2019 Fall Thrillfest

by Elizabeth Ringas

A perfect fall day welcomed 135 ACE members and their guests from 12 states to the 14th annual Fall Thrillfest at Kings Dominion on Saturday, October 12th. A brief delay at the parking tolls sent volunteers into speedy mode to get everyone ready for a prompt start to ERT. All received their custom-designed event button in addition to their registration packet. Winners of the registration giveaway received their limited edition Twisted Timbers ticket plaque.

Focused competitors participate in the water shoot-out game. (Credit: Elizabeth Ringas)

ERT kicked off with rides on Twisted Timbers and Racer 75. As ERT concluded, all headed off to enjoy short waits for the 11 other coasters in the park because the beautiful weather would certainly attract evening crowds.

Shortly after park opening, attendees gathered for the Mid-Atlantic’s annual game tournament, which brings out a little healthy competition, laughter, and fun as we battle at the water gun shoot-out! Players fired water at a target to earn a spot in the finals. Stephanie Brady squirted her dog to the top first for the win. Kids battled in their own round, and Afnan Allahbaksh took home the prize.

ITOTs (Informal Takeover Times) offer attendees the opportunity to meet new friends and enjoy the energy of a ride packed with fellow members. Standing in line together can be a great place for ACE social time. Intimidator 305’s takeover brought many together filling multiple trains with members. Throughout the day, other ITOTs were held on Woodstock Express, Grizzly, and the Flying Eagles. Thank you to the volunteers who led these gatherings.

After a few minutes to catch another ride, all met for a backstage tour of Intimidator 305, Kings Dominion’s 300-foot Intamin coaster. The tour took attendees beside the lift hill, checking out the elevator cable system, and a journey deep into the structure to the first drop, where we took our group photo.

Photographers snap photos of Intimidator 305 during the backstage tour. (Credit: Jill Ryan)

Prior to lunch, an ice cream social was held for tweens & teens, and their friends and family, to help make ACE special for the next generation. ACE Mid-Atlantic’s Coast On activities create a great opportunity to help younger members meet their peers and build lasting coaster friendships.

A quick group photo before the informal takeover of Intimidator 305 (Credit: Elizabeth Ringas)

Lunch offered an all-you-can-eat buffet featuring new menu items added by Kings Dominion’s new executive chef, Denis Callinan. Lunch included Italian sausage with peppers and onions, fire-braised pulled chicken, tossed salad, macaroni and cheese, oven-roasted potatoes, cookies, chips, and soda. Once all had filled their plates, attendees were encouraged to find other members to complete a tic-tac-toe game filled with random facts, like who had the opportunity to ride Volcano, has a tattoo, has been tent camping, a member of the regional rep team, or has been in ACE for over 5 years. Three completed tic-tac-toes were drawn at random to win a pair of Fright Lane passes courtesy of Kings Dominion. Door prizes were given out randomly throughout lunch as well as some other get-to-know-you prizes, like who traveled the fartherest and who has attended the most ACE events this year. After a brief presentation of volunteers and reminders by regional rep, Elizabeth Ringas, Park President Tony Johnson answered questions from the audience.  Check out the entire presentation at https://www.facebook.com/acemidatlantic/videos/497322357781310/.

Park President Tony Johnson answers questions from attendees. (Credit: Jill Ryan)

After lunch, a few attendees took over a train on Woodstock Express, while others tried to catch a ride on Flight of Fear before its 4:00 early closing and before our exclusive Haunt activities began. Steve Fotta, Director of Haunt, took us on a behind-the-scenes look at Blood on the Bayou, Kings Dominion’s newest and most elaborate maze with two walk-throughs – one with the lights on and one with the lights off and all effects turned on. Hear from Steve Fotta himself in our recent interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLEk9_UGRjU&t=1s.

Later in the evening, we took a third walk-through during our EHT (exclusive haunt time) with all the monsters in place. It was fascinating to see how the detailed effects create an immersive experience and really do enhance the overall Haunt experience. Our EHT continued with front-of-the-line access to Trick-or-Treat, a fairy-tale themed maze. Our EHT brought the official end to this year’s Fall Thrillfest.  We hope you will join us October 10, 2020, for the 15th annual Fall Thrillfest! A huge thank-you to Kings Dominion for planning another fabulous event for us!


A group photo during the Intimidator 305 tour (Credit: Jill Ryan)