by Vanessa Thomas
On Saturday, July 25, 2020, after months of sheltering at home, a merry collection of 14 ACE members and guests drove from miles around to Ocean City, Maryland, for a welcome day of roller coaster riding, beach-going, and reconnecting with ACE friends. We came from not just Maryland and nearby Virginia but from Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Illinois, and even California!
When we gathered at Trimper’s in the late morning, the weather was already getting steamy. Sally Kneavel Foster, the marketing and special events coordinator at Trimper’s, welcomed us not only with excitement and enthusiasm but with a pizza lunch in an air-conditioned room above Pirate’s Cove.
After we had our fill and had some time to socialize, Sally was eager to take us to the Tidal Wave roller coaster so we could meet with the ride’s head mechanic. With all of us gathered in the middle of the coaster’s tracks, he graciously took time to talk with us and answer questions about the history of the ride, some of the upgrades it’s had over the years, and the work done to maintain it.
Sally then showed us to the park’s classic Herschell-Spillman carousel, dating back to 1912, when the park acquired it. It seemed only fitting, since it was National Carousel Day, to take some group photos in front of and on the ride itself.
After a few more minutes relaxing in the air-conditioned comfort of our lunch room and getting a few local tips from Sally (as well as a couple free Trimper’s teddy bears), the group headed into the park to take advantage of our ride wristbands. The Tidal Wave and Spinning Coaster, along with their other rides, were ready for us. New for 2020: hand sanitizing stations could be found throughout the park. At Pirate’s Cove, the operator also handed out gloves for our protection before we walked through the indoor, and often quite-dark funhouse. Some also took time to check out the views from the park’s newest addition, a 150-foot ferris wheel called the Inlet Eye.
From there, many moved across the boardwalk to Jolly Roger at the Pier, where we also had wristbands. The Looping Star coaster and many other rides were waiting for us to enjoy. There were virtually no waits, so it was easy to get in as many rides as we wished. Hand sanitizing stations were also easy to find throughout the pier.
Then it was time to move north to visit the Jolly Roger location on 30th Street. For those of us who’d last visited Jolly Roger after Coaster Con in 2018, we found a new addition to the park’s coaster lineup, along with the Wild Mouse, Wacky Worm, and Sea Serpent: a Flitzer called Barracuda that had previously been at Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in New Jersey and has resided in Ocean City, Maryland, since 2019.
It was a hot summer day in Ocean City, which made my own mid-afternoon detour to the beach and into the ocean a very welcome and refreshing break from riding coasters. But to me, the whole day was a welcome and refreshing opportunity to get out of the house and ride some coasters with ACE friends once again.
Lakeside Amusement Park operated in Salem, Virginia, from July 1920 until October 11, 1986. It was home to two roller coasters, Shooting Star and Wildcat. Financial issues from a flood and a lawsuit brought the demise of this park.
Growing up we always looked forward to our visits to Lakeside snuggled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. My grandparents and parents enjoyed spending their youth swimming at the pool, riding the Shooting Star, listening to Conway Twitty, and picnics at the Pavilion.
Lakeside was my first amusement park so it has a special place in my heart. I still remember the smell of the burlap sack used on the giant slide, and the Skylift that went over the road, stopping so the train could pass. I remember being enamored watching the tightrope motorcycle stunt show and getting some of my first snaps on the Flying Scooters.
I still get to enjoy a small piece of Lakeside at Busch Gardens Europe. The Busch Gardens Railway runs the old Steam Locomotive that was built in 1972 for Lakeside under the name Alpen Express.
Lakeside was an enchanting gift that was right in my backyard and a magical part of my childhood.
– Charles Mann, Lynchburg, Virginia
Need something fun to do? Up for a challenge? Check out this roller coaster enthusiast word-puzzle search.
The letters touch, but not necessarily in straight lines. For rides (past and present), the order of the letters are oriented to describe a feature or trademark of the actual ride, train, or track course.
