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...
ACE members pose for a group photo before ERT on the Pole Position spinning coaster
ACE Day at the California State Fair has been an annual event since 2002. The 2002 event was a joint venture with the Monorail Society. A standard feature of each event from the beginning has been complimentary ERT on the fair’s coasters. Through 2008, the midway was operated by Ray Cammack Shows. Butler Amusements, Inc. took over the responsibility for the California State Fair’s midway in 2009. The 2010 ACE Day at the California State Fair was the second time that Butler Amusements has hosted the event for us. We could not be happier that Butler Amusements has chosen to continue our traditional fun day at the California State Fair.
A big change for 2010 was that the fair moved its schedule up by about a month. This change was made in an effort to boost attendance by eliminating conflicts with school schedules. As a result, the 2010 ACE Day at the California State Fair was the first ever held in July.
Thanks to Butler Amusements, we started off our day at the fair with complimentary admission to the California State Fair. ACE’s good friend Mike Gorman of Butler Amusements started things off by giving everyone some handouts with information about Butler Amusements. Then he surprised us with a drawing for some cool Butler prizes, including a ultra-rare 40th anniversary hard-cover book about Butler Amusements Inc. The winner of that treasured item was Nicholas Laschkewitsch.
ACEers pause for a group photo with a Butler Amusements truck
Next up, Mike Gorman led us on a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour which really gave us an appreciation of how enormous the task is to transport and operate such a large midway. The final stop on the tour was an unexpected treat. The entire group was warmly welcomed into the quarters of Mr. Earl “Butch” Butler, CEO and President of Butler Amusements, Inc. We enjoyed a fascinating conversation with him about the company and the amusement industry.
Following the tour, all were ready for some complimentary ERT on the fair’s two coasters: the spinning Pole Position coaster and the Zillerator. At the end of ERT, the group gathered at the new Butler Amusements Magical Midway sign for a photo. Then, armed with a generous supply of free ride passes — courtesy of Mike Gorman and Butler Amusements — most of the attendees spread out to enjoy the rest of the day at the California State Fair.
After hearing Mr. Butler’s description of the new LED lighting package on the Giant Wheel, many of the ACEers in attendance chose to stay until after dark. They were not disappointed. Consisting of 57,500 LEDs in 2400 modules, the wheel’s lighting package is nothing short of spectacular, including amazing programmed patterns not seen before. As a further bonus, the new lighting package yields energy savings of 92%!
We would like to thank Mike Gorman, Butch Butler, and the rest of the team at Butler Amusements for their kindness and generosity. Special thanks also go to Richard Tuck, Frank Biafore, and Tim Sauer for their help in making the 2010 ACE Day at the California State Fair a success.
Brian, Nicholas, Cody, and Curt
Jeffrey, Christian, Mike, and Frank
Andy and Ellis
Leonard, Jandy, and Matthew
Eric and Kitty
ERT on the Zillerator
Curt and Emi
Thank you, Butler Amusements!
— Steven Wilson
photos: Steven Wilson