Pittsburgh area man organizes rally for Geauga Lake's Big Dipper

Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 10:57 AM | Contributed by Jeff

David Mitchell of Cranberry, PA has organized what he is calling a "town hall meeting" to celebrate the Big Dipper at noon Saturday at the Veterans of Foreign Wars across the road from the former Geauga Lake Park in Aurora. It's for people to share memories of the park and the ride. Two experts on coasters will speak.

Read more from The Post-Gazette.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009 11:17 AM
john peck's avatar

I know the park is gone as we know it, but losing Geauga Lake to me is like losing my best friend. It still hurts and always will. I can't seem to get past it.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009 11:26 AM
Jeff's avatar

That's still strange to me, because despite being a born-here local, I've always been pretty much take it or leave it. I remember as a kid going when the water park was new, The Wave opened and Wolf Kabobs opened, and none of these things resonate with me. It was always the smaller, less nice alternative to Cedar Point growing up.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Thursday, April 23, 2009 11:52 AM

It always struck me as a "don't know what they got till it's gone" thing. I spent my childhood on the west side of Cleveland, and we never went to Geauga, my parents always took us to the Point. I knew a lot of Cleveland kids in college, and those from around that area referred to the park as GaGa Lake, and spoke about the place disparagingly. Once I became a park enthusiast I went to Geauga bout every year or so and saw all it's various incarnations, but as time went I became increasingly less enchanted, along with the locals.

But then you never heard such crying when they closed, so I don't know. I always hate to see a park closed, especially a historic one, and I do miss the Big Dipper a lot. It's always been one of my favorite oldies, and I hang on to the thread of hope that a relocation will someday be possible.

So, good luck to the guy from Pittsburg.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009 12:00 PM
Pagoda Gift Shop's avatar

Maybe they can send it to Kennywood. They seem to have a thing for old wooden coasters that aren't that exciting.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009 12:12 PM

Them's fightin words! :)

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Thursday, April 23, 2009 1:01 PM
john peck's avatar

Thats the other thing. My family never had the money to take us all the way to Cedar Point, and my Dad thought it was too far to go to (though it was only an hour and a half from home)

We would always go to GL for the early part of the day (since we were younger kids), and as money became even tighter and i wanted to see what GL looked like at night, we would do the Starlight pass once every summer.

I know GL never really could outdo parks like Cedar or Kings Island, but it was always a great place to have fun and it was "always there" waiting for me to come back even some years when I couldn't, I knew I would always go back to it.

(It reminds me of the "Giving Tree" Story... "And the Park was Happy")

The last time I was at Geauga Lake was in June of last year for the auction. I took my pictures and walked the midways one last time. On the way out, I hugged the front Gate and thanked Geauga lake Park for many terriffic memories.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009 1:52 PM
Soggy's avatar

Mixed reviews notwithstanding, it does have history on its side. Maybe some sort of public awareness may bring out the unknown buyer and their ultimate plans for the Dipper? It seems odd to buy a coaster and do nothing with it...


Pass da' sizzrup, bro!

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Thursday, April 23, 2009 2:21 PM

john peck, you and I should be friends! (although I know we're all friends here at Coasterbuzz)

I went to Geauga on the last operating weekend, simply because I had an inkling that it might be the end for them. I spent Saturday at the Octoberfest (always fun) and went in Sunday morning for a few last rides and to say goodbye. No hugs at the gate, but I did pause to take a last look around then walked to the car without looking back.

When the news came later in the week I was sad, but soooo grateful that I was able to make the trip that weekend.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009 2:52 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Let me first say that I mean no disrespect to those who have a strong emotional connection to their memories of GL and/or this coaster. I really mean no harm.

But I just have to say that having a memorial service of sorts for a roller coaster seems really strange to me. I just don't get it.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Thursday, April 23, 2009 2:57 PM

Soggy-

I thought it was figured out that the buyer of Big Dipper was an industrial moving company that was willing to donate it somewhere- if the recipients paid them to move it.


- Johnathan
@robotfactory

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Thursday, April 23, 2009 2:58 PM
john peck's avatar

RCMAC... sure! Friends are good!

I got an email from an inside friend in late August that there was a strong rumor of the parks closing, so I was able to make it a few times before they closed the doors.

Too many times I went to the park to find the midways bare and no waits for the rides, and many parts of the Geauga Lake I grew up with and had special feelings for was partially gone by 2000 anyway, so things like that made it a little easier to swallow.

Plus, I can do many of the rides GL had in other parks anyway.

Has anybody heard where the GL Carousel is supposed to wind up? It was supposed to be relocated to a Cedar Fair Park for 2009, but I haven't heard anything else about it recently. Part of me wishes that CP gets it, even though they really don't need it.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009 3:09 PM

No disrespect taken Carrie but the event is not meant to be a memorial service but rather a positive event that celebrates Geauga Lake's history and hopes in a general way, with no endorsement of any particular plan or developer, that some of that history will be incorporated into future development there.

The carousel was removed from GL over winter, all that is left is the building. From what I have heard its on its way to WOF.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009 3:55 PM

There's been so much controversy over the future of the Big Dipper that, at this point, a demolition would be anti-climatic.

I always thought a relocation to Knoebels would be a home run. Its close enough to attract the Cleveland market, along with complimenting the vibe of the park. Plus, aren't they trying to replicate a classic Cleveland coaster already? Twos even better.

Last edited by d_port_12E, Thursday, April 23, 2009 3:56 PM
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Thursday, April 23, 2009 4:04 PM

They have special services when they decommission ships, so why not one for a roller coaster? I've always thought ships and coasters were somehow akin to one another. I think they should have a rip-roaring New Orleans-style wake for Big Dipper (and maybe a prayer service for its resurrection!)


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

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Thursday, April 23, 2009 4:06 PM

A relocation of Big Dipper would be impractical. There is not much that could actually be reused, it needs to stay on site to keep its classic status.

Rebuilding is an option but why, there are plenty of better coaster designs out there.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009 4:12 PM

I think the idea of a rally is good- if for no other reason than to get fans together to share memories. And if it sparks other interest, then all the better.

Wait, you say it's at the VFW? WooHoo! Maybe I will make the trip! I'm picturing by the end of the afternoon everyone laying around drunk, crying their eyes out. Could be a good time!

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Thursday, April 23, 2009 4:44 PM

Pagoda Gift Shop said:Maybe they can send it to Kennywood. They seem to have a thing for old wooden coasters that aren't that exciting.

Gee, I'll take any of the three over two of KIs.

What gets me about all this hype and Big dipper rally as it is JUST AS LIKELY TO PUSH CF or whoever owns the land its on. TO TEAR IT DOWN as it is for someone to purchase it. If there were truelly someone interested wouldn't something be in the works?

Last edited by Charles Nungester, Thursday, April 23, 2009 4:44 PM
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Thursday, April 23, 2009 4:45 PM

RCMAC said:I think the idea of a rally is good- if for no other reason than to get fans together to share memories. And if it sparks other interest, then all the better.Wait, you say it's at the VFW? WooHoo! Maybe I will make the trip! I'm picturing by the end of the afternoon everyone laying around drunk, crying their eyes out. Could be a good time!

Warning, If you go into a VFW you could be on DHS list for radical extremism :)

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Thursday, April 23, 2009 5:47 PM
Jeff's avatar

Ensign Smith said:
They have special services when they decommission ships, so why not one for a roller coaster? I've always thought ships and coasters were somehow akin to one another.

Sure, one you hope kills lots of people and the other you hope doesn't kill anyone. I can totally see that connection.

(/me just toured the USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor last week)


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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