California’s Great America has been busy this offseason, and whenever it reopens from its pandemic-induced closure, guests will notice a spruced-up park, carrying the momentum of the previous years’ work....
Saturday, December 4th, 2010 marked the day for the annual ACE Holiday Party. As usual, it took place at Playland-Not-at-the-Beach. Approximately thirty people showed up for the event and much fun was had by all. In the morning, a new exhibit room, Roller Coaster Rampage, was opened in the building.
ACE members gather outside prior to the ribbon-cutting that would open the new Roller Coaster Rampage exhibit.
The all-new room features an authentic Arrow Development roller coaster car from the Giant Dipper in Santa Cruz. The car operated on the ride from 1955 to 1976. ACE members Nancy Redden and Mike Chew donated the coaster car. Nancy was on hand to do the ribbon-cutting to open Roller Coaster Rampage. In the new Roller Coaster Rampage room, the coaster car is positioned in front of a projection screen where POVs of roller coasters were shown, simulating actually riding a roller coaster!
After a few hours in Roller Coaster Rampage, lunch was served in the Penny Arcade. Lots of delicious food was on hand: corn dogs, nachos, and all kinds of snacks and desserts. When lunch was over, we all headed over to the front of Playland where we watched Professor B’s Flea Circus. Thankfully, none of the visitors or ACE members at Playland had their dogs with them! Many fleas performed such as Fifi LaFlea, the amazing Fleo, Evil the Fleavil, and Elvis Presflea.
In the afternoon, Jim Smith, author of the new book Playland at the Beach: The Early Years gave a presentation on the beginnings of Playland-at-the-Beach. After the presentation, Jim was on hand to sign copies of his book (you can buy it online at the Playland-Not-at-the-Beach store).
Of course, the party included the fun and exciting Gift Exchange game. A lot of stealing back and forth went on this year, particularly from ACE member Matthew Pearce! There were many great gifts including the incredible, and amazing … Shmuzzle Puzzle. On the puzzle was a photo of the American Eagle at Six Flags Great America.
Following the gift exchange, the ACE NorCal Spirit award was given out. The recipient this year was ACE member Ray Harris of Modesto. In recognition of Ray’s efforts in roller coaster preservation in 2010, Ray was presented the award, which consists of a plaque and a one-year renewal of his ACE membership. Congratulations, Ray!
ACE members were let free through the museum until 3:30 PM when the ACE fund-raising auction began. Tons of fantastic items were up for grabs such as:
- Block of redwood from the original boardwalk of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk with certificate of authenticity
- Giant Dipper 85th anniversary sign
- Medusa 10th Anniversary Banner
- 100th Anniversary Looff Carousel poster -– framed by the Boardwalk and signed by Charles Canfield
- Invitation for four to the 2011 Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk VIP party
- Many coaster parts (Zonga bumpers, Roar wood, etc)
ACE member Derek Willhite served as the auctioneer.
Before we even knew it, the auction had come to a close after many laughs and high bids by Matthew Pearce. (Emi sure enjoyed it!) The auction raised $830.00 to benefit ACE Preservation and Archive funds. I won some Roar wood which will look very nice on my wall, or for my cat to sit on. Boardwalk 100th Anniversary DVDs were presented to Cliff Aldecoa and Derek Willhite as prizes. Many thanks go to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom for donating all of the cool auction items and prizes!
I can’t wait to see all of you ACE members again next year! Merry Christmas!
— Nicholas Laschkewitsch
— photos: above by Nicholas Laschkewitsch, below by Steven Wilson
Derek Willhite auctions off a Giant Dipper sign.
Derek Willhite auctions off a Boardwalk banner.
Paul Asente shares a ride on Roller Coaster Rampage with Emi Pearce and one of her daughters.