Meadville Tribune

Entertainment

July 17, 2013

Party set as park's Blue Streak rolls into 75th year

CONNEAUT LAKE PARK — Conneaut Lake Park’s historic Blue Streak is 75 years old this year — and the ride operators are throwing a party in celebration of the milestone.

And, the best part is that the public’s invited for the party, which is set for Saturday from 1 to 9 p.m.

Lenny Adams of Adams Amusements, which leases all the rides at the park, said the Blue Streak is only one of two Edward Vettel wooden roller coasters in the world. “That gives us a reason for this celebration,” he said.

Opening in 1938, the Blue Streak replaced the Scenic Railway, which had been in operation since 1909. It was very popular in parks all over the world at the time.

The Blue Streak was described as a “high-speed thriller” and continues to be a popular ride for visitors at the park. It is 2,918 feet in length, which takes about one minute and 45 seconds from beginning to end. The drop from the first hill is about 78 feet and the ride then takes the rider on two more large hills before traveling around a sharp bend and then back to several smaller dips before going back to the station.

It has been named a “American Coasters Enthusiasts Coaster Classic,” by the ACE — one of only 38 in the world. One of the many highlights of summers is the annual challenge for riding the Blue Streak the longest period of time.

And, with any birthday party — there are gifts. However, the gifts aren’t to be given to the Blue Streak. Instead, Adams Amusement is providing the gifts to those attending the party.

The company is offering a special all-day ride pass — for any ride at the park (including miniature golf) at a reduced price of $5. Those with the specially purchased wrist bands can ride from 1 to 9 p.m. with no additional fee.

“We want to give the people in the area an opportunity to see the improvements we have made in the park,” he said. Adams and his company have worked throughout the winter to make improvements to the 121-year-old park.

And, what’s a party without music? Adams said the park will have 20 to 25 different band organs playing different sounds throughout the park that day. Unlike organs intended for indoor use, band organs are designed to produce a large volume of sound to be heard over the noise of crowds of people and park machinery.

The party is designed to be a festive occasion. In addition to the music and rides, there is still one more feature — a decorated cake contest. All bakers — amateur and professional — are encouraged to bake and decorate a cake to be judged for special prizes. Cakes may be whatever style or flavor desired and organizers hope that many people will participate and show support for the park and the Blue Streak.

Cakes will be judged in several categories: Most original, most creative, best tasting and “best cake.” A tent will be erected near the entrance of park for the cake judging contest. Cakes are to be taken to that site by noon on Saturday and the judging will begin at 3 p.m. Among the judges are Lisa Rawson, member of the Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park. Prizes will include a $50 Wal-Mart gift card, donated by friend; as well as passes to the park.

Adams said he is seeking approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to be able to serve the cakes to the public. However, since some may not be baked in kitchens approved the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, that may not be possible.

Inquiries were being made to determine what can be done legally. He said it is his understanding that if the cakes were given away — not sold — that may be permissible. As a food concession operator at the park, Adams said he works with a PDA inspector, who is always very cooperative and with whom he holds in high regard.

If enough commercial bakers enter the contest, those cakes could be served without any problem.

Adams said he is excited about the celebration and the fact the Blue Streak is operating and is hopeful the public will join the festivities that day.

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