.

“The outdoor area is a huge way to enjoy being outside, bringing the family together and making memories,” she said. “And who doesn’t like go-carts?”

Fort Frenzy has 30 electric go-carts that will hit the track, Hill said. The vehicles run on a one-of-a-kind course that is 900 feet of twists and turns with embankments and straightaways. The only other track similar to this one is one the design company built in Vietnam after finding success with Fort Frenzy.

Also, the bumper boats will be launched. The facility has eight boats equipped with water cannons to fire at fellow boaters as they maneuver around the pond.

Additional water cannons are stationed along the dockside area and can be fired at boaters while waiting in line.

If a stream of water isn’t enough to cool off, people will also be able to launch water balloons at one another with the sling shot-like equipment at the Water Wars area.

For those who want to remain dry yet still enjoy the fresh air of the outdoors, a mini-golf course will be opened for play. Unlike the traditional mini-golf courses with windmills and clown faces, Hill said the Fort Frenzy course will be more like a professional golf course and have manicured lawns, a coy pond and a 20 foot waterfall.

Inside will be redone, as well, she said. A new lighting system has been installed in the game room and new items were added to the menu in the cafeteria.

“We want to make it brand new all over again,” Hill said. “It will be exciting.”