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The Oasis at Thunder Island: Entertainment Destination

Early this past summer I had a great time chatting with Ron Falise, who, with his wife Elizabeth, owns and operates the entertainment complex that comprises Thunder Island, The Oasis, and Chestnut Entertainment Services.

He was full of plans for the upcoming season – and when I looked around, I could see them taking shape: fresh paint, new and updated rides, expanded picnic facilities, and more splashy summer fun were all in busy preparation.

But the story was just getting started. Falise’s plans for the complex went far beyond bringing back your childhood memories of a good time on a warm summer afternoon in nearby Fulton, New York. The bigger plan was to do just what he’s done: create The Entertainment Destination in the region. Whatever the event, from elegant weddings, to corporate occasions of all kinds, to intimate gatherings to big, boisterous parties – The Oasis at Thunder Island has it covered. And if you haven’t booked an event, chances are The Oasis has dreamed up a themed party, either on their own or in conjunction with a club, organization, or media outlet, to which their friends in the area (that is, YOU) are all invited.

What makes for a great entertainment destination?

A flexible space that can accommodate a small group, an indoor event of up to 350, or a big gathering for as many as 2,000 when the outdoor area is utilized. Check.

A venue that can go from country, to elegant, to kids and balloons – all with equal charm, style and professionalism. Check.

An experienced events team that knows the ropes of planning, managing and perfectly pulling together whatever your occasion calls for – Chestnut Entertainment Services. Check.

An appetite for fun, new ideas, and engaging the community in ways to enjoy life, food, friends, and the best the area has to offer. Check, and double-check!

Falise explained to me that, growing up, he worked on his grandparents’ farm in the Fulton area, and developed a sense of “home.” So, after having taught middle school and owned a large security company that handled big events, a project like The Oasis at Thunder Island seemed like a perfect fit. 

When he acquired the property a year ago last fall, it was in need of renovation and updating, and by the time I first spoke to him in June of 2017, work was well under way, and the water theme park was sparkling with fresh paint and new attractions. Since then, even more has been done to update that end of the business. But at the same time, Falise had already been busy working on the other aspects of what he believes make up the idea of “entertainment.” With dozens of weddings, corporate gatherings, private functions, children’s bounce-house parties, and even funeral gatherings already held, his plan was to grow this part of the business further still.

Further still is pretty much whatever your, or his, imagination can dream up. “Since I spoke with you last,” Falise told me, “we’ve done comedy shows, dinner theater, had a KROCK Sunday Funday event with a bounce-house and kid’s carnival. And we’re getting ready for a Bunco Brunch.”

Wait – what’s a “Bunco Brunch (?),” I needed to know. Turns out it’s a parlor game played with dice – and in this case, accompanied by a scrumptious brunch and liquid refreshment. And while a band competition for up-and-coming local bands is another event recently hosted at The Oasis, what make the location so special is the absolute lack of limitation on the possibilities. 

Yes, they’ll book your corporation’s traditional (and delicious) clam bake, present an elegant theme dinner for your club or organization, let the children run free at a birthday party with indoor bounce-house and face painting, or create the nightclub atmosphere for a comedy show, and then turn it around for dinner theater a few nights later.

And then, presto: the space becomes the setting for a “Kegs and Eggs” party (coming up on March 31 and open to the public). Kegs for mom and dad, and an egg hunt for the kids.

Whatever your style, The Oasis at Thunder Island is all about the entertainment. It is, after all, The Entertainment Destination.

Nancy Roberts
Writer, voice over artist, information achitect, very curious person.