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.