Richard A. Zimmerman Promoted To Cedar Fair President

By | October 27, 2016

cedar_fair_logo_detailSANDUSKY, Ohio, Oct. 27, 2016 – Cedar Fair (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment, is pleased to announce the promotion of Richard A. Zimmerman to the position of President and Chief Operating Officer.

“This promotion is an acknowledgement of the significant role Richard has played in the success of Cedar Fair,” said Matt Ouimet, Cedar Fair’s chief executive officer. “He is one of the most talented senior executives I have ever worked with. His deep understanding of the industry, our operations and our business model has enabled him to positively impact every meaningful decision we have made over the past five years. His role as President and Chief Operating Officer will be to bridge strategy into execution – sorting to the things that will have the biggest operational impact and turning good ideas into operational reality.”

Zimmerman has 30 years of experience in the leisure and hospitality industry and most recently served as Chief Operating Officer of Cedar Fair. Prior to that he served as Executive Vice President since 2010, Regional Vice President since 2007 and as Vice President and General Manager of Kings Dominion since 1998. Prior to entering the amusement park industry, Richard served in various roles with Paramount Communications, Inc., including vice president of financial planning and analysis for Paramount’s Madison Square Garden Division.

Eli Bridge’s Lee Sullivan passes at the age of 91

By | October 27, 2016

lee-sullivan-portraitJACKSONVILLE, Ill. – Lee A. Sullivan Jr., 91, of Jacksonville, IL died Tuesday, October 25, 2016, at his home.

He was born July 12, 1925 in Jacksonville, the son of Lee A. Sr. and Nell Griffith Sullivan. He married Barbara Bienemann on March 29, 1949 and later married Betty Miller Kinnett Deem on October 25, 1975 and both have preceded him in death.

He is survived by five children, William A. Sullivan of Jacksonville, Patricia Sullivan of Jacksonville, Robert Sullivan (wife, Sue) of Bethalto, Susan Sullivan-Tuncan (husband, Erdal) of Omaha, NE, and Paul Sullivan of Springfield; five grandchildren, Jas Sullivan of Woodriver, Reya Tuncan Christensen (husband, Nicholas) of Lincoln, NE, Erin Tuncan and Sanya Tuncan, both of Omaha, NE, and Connor Sullivan (wife, Alexis) of Naperville; a niece, Julie Gaines (husband, Tom) of Jacksonville; two nephews, Larry Littler (wife, Kathy) of Jacksonville and David Littler (companion, Linda Hack) of Largo, FL; two cousins, Marian Russell McDaniel of Shawnee Mission, KS and Henrietta Doss of The Villages, FL; and his personal caregiver, Ava Sparrow of Jacksonville, whose care allowed him to continue residing in his home. He was preceded in death by his parents and two siblings, Peggy Littler and Liam “Bud” Sullivan.

Lee was a 1942 graduate of Jacksonville High School and a 1950 graduate of the University of Illinois, College of Engineering where he was named to the Bronze Tablet, the university award for academic achievement. He served with the US Navy from 1945-1946 and from 1951-1952.

A licensed professional engineer, Lee served as president and board chairman of Eli Bridge Company where he was involved in its leadership from 1950 until his death. He was nationally known throughout the amusement ride industry and an advocate of raising safety standards. He was a member of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association which named Lee to their industry Hall of Fame. He was a past president of the American Recreation Equipment Association where he was instrumental in the creation of safety seminars. He was also a member of the Showman’s League of America and ASTM International, an organization charged with establishing industry-wide safety standards. ASTM awarded Lee the “Jimmy Floyd Award” for his outstanding service to amusement industry safety. Lee was also a founding and 19 year member of the Illinois Carnival-Amusement Safety Board.

