California’s Great America opens for the 2019 season on March 23, but for ACE members, the season typically kicks off much earlier than that. Such was the case on March...
Gerry Watt reports on last year’s ACE Day at the California State Fair… The fifth annual ACE Day at the California State Fair took place at Sacramento’s Cal Expo grounds on Tuesday, August 16, 2006. Approximately twenty ACE members were treated to free exclusive ride time on the endangered Cal Expo Monorail plus a free hour of ERT riding three attractions on Ray Cammack Shows’ Magnificent Midway. Attractions featured during ERT this year were the classic ACE favorite Hi-Miler roller coaster, the wildly fun Spinning Coaster (a spinning mouse coaster), and RCS’ new acquisition for 2006, G Force, a swinging spin ride with a spectacular light and sound show.
Gary Magonigal, the head of operations for the Cal Expo monorail, and Sam DeSarno, an ACE member who also services and monitors the monorail during its fair run, were our hosts for the monorail ERT portion. Though they were both evasive as to whether 2006 was to be the last season for the monorail, it was made clear that finding parts for it has become extremely difficult. We all expressed our hope that one of the most memorable icons of Cal Expo and the California State Fair could be saved for people to enjoy for years to come.
Our RCS host this year, Paul, pitched in at the last moment because our usual host, Tony Fiori, was caught in traffic coming from Lake Tahoe after a day off (the Fair is now closed on Mondays except for Labor Day). Paul jovially treated many of us to a fascinating story of how he came to work for RCS in his retirement years. He had been a florist for decades before starting post-retirement work as a part-time customer service agent for RCS in Southern California. He loved it and was invited to tour with the show permanently, which he is now doing. This proves that you CAN run away with the carnival at any age!
The Hi-Miler and Spinning Coaster were running in top form. All attending were able to get in enough rides on each during our ACE ERT to BE spinning at the hour’s end! It was safe to say that a great time was had by all.
The ACE ERT portion of the day ended with Paul surprising everyone with free RCS ride coupons to use any time during the fair’s run and all of us were invited to spend the rest of the day enjoying the grand 2006 edition of the California State Fair.
Our thanks to Tony Fiori, Paul, and the staff of Ray Cammack Shows, Gary Magonigal, ACE member Sam DeSarno, and the staff of the Cal Expo Monorail, and ACE members Darren Besoyan, Scott Craig, David Escalante, Steven Wilson, and Gerry Watt for their help in making this event happen.
Photos of the event are here.