Cowboy hats are out at Silverwood, and polo shirts are in.
That’s one of the first things returning summer employees may notice at the amusement park south of here.
The new uniforms were on display Saturday during Silverwood’s annual job fair. The park typically hires 60 percent or more of its summer staff during the fair. There are 30 to 35 year-round employees, plus another 350 to 400 for the summer.
So far this year, about 80 to 100 seasonal employees are returning from last year.
The park is opening May 2, three weeks earlier than usual. That means the job fair is earlier than usual, too.
People can still apply for jobs Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the theme park.
Christine Bargman, Silverwood’s human resources director, said the park changed its dress code for the comfort of employees.
“We’re going away from theme costumes and went to easier-to-wear costumes,” she said. Now, ride operators can wear shorts with polo shirts and baseball caps, instead of blue jeans, red-and-white checkered shirts and cowboy hats.
Some employees will still wear costumes. The train conductor will don a conductor’s hat, and the security staff will be dressed like park rangers out of Yogi Bear cartoons. Operators of the Thunder Canyon and Timber Terror rides will still dress in safari outfits.
The park is hiring a few more employees, too. At least eight people are being hired as on-the-ground supervisors to the other workers. In years past, employees had very little direct supervision.
“We didn’t feel like we had a good handle on the day-to-day operations,” Bargman said.
The opening of Tinywood, a special area for young children, will also require additional workers. Tinywood will feature a miniature roller coaster, a mine shaft for digging treasures, a toy store, concessions, tree houses and games designed for children 8 and under.
The kiddie rides will be moved closer to Tinywood.
“It’s going to be a nice draw for the young families,” Bargman said.
But not for 18-year-old Lisa Martin. The Priest River high school student was one of several teenagers who came to Silverwood on Saturday to fill out applications and be interviewed.
She’s willing to work just about anywhere in the park, except the kiddie rides.
“When they’re up there, they always want to get off,” she said.
While most of the applicants were teenagers in T-shirts and jeans, there were a few exceptions.
Dale Monear, 40, was looking for a security job. It’s one of dozens of jobs the unemployed auctioneer has applied for recently.
“It seems like a fun place to work,” he said.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo