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National Roller Coaster Event Includes Conneaut Lake Park

As part of Coaster Con XXXIII, the 33rd annual convention of American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE), more than 400 roller coaster enthusiasts from 37 states and two foreign countries will descend upon Conneaut Lake Park and give special recognition to the Blue Streak roller coaster on Thursday, June 24, 2010, when the organization will dedicate it as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark. Attendees of the weeklong celebration of all things roller coaster will spend one day of their week of roller coaster enjoyment at Conneaut Lake Park.

Although roller coaster enthusiasts are often viewed as thrill seekers, their role as preservationists is illustrated by the visit to Conneaut Lake Park. The park’s venerable Blue Streak roller coaster hasn’t been operational for the past few years, but thanks to a fundraising campaign that included a $5,000 donation from ACE, restoration is well under way and the ride is expected to be open later this summer. Attendees will arrive early at the park for “Exclusive Ride Time” before the park opens to the public to enjoy attractions such as the Bug and Devil’s Den, rides that are unique in today’s world of amusement parks. Although many once dotted the amusement landscape, the Bug is one of two such rides left operating in the country. According to Howard Gillooly, ACE’s preservation director, “The continued survival of Conneaut Lake Park and Blue Streak is a testament to the local citizens and the importance they put on it as a vital part of their community. ACE is excited and proud to have Conneaut Lake Park as a host to our national convention.”

One of the highlights of the entire event will take place at Conneaut Lake Park when the organization dedicates Blue Streak as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark, a special designation reserved for rides of utmost historical significance. The brief dedication will begin promptly at 4 p.m. and will include the unveiling of a permanent historic marker prominently displayed in front of the ride. Dave Hahner, ACE’s historian, finds Blue Streak, built in 1937, to be a classic coaster experience from another era. Mr. Hahner stated “The ride was designed by Edward Vettel, Sr., from Pittsburgh's former West View Park, and is one of only two of his designs still standing.”

In addition to riding, attendees will enjoy camaraderie with like-minded people who will regale one another with stories of coasters ridden in all corners of the world. ACE members have traveled to places like Central America and the Far East to enjoy that next great thrill. Anywhere there’s a coaster you’ll find an ACE member.

The visit to Conneaut Lake Park is part of a six-day visit to western Pennsylvania that includes presentations, a photo contest, a video contest, a banquet and even a General Store featuring club-related materials from tee shirts to license plate frames as well as other vendor booths selling artwork and memorabilia.

Founded in 1978, ACE is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation, promotion, appreciation and safe enjoyment of roller coasters. With more than 6,000 members in 50 states and 12 countries, ACE is the largest amusement park enthusiast organization in the world. Members of ACE receive bimonthly newsletters and quarterly magazines, as well having the opportunity to attend events throughout the year.

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