ACE Midwest Winter Scream

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Events are a great way to pass the offseason, and last Saturday was no exception. ACE members from the IN-KY-WV region (and Ohio!) attended a great holiday event arranged by Scott and Carol Holmes, at the Minnetrista Cultural Center, Muncie IN.

The day included guest speakers, an amazing hands-on physics exhibit, Mike Graham’s incredible working coaster model, phantastic (ok I’m still living in October.....fantastic) pizza, and rare door prizes & auction items. I had the opportunity to talk with fellow enthusiasts and professionals alike.

My journey began as I fired up my little Celica for the 2 1/2 hour drive to Muncie. Upon arrival at the center, I was greeted by Muncie’s version of the 360º bicycle ride. I picked up my badge, info, and christmas cookies (thanks guys!) and started my tour of the exhibits. If you haven’t seen Scream Machines, do it! It is the perfect cure for a coaster lover’s offseason blues. There are all kinds of gadgets to play with, including various coaster tracks to play with that demonstrate why coasters work (or don’t!). We even got to participate in a session on centrifugal and centripetal forces. The ride reminded me of a Rotor, without the dropping floor. There is a coaster simulator, complete with clips from some great coasters around the world. And who can forget the “hurling man?” the rooms are lined with photos and stats of some of the record breaking coasters, though a few need updated! I think my favorite part was the barf bags issued at the beginning of the exhibit!

I must say that The Black Plague, Michael Graham’s gigantic, 6 inversion, Arrow-inspired operating coaster was the highlight of the day. Although I had seen it in Toledo, it was worth another trip. Mike has been very helpful to me in the modeling world, and I was glad to talk with him next to his masterpiece. It currently tours with the exhibit, and is booked around the US throughout the next 2 years. Check the schedule HERE.

Also on display were items graciously donated by various parks, including some rare stuff from Old Indiana!

Since Mike is a vital part of The Gravity Group and had worked with CCI, he was invited to speak a bit about his time in the industry, as well as answer questions about his models. He also showed video footage of other projects, including the mind boggling Inverted coaster that soars over customer’s heads at Soda Jack’s Ice Cream Shop in Grand Jct, CO. (I believe that's the place) I should also mention that TGG apparel is available on their website! The black hats are too nice to pass up.

We heard from John Ivers, the man who crafted The Blue Flash in his backyard. John spoke to us about his projects, and what he goes through to build them. The Blue Flash, in case you’ve been under a rock for the last couple years, is a fully operational looping coaster completely scratchbuilt from scrap steel, and uses a homemade, single person car. John shared many of the TV interviews with us as well. Glad to finally meet him! He was amazed at the cult following he has created!

Another surprise was the presentation by Kentucky Kingdom’s own Jim Kunau. he talked with us a bit about the park’s current projects, and held a Q&A session. But the real treat was the video presentation of the park’s newest coaster, Greezed Lightnin'! Many of you know that this was the beloved Tidal Wave from Gurnee’s Great America, which also ran at SFOG from 1995-2001. He even handed out copies of the press release along with an artist rendering of the ride (which is given the full 1950’s effect thanks to the steam locomotive in the rendering! LOL). He told us that as of last week some containers had arrived, and that the train was already on park grounds. The coaster is expected to open along with the park on April 5th, 2003.

We also enjoyed a look at some of the area’s parks in a video presentation put together by Anthony Gagliardi. It offered a great way to reflect on the year. And what a year it has been!

Finally, door prizes and an auction were held, followed by some phood (I give up!) and videos from Robb Alvey. Some of the prizes included model coaster parts (not from me! LOL), Old Indiana tickets and brochures, Holiday World and Fun Spot apparel, Kings Island posters and various coaster collectibles. Jeff Hammersley was there to let us all know that his “babies” will awake from their wintry slumber and be ready for SRM madness before we know it! Trackwork being done at Indiana Beach should yield a “tamer” Lost Coaster, as well. All in all, it should pan out to be a great 2003. See you on the tracks......
Brad Sherman
"I don't know what to say but that it's Christmas, and we're all in misery! - Ellen Griswold
Model coasters and rides

That event was superb! It was a great way to spend the long lonely off-season. I met a few new enthusiasts including Brad and John Ivers. The event made me want coasters more than ever, and it made me realize that May 30, and 31st are still aways off.....dreaming of srm...... I hope to see all the great people at this great event.

"i don't want to spend the holidays...Dead!" -Ellen Griswold

Sounds like a fun time. I am going to EastCoaster 03 which will be fun hopefully.

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