Memories of Lakeside Amusement Park

Photo courtesy of Roanoke Rover

 

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.

A large Kroger and adjoining stores stand on its location today.

Photo courtesy of Roanoke Rover and Connie Bowles

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.

Unfortunately, I never achieved the minimum height requirement to enjoy the John Allen classic wooden coaster.

 

Photo courtesy of Roanoke Rover and Clark Cregger

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

Photo courtesy of Charles Mann

Photo courtesy of Charles Mann

 

ACE Mid-Atlantic Word Search

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
KINGS DOMINION
FLIGHT OF FEAR
INTIMIDATOR THREE O FIVE
REBEL YELL (twice)
VOLCANO THE BLAST COASTER
XTREME LAUNCH COASTER
BUSCH GARDENS
BIG BAD WOLF
GRIFFON
THE LOCH NESS MONSTER
VERBOLTEN
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.

Mountainfest 2020

by Vanessa Thomas

Climbing the lift hill of the Wisp Mountain Coaster (Credit: 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.

Mountainfest 2020 group photo (Credit: Jeremy Wdowicki)

Welcome to Our New Members in January 2020

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

The Crypt Is Sealed

by Elizabeth Ringas

Sad news from Kings Dominion… or is it? Last week Kings Dominion released the news that the Crypt will be removed before the 2020 season. It is a true loss of a ride that many loved, but ridership was low and dependability of operation had decreased significantly over the years. The Crypt is located in the Safari Village area of the park that housed Volcano: The Blast Coaster until its removal during the early months of the 2019 season. Maggie Sellers, Communications Manager, shares, “We recently announced on our blog that we will be removing the Crypt as we make room for future expansions. We’re sad to see this ride go after nearly 4 millions rides, but are excited for what the future holds for the park.”

A video recently released teases “Things are lurking in the jungle.” Guess we will have to keep our eyes open for more teasers. Stay tuned for hopes of exciting news for 2021 from Kings Dominion!

The Crypt appears at bottom center, in front of Volcano: The Blast Coaster, in this 2013 photo. Credit: Vanessa Thomas

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