ACE Day at Camden Park. :-)

Associated parks:
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Sunday, September 8, 2002 7:00 AM
Much fun was had by all at Camden Park yesterday! There were about 30 or so ACE people who made it to this little park, which by the way is located off of I-64 where KY/OH/and WV meets. I grew up going to this park but within the last 15 years or so have only visited a few times. Needless to say I was looking forward to catching up with the park and hanging out with fellow ACEr's.
Ironically there were only two people there from WV. Most of the attendees where from Indiana and Kentucky, some of who were visiting the park for the first time. I also noticed a few from Ohio and PA. I got there around 9:20am. When I picked up my envelope I noticed two nickels. At first I didn't know what to think. Then Carol told me that they were for the bathrooms. This is definitley something new. WTF? What is this? RCT? Well, needless to say I didn't have to pay the few times I went. :-)

ERT on the Big Dipper was a blast, and soon after we had the "group photo" in front of the Big Dipper sign with Carol using about ten thousand cameras. lol. After that everyone kind of went in different directions, mostly to partake in the miniture gold contest.
The NAD designed Big Dipper, which still has the old Century Flyer train(s), runs better than ever. I even managed to get a kick of airtime or two (third seat from the back). The coaster also uses a hand brake, has no seat dividers, and only one lapbar. It is truly a gem that hopefully will be preserved. It had been repainted in places, and was a hit with the first-timers.

The Little Dipper I believe is the last NAD kiddy coaster (according to Guide to Ride).


My favorite ride by far in the park is the Mengels-designed Whip, which is a rare find. It starts off innocently enough, and then it cranks up to where you think it has blown a fuse and it's going to keep going faster and faster. It's one of the best Whips I have been on, and the turns can be somewhat violent if you don't hold on! :-)

The Skydiver was also fun, but I would not recommend getting on it right after lunch. It reminds you of an Enterprise ride except that the cars are swinging around. Not for the tame.

The Haunted House was also fun to revisit. It's very cheesey but that is what is so fun about it. The funky outside decor alone will make it hard to resist. And yes, I count it as a coaster! Chain lift..hello! :-)

Camden has a log flume (which at this time of the year is more like going through a swamp!) and a great collection of classic flat rides including Dodgem bumper cars, a Paratrooper, a Spider, a VERY LONG cover-less catapillar type ride called the Hot Cat, and my favorite Tilt-A-Whirl. The train is also cute, and will give you a nice view of what seems to be space cleared for next year's attraction (you can go to their website to vote on four different rides). I personally voted for the Kite Flyer since my far-fetched hopes of getting a Thrust Air or Gyro Drop tower were destroyed. :-) (I know, I know, but it doesn't hurt to dream!)

The arcade is pretty decent, although the skeeballs were not working, at least the ones I saw. I pointed out the Indian Burial Mound next to the Cafeteria to some of the ACEr's, although there was no sign saying what it was. The park used to give Boat Rides but I am assuming they don't anymore. I didn't see anything pertaining to that.

At 1PM we breaked for lunch, and soon after had an auction, which was fun watching all the kids spend their parent's money. Some of the auction items including a Holiday World employee shirt, a VERY cool CCI banner (which obviously had the highest bid) and a few coaster parts including a few chuncks of wood from the old Dipper himself.
Camden Park's cafeteria food is, well, unique. I will leave it at that. :-) They only place on earth where you can have mashed potatoes and mac and cheese with your somewhat funky-tasting hamburger, or what seemed to be a hamburger (I still say it was meatloaf made into burgers). Who knows. Who cares?! I would go for the chicken enchilada or the spaghetti next time. The fish sticks are pretty decent too. I intended on getting a PRONTO PUP corndog, but after lunch and a whirl on the Skydiver I forgot about it very fast.

Sadly the Thunderbolt Express is obviously never going to run again. There are several supports missing and the thing is just falling apart. The cars are still sitting on top. They tried to arrange for us to walk up and take a look, as well as walk in and around the Big Dipper, but to no avail. Something about insurance. Oh well. There was talk of ACE being interested in acquiring the "loop" for their future museum, whenever and whereever that will be. I think it's a great idea, cause this first Arrow shuttle baby isn't going anywhere anytime soon!

All in all it was an awesome day. The weather was tolerable and there were no crowds, and the ERT on the Big Dipper was much, much fun. Everything went smoothly and it seemed that everybody had fun. Scott and Carol did a wonderful job putting the whole thing together and I thank them for that! I kind of feel bad that the park itself, namely the management, wasn't as enthusiastic and accomadating to ACE being there. TO my knowledge the management didn't even show up. They just seem to have trouble understanding the importance of how an event like this could benefit the park, and it's two classic coasters. They would not even "approve" of a press release. I know if it were my park I would be beside myself knowing that ACE wanted host an event and I would be more receptive to the whole thing and do whatever I could to help out. Scott even had a plaque recognizing the Big Dipper as an ACE classic, but no one was there to accept it. I know the the gift shop did extremely well that day! But unfortunately not every park has the Holiday World mentallity. The employees on the other hand were great and very friendly, and some wanted to know more about ACE, and what we were all about.

I would highly recommend anyone to visit the park. It's worth a stop if you are on a cross country trip or just passing by. You can easily do the whole park in an hour with low crowds. It's awesome for kids of all ages. Thanks to all who made it out!


Look for some photos on my site soon!

Tina Nelson
www.intenserides.com


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Sunday, September 8, 2002 10:52 AM

Sounds like a fun day! The haunted house has a chainlift?

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-Sean

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Sunday, September 8, 2002 2:33 PM

Yes it does, and a mini-drop.

Tina.

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Feel The Adrenaline....
www.intenserides.com

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Friday, September 13, 2002 5:03 AM

Hi Tina,

It was nice meeting you at the Camden event. It's also great to meet another "local" enthusiast. There not many of us that I know of in E.KY and WV. I'm the person that was helping at the registration table with my family. It was great sharing some childhood memories of the park with you. Great TR and it summed up the day very nicely. I kind of liked the hamburgers LOL but your analogy to being kind of like meatloaf on a bun was correct. I love meatloaf though so I was fine with them. I agree that it was disappointing that the parks management was not more accommodating to our event. It was great to be able to share the park of our childhood(s) with other enthusiast's visiting Camden for the first time though, wasn't it. Just kind of embarrased at the parks (managements) lack of positive reception. Checked out you website. Great!

Take it easy, DAC

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