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National Roller Coaster Convention to be Held at Kennywood

As part of their celebration of Coaster Con XXXIII, more than 400 roller coaster enthusiasts from 37 states and two foreign countries will descend upon Kennywood and give special recognition to two of its historic roller coasters on Monday, June 21, 2010. A weeklong celebration of all things roller coaster, the 33rd annual convention of American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) will spend the first four days of their week of roller coaster enjoyment at Kennywood (June 20-23). Highlights of the convention include hours of riding roller coasters while they are closed to the public.

The thrill seekers in attendance are eager to experience floating “airtime” sensations and high-speed thrills during abundant sessions of Exclusive Ride Time on all of Kennywood’s coasters, including Jack Rabbit, Racer, Thunderbolt and Phantom’s Revenge. According to Mark Cole, ACE’s president who will be attending from Florida, “Kennywood is highly regarded among coaster enthusiasts for the way the management respects the park’s history by combining the old with the new, as well as for preserving and maintaining three outstanding wood roller coasters.”

The highlight of the event is likely to be on Monday, June 21, when the organization dedicates both Jack Rabbit and Racer as ACE Roller Coaster Landmarks, a special designation reserved for rides of utmost historic significance. This will be the first time that a park will receive two such awards in the same year. The brief dedication will begin promptly at 11 a.m. and will include the unveiling of two permanent historic markers prominently displayed in front of the rides.

Dave Hahner, ACE’s historian, states that “Jack Rabbit is a Pittsburgh-area institution and is still one of the most popular rides at Kennywood.” He notes that the 90-year old ride “features a signature airtime-producing double-dip that has become almost legendary and is a true testament to designer John Miller's creative genius." With regard to Racer, which dates to 1927, Mr. Hahner stated that “It is the world's oldest racing roller coaster and was also a product of the legendary John Miller, who created an ingenious layout that is actually one long continuous track—a train leaving from one side of the loading platform returns on the other.”

In addition to riding, attendees will enjoy camaraderie with like-minded people who will regale one another with stories of coasters ridden in all corners of the world. ACE members have traveled to places like Central America and the Far East to enjoy that next great thrill. Anywhere there’s a coaster you’ll find an ACE member. Several activities will take place at the Doubletree Hotel & Monroeville Convention Center in Monroeville, including presentations, a photo contest, a video contest, a banquet and even a General Store featuring club-related materials from tee shirts to license plate frames as well as other vendor booths selling artwork and memorabilia.

Founded in 1978, ACE is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation, promotion, appreciation and safe enjoyment of roller coasters. With more than 6,000 members in 50 states and 12 countries, ACE is the largest amusement park enthusiast organization in the world. Members of ACE receive bimonthly newsletters and quarterly magazines, as well as having the opportunity to attend events throughout the year.

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