Press and Reviews


WPH Magazine Idlewild Review“Through the use of letters and correspondence from various managers, board members, residents and other key figures in the park’s history, along with many  never before published images of historical Idlewild Park, Sopko details almost every moment in the park’s history.”

“…no stone is left unturned by her exhaustive research. But all of this history makes for a great read, even for a casual fan of the park, filled with amazing facts and anecdotes.””

“But tying this all together are the memories that many have had of the park throughout the decades, which the author integrates together beautifully in a very easy to read fashion. If you are a fan of Idlewild Park, amusement parks, or Southwestern Pennsylvania history in general, you will thoroughly enjoy this comprehensive story of Pennsylvania’s oldest amusement park.”

-Dave Hahner, historian, American Coaster Enthusiasts
Western Pennsylvania History, Summer 2018
Full review here

“As a big fan of amusement parks and especially Idlewild, I was delighted to hear Jennifer was writing a book on the park. My only fear was if it was possible for one person to do the park justice in its history, importance and impact. Jennifer absolutely knocked it out the ball (theme?) park with this book!!! Anyone who has been to the park should read it to understand the history of the land, rides, attractions and families who cared for the park. I absolutely loved the personal stories former employees, guests and owners shared throughout. This is one of the best books on an amusement park I have read.”
Joshua Litvik, Amazon Customer Review, April 11, 2018

Television & Radio Coverage

Television Interview on PCN’s PA Books Series
PA Books is a weekly television program on Pennsylvania Cable Network that for 20 years has featured hour-long conversations with authors of newly published books on topics unique to Pennsylvania. My interview was originally broadcast on Sunday, September 23, 2018. I joined PA Books host and PCN president/CEO Brian Lockman to discuss the history of Idlewild Park and the experience behind researching and writing Idlewild: History and Memories of Pennsylvania’s Oldest Amusement Park. The show audio is available for free on iTunes here!

Radio Interview on The Hank Baughman Show
I joined talk show host Hank Baughman on his weekday radio talk show to discuss my new Idlewild Park book plus my experiences learning about the Ligonier Valley and the Laurel Highlands.  My interview was originally broadcast April 6, 2018 on PA Talk, 98.7 FM and 910 AM. Episode available to listen via Soundcloud (browser or app) here!

Radio Interview on Tube City Online’s “Two Rivers, 30 Minutes” Podcast
I joined Tube City Community Media Inc.’s Executive Director Jason Togyer to chat about Idlewild Park history during this weekly public affairs radio talk show about the Mon Valley, produced in cooperation with WEDO (810AM) and WZUM (1550AM). My interview was originally released via podcast on March 30, 2018 and broadcast on WEDO, WZUM and WMCK.FM internet radio on April 1, 2018. Podcast available to listen here!

Newspaper Coverage

“Author to share tales, photos of Idlewild Park at Saturday historical society program”
The Latrobe Bulletin (online here), February 17, 2022

“Writer to discuss new Idlewild Book”
-The Mon Valley Independent (online here), September 15, 2019

“Local author recalls memories, uncovers mysteries of Idlewild”
Tribune-Review, April 5, 2018 (online here) and April 8, 2018 (Sunday print edition)
Plum Advance LeaderApril 26, 2018

“Local writer pens book about history of Idlewild
-The Ligonier Echo, March 29, 2018

Alumna’s Book about Idlewild to be Published on April 2
-Saint Vincent College Newsroom, March 26, 2018 (online here)

“Bulletin writer pens book about history of Idlewild”
-Latrobe Bulletin, March 24-25, 2018
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Bulletin writer discusses Idlewild research project
Latrobe Bulletin, October 1, 2016