Lee was a life-long member of Central Christian Church in Jacksonville where he formerly served as a deacon and choir member. He was a former member of the board of directors for both Jacksonville Savings and Loan Association (now Jacksonville Savings Bank) and Farmers State Bank and Trust Company in Jacksonville. He was a former board member and treasurer of the Sherwood Eddy YMCA and a member of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Memorial services will be held 10:30 am, Monday, October 31, 2016, at Central Christian Church in Jacksonville with interment at Diamond Grove Cemetery in Jacksonville. The family will meet friends from 4:00 to 6:00 pm Sunday at the Buchanan & Cody Funeral Home in Jacksonville. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts are suggested to the Central Christian Church Memorial Fund. Condolences may be sent online at

Former marketing director and acting general manager of the Volusia County Fair, John W. Owens, Jr., passes

By | October 27, 2016

obit-john-owensORANGE CITY, Fl. – John W. Owens, Jr. 70 of Deland passed away October 24, 2016 at his residence. He was born in Lombard, Illinois on July 17, 1946 and moved to central Florida in 1988 from North Carolina. He served in the US Navy during the Vietnam War.

John was the marketing director and acting general manager for the Volusia County Fair (2015). He loved the entertainment industry and music, especially playing the saxophone. He was very creative and a visionary. John was an author and very outgoing. He had a positive attitude which resonated to others and he had the ability to connect with people to help them fulfill their dreams.

Survivors include his wife of 38 years, Sarah; son John Owens, III (Tamara) of Nebo, NC; daughter Ann Marie Pike (Billy) of Foster, RI; brother Robert Owens of Pittsboro, NC; sisters Carol Jane Thurber of Pittsboro, NC and Molly Maddock (Harry) of Tacoma, WA; 5 grandchildren and 1 great-granddaughter. A memorial service will be held on Monday, October 31st at 5pm at Allen-Summerhill Memorial Chapel in Orange City, with a gathering of friends from 4-5pm prior to the service. Online condolences may be made at In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Compassion International Allen-Summerhill Orange City is in charge.

Dolly Parton names 2017 “Year of the Family” – Dollywood adds two rides and two special new events in 2017

By | October 26, 2016

drop-line-keyartPIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (October 26, 2016) — Coming off a record year which featured the best new attraction of 2016, Lightning Rod, as well as the successful first anniversary of Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort, The Dollywood Company continues to provide more unique experiences at each of its family-friendly properties.

Two new family rides debut this summer at Dollywood providing thrilling new adventures for guests. The first is Drop Line (a “Skyfall” supplied by Funtime), a 200-foot tall free-fall experience that towers over Timber Canyon and provides an incredible view of the park before its exhilarating finish. The drop tower ride lifts Dollywood guests nearly 20 stories above the Canyon’s pool, before plummeting them back to the ground in a thrilling rush. Also new is Whistle Punk Chaser, a junior coaster (a Zamperla family gravity coaster) which throws exciting twists and turns at Dollywood’s younger loggers, helping prepare them for the day they can join their parents aboard the award-winning Thunderhead wooden coaster.

th_new17_wpc“As everybody already knows, family is very important to me,” Dolly Parton explained. “These days, there doesn’t seem to be enough time for families to be together, whether you’re a just a couple like me and Carl or you have 12 kids like my family did growing up. That’s why we continue to add all these new rides and shows for families to experience together.

“We have something for everyone, but even more important, we have something for you AND your family. We’re adding so much this year; I’m calling 2017 ‘the year of the family!’”

In addition to the new attractions, families have two engaging new events to experience 2017. Just in time for families enjoying spring break, the park will introduce enra, a Tokyo-based dance company which was featured on America’s Got Talent in 2015. The group wowed audiences with their high-energy multi-media dance, light and video fusion show. Interactive video and lights combine with the talented performers to create a unique, cutting-edge experience for guests.

In October, Dollywood’s Harvest Festival adds the spectacular GREAT! Pumpkin LumiNights event. This nighttime event immerses families in fabulous fall pumpkin illumination. Additionally, a new pumpkin trail comes to life after dark with a number of spectacular pumpkin displays glowing with the fire of fall. The festival also includes the Southern Gospel Jubilee which brings in the greatest Southern gospel talent around.

“We are really excited about adding the GREAT! Pumpkin LumiNights to our Harvest event,” Gene Scherrer, Dollywood Vice-President and General Manager said. “We’ve created a number of impressive displays that will light up the night and allow us to add some new experiences for families to enjoy the fun of fall in a uniquely Dollywood way.”

