Middlebury, Connecticut: Quassy Amusement and Waterpark here will serve up a lot of “airtime” on Aug. 16, to pay tribute to National Roller Coaster Day. And in case you wondered, “airtime” is roller coaster lingo for the negative gravity force produced by these thrill rides.
“We’ll be doing a number of exciting things here at the park to celebrate National Roller Coaster Day,” noted Quassy President Eric Anderson. “We’ll have T-shirt giveaways as well as some other fun prizes during the day.”
“We’ve also been keeping a close eye on the ride’s computer as well and should reach a milestone in the number of rides given by mid-August,” Anderson added. “That could translate into a special award that day, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Quassy’s Wooden Warrior roller coaster, which made its debut in 2011, dishes out plenty of “airtime” along its 1,250 feet of track. While Warrior, the lakeside park’s marquee attraction, may be small in stature, it’s exceptionally big on thrills.
Currently listed among the Top 50 Wood Coasters In The World, Wooden Warrior draws guests from around the globe just to experience its unique attributes.
Thanks to a state-of-the-art train called the Timberliner, riders are treated to an exceptionally smooth, yet exhilarating ride on this coaster, which has been called a “pint-sized major league thrill machine” by another amusement industry magazine.
The quick turns and “airtime” hills are complemented by a pitch black tunneled turn around.
“Wooden Warrior has received many accolades since its introduction and each year we have two or three international tour groups here just to ride it,” said George Frantzis II, a park owner.
One of the biggest honors for Wooden Warrior came in 2012 when the Quassy coaster tied for 23rd place in the Best Roller Coaster Poll. The ballot ranked 168 operating wooden coasters at parks around the world. Wisconsin coaster guru Mitch Hawker, who started the poll in 1994, announced his findings tallied from 635 coaster buffs who participated.
Quassy’s faithful visitors also know there is another roller coaster in the park – one that has been entertaining the generations since 1952. The Little Dipper is located along the lakefront behind the huge arcade building in the heart of the property.
Reflecting on the coaster’s longevity, Anderson revealed some little known – yet interesting – facts about the ride.
“It’s safe to say that at least 10 million guests have ridden the Little Dipper during its lifetime here at Quassy,” the park official stated. “That’s a moderate estimate taking into account the many years it has been here.”
Anderson said he based his calculation on the number of operating days each year – roughly 100 – and an average number of rides and riders on any given day.
“I believe the actual ridership is well over that figure,” he said of the classic Allan Herschell Co. roller coaster.
The Little Dipper is a tiny ride in comparison to the mega roller coasters at many modern theme parks. It has a short track of only 220 feet with a lift hill of 12 feet, yet provides plenty of thrills for children too little to participate on larger roller coasters, including Quassy’s Wooden Warrior.
“I rode the Little Dipper when I was a child,” Anderson recalled. “It’s a common occurrence for me to be out in the park and hear parents and grandparents alike reminisce about their childhood experiences on the ride.”
“The Allan Herschell rides were built to last,” Anderson said of the equipment. “Hundreds of Herschell rides are still in operation at other parks and fairs in the country. They really overbuilt the rides in those days.”
As for National Roller Coaster day, Anderson summed it up: “It’s nice to be able to celebrate the roller coaster, a ride that is the backbone at many parks. They’ve been providing thrills for a century and by all indications will continue to do so for many years to come. New coasters are going up at parks around the world, yet another indication that our industry is alive and well.”
For more information about National Roller Coaster Day visit www.nationalrollercoasterday.com.
AmusementParks News Bureau: firstname.lastname@example.org