The parking lot at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds was packed Saturday and the lines were long as hundreds of people turned out to seek summer jobs at Silverwood Theme Park.
This year the theme park could hire up to 1,400 people, General Manager Paul Norton said. Hours and jobs vary, and Norton said some people just want to work part time. “We’re pretty accommodating,” he said.
The annual job fair was set up to move applicants through efficiently. Hopefuls filled out an application in advance online. They stood in line to give their names, then waited in a holding area to have a face-to-face interview with a manager.
“It took us years of practice to figure this out,” Norton said of the system.
Norton was pleased by the turnout Saturday during the first of two job fairs. The next one will be at the fairgrounds April 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“There was a pretty long line,” Norton said. “It seems to be more than last year.”
The job fairs typically attract teens looking for a summer job, but there were some older adults and college students as well.
Some people were hired on the spot Saturday if they seemed exceptional. Those people walked out the door with a training schedule in hand.
“We want to hire ‘overwhelming,’ ” Norton said.
Others will have to wait for a phone call.
Bailey Burkett, 16, will have to wait to find out if she got a job. The high school sophomore is trying for her first summer job and applied to be a barista. “It was good,” she said of her interview. “This is my first shot.”
In a common theme among those applying for work, Burkett said she was following in the footsteps of her older sisters, who have both worked for Silverwood.
Vanessa Tapp, 14, was hired as a busser. “It’s the only thing I could really do at 14,” she said. She made the trip to the job fair with several of her friends, who were also hired. “It seemed like it would be fun,” she said. “My sisters worked there last year.”
One of her friends, Brianna Davis, was among those told to wait for a call. She’s hoping to work as a costumed character. “You get to see people smile,” she said. “That’s where my brother started.”
Returning employees don’t have to participate in the job fair unless they want to change departments, Norton said. “If they worked for us in the past and we liked them, we hired them,” he said.