GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — From June 17 – June 22, a huge turnout of 600 members of American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) will travel from across the continent to descend upon three theme parks for Coaster Con 41. The collective of aficionados represents 37 states and D.C., as well as Canada, England, Chile and Isreal.
"This year is our 40th anniversary," said Communications Director Tim Baldwin, Grand Prairie, Texas. "We have so many ways we will celebrate the occasion. Our two days at Six Flags America will be a first national event ever held at the park. It's exciting. Six Flags America will kick off the event June 17 and 18."
In the book 100 Things To Do Before You Die, authors Dave Freeman and Neil Teplica place attending a Coaster Con as a must-do. For many enthusiasts, it is their favorite week of the year. Coaster Con 41 boasts a collection of renowned coasters, as well as numerous behind-the-scenes and coaster-related activities. Event organizers have been working for months to have presentations ready to go, as well as photo and video contests to challenge members. One of the biggest perks of attending Coaster Con is ERT, which is coaster lingo for Exclusive Ride Time. Prior to park opening and after park closing, aficionados have the wild rails all to themselves.
"Wild One has more than 100 years of history behind it," said ACE President Jerry Willard. "The wooden coaster will be designated as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark on June 18. These are rides of historic significance that should be honored and preserved. It's a wonderful way to begin the convention."
Registration has exceeded attendance expectations. Following Six Flags America, the convention will continue on to Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens Williamsburg, both in Virginia.
Six Flags America boasts nine roller coasters. From its tallest, Superman Ride of Steel, members will be able to see the nation's capital from its 200-foot-tall peak. Roar and Joker's Jinx are also fan favorites attendees are eager to experience.
About ACE: Founded in 1978, American Coaster Enthusiasts is a nonprofit, volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation, promotion, appreciation and safe enjoyment of roller coasters. With more than 5,000 members worldwide, ACE is the largest and longest-running enthusiast organization in the world. Members of ACE receive exclusive park benefits, newsletters, magazines and the opportunity to attend national, local and even international tours at parks. ACE has been prominently featured on various news programs and many cable networks such as the Travel Channel.