Family embraces business success as Go-Karts Plus celebrates 25 years

It's been 25 years since Go-Karts Plus opened on Richmond Road in Lightfoot, just past the Williamsburg Pottery.

Last Sunday, owner Bob Miller, wife Ferne and son Jeff welcomed invited guests and visitors to the park with a celebration for the amusement center's silver anniversary season.

The event featured cake, ice cream, hot dogs and well wishes from invited officials, including members of the James City County Board of Supervisors.

Over the course of the quarter century, the park has grown from four to eight acres and has added features that have become popular favorites including the thrill ride, Disk'O.

The center features four go-kart tracks, Gold Rush mini golf, Blaster Boats, bumper cars, Kiddieland, kiddie roller coaster, video arcade, shooting gallery and snack bar.

In 2004, the park was picked as one of the top family center operations in the industry by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.

At 86, owner Bob Miller admits he can't do everything he did when the park first opened, but his son, Jeff has picked up on the daily operations. However, the elder Miller said he still is "here all the time."

"My wife Ferne still runs the snack bar every day," he added.

Although the downturn in the economy has presented challenges in tourism across the area, the park still enjoys healthy visitation. Many of the employees have worked at the park for years, including Terri Osborne, whose daughter, Laura had also worked at the park.

"I enjoy making people happy," Osborne said Sunday, from the other side of the ticket window.

The milestone is notable, and gives Miller a sense of pride and satisfaction.

"I feel good about it," he said.