There are ‘two’ slightly different renderings for Rebel Yell, for historical reasons.
AMERICAN COASTER ENTHUSIAST
COME RIDE WITH US
FLIGHT OF FEAR
INTIMIDATOR THREE O FIVE
REBEL YELL (twice)
VOLCANO THE BLAST COASTER
XTREME LAUNCH COASTER
BIG BAD WOLF
THE LOCH NESS MONSTER
SIX FLAGS AMERICA
APOCALYPSE THE LAST STAND
SUPERMAN RIDE OF STEEL
THE GREAT ALONZOS CANNONBALL COASTER
THE WILD ONE
TWO FACE THE FLIP SIDE
COASTER CON XLI
Created by ACE Mid-Atlantic member Steven Spencer.
by Vanessa Thomas
When people find out I’m a roller coaster enthusiast, they sometimes ask what the scariest coaster is that I’ve ever ridden. It’s hard for me to answer, because I don’t find roller coasters scary at all. The Wisp Mountain Coaster is another story, though. I’ve been riding this mountain coaster for years, at nearly every Mountainfest event hosted by ACE Mid-Atlantic. The ride never fails to thrill me, and this year was no exception.
Most years, the Sunday afternoon of Mountainfest is a chilly, sometimes snowy affair. But on March 8, 2020, an unusually warm and sunny day welcomed a dozen ACE members to Wisp Mountain Resort. After signing our waivers for the mountain coaster, we each received four ride tickets. We walked to the ride station and gathered for a group photo, then got in line. A short mechanical delay gave us extra time to socialize, some of us discussing the previous day’s Coasterbash event in Pittsburgh (hosted by ACE Western Pennsylvania) and our upcoming coaster plans for the year. But the wait was not long, and we were soon riding up the lift hill, one by one.
I’m always grateful to have four ride passes at this event, because it allows me to get a bit braver on each ride. The rider is in control of how fast their cart goes, and I tend to be a little hesitant on the first run, applying the brakes when flying around the ride’s sharp curves. I can’t help it, because it truly feels like the cart and I might fly off the rails if I don’t. But if you’re brave and don’t apply the brake too much, you can experience the full thrill of the coaster and even get a little airtime over the ride’s short dips if you’re going fast enough.
After each of us completed our four runs on the mountain coaster and gathered at the bottom, most of us felt that we weren’t quite ready to go home. So we decided to gather for lunch at a nearby pizza place. We shared each other’s company over some good food, talked about our rides on the mountain coaster, and swapped stories of our amusement park experiences and adventures. When the meal was over, we finally said our goodbyes and parted ways, some headed east and some west, all taking home new memories of a good day of off-season coaster riding.
Thanks to Bill Galvin for organizing the event year after year. I know I’ll look forward to gathering in western Maryland and riding the Wisp Mountain Coaster with my fellow ACE members again next year.
Welcome to all our new Mid-Atlantic members in January! We look forward to seeing you at events this year.
Kenneth & Joshua Brown of Hayes, VA
Randy Davidson of Newport News, VA
Jim & Ben Hanchett of Williamsburg, VA
Scott Hayes of North Chesterfield, VA
Christian Hayes of Baltimore, MD
Bill Kite of Chesapeake, VA
Patrick McElroy of Williamsburg, VA
Myles McNutt of Norfolk, VA
Alli Mintz of Chesapeake, VA
Alexandra Moseley of Baltimore, MD
Ethan & Amy Palmer of Richmond, VA
Christopher Reynolds of Richmond, VA
Kyle, Meryl, Julia, and Jovis Sarrecchia of Palmyra, VA
Krystal Sarson of Falls Church, VA
Zac Smallwood of Chesapeake, VA
Jordon Smith of Leesburg, VA
Robert & Ethan Thomson of Seaford, VA
Brian, Rani, and Daniel Wachter of Williamsburg, VA
Scott & Kaeden Weersing of Virginia Beach, VA
Brooks Westfall of Baltimore, MD