The company also recently announced the addition of TailSpin Racer (supplied by WhiteWater), a multi-lane, mat-racer-style slide to Dollywood’s Splash Country for 2017. The parks’ 2017 additions are all part of Parton’s $300 million investment in Dollywood announced in 2013.

A Thrilling Wager Fit for Thrill Parks – Cedar Point and Six Flags Great America “Double Down” on World Series

By | October 26, 2016

GURNEE, Ill – With the fun of all the recent wagers placed between Illinois and Ohio, two of the best thrill parks in the world are getting in on the action. Illinois’ Six Flags Great America and Ohio’s Cedar Point are each boasting that their home team will take the championship.

In a video posted to social media today, Six Flags Great America issued a bet to Cedar Point: if the Cubs win, the Cedar Point team must post a video of the staff performing “Go, Cubs, Go” to their social channels.

Cedar Point accepted, stating that if the Indians win, Great America’s team will post a video of their staff performing “Cleveland Rocks” to their social channels. Cedar Point also upped the ante with another challenge: the “losing” park must rename one of their rides for their entire opening weekend in 2017, and the winning park will choose the losing park’s ride and new name.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this wager,” said Hank Salemi, park president of Six Flags Great America. “Our park is rallying around Chicago for a World Series win and can’t wait to hear ‘Go, Cubs, Go’ all the way from Sandusky.”

Jason McClure, vice president and general manager of Cedar Point added, “I think all of us in Ohio and Illinois are excited that our teams are playing October baseball. Our two parks are in the business of fun – so why not get into the spirit in our own unique way? We’re not going to lose, so they should probably get their video ready!”

So who will win and which ride will it be? Fans will just have to wait and cheer for their favorite team, as a rivalry of a different kind takes place, 350 miles apart.

Woody’s World Arcade closes, assets to be auctioned off

By | October 24, 2016

Norton Auctions of Coldwater, Michigan, is coordinating the sale

GENEVA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ohio — Woody’s World Arcade is saying goodbye after 35 Years. Woody’s World opened its doors in May 1981. Namco’s Pac Man game was in nearly every tavern, arcade and storefront in the U.S. and video games were on the verge of exploding.

Changing times in both the arcade business and in the town itself have caused the family to make the decision to close the current operation. A liquidation auction is being held Thursday, October 27, and the arcade be selling everything to the bare walls.

“It was my family’s third arcade, having operated the resort’s first Penny Arcade in the 1930s,” said Don “Woody” Woodward, operator of the iconic arcade. “We built the building new to replace the Casino Arcade, which burned to the ground in 1979. This one was built of precast concrete; no more fires,” continued Woodward.

The family’s original 1930s era Penny Arcade was destroyed by an electrical fire in the mid-fifties; the devastating 1979 fire was set by a serial arsonist.

The arcade operation kept up with the times and moved into a prize redemption arcade after the fall of the video game market in 1985.

“We had four Ms. Pac Man games in 1983 and 30 other video games. When games moved from arcades to living rooms in the mid-’80s, we knew we had to change. My family had always operated Skeeball and other prize games since the 1940s. After the Chuck E. Cheese effect brought the prize counter to the forefront, the industry moved in that direction.”

The Woodward family, including Woody’s two sisters Donna Colby and Martha Fenlason, closed the neighboring Erieview Park ten years ago. “After the park closed, the natural flow of teens and kids ceased to Woody’s World from the park, and it’s been downhill since,” explained Woodward.

“We do have plans for the building and the adjoining property, and it will be something not already in the resort. Suffice it to say we are moving along with Geneva-on-the-Lake as a destination.”

The auction is open to the public at the 5483 Lake Road East location and will start promptly at 10:30 a.m. Inspection and registration begins at 9 a.m. Over 65 games, two Waterforms, Inc., waterslides from Wild Water Works Waterslide, various nostalgia items, mini-golf props, merchandise and fixtures are included in the auction. Norton Auctions of Coldwater, Michigan, is coordinating the sale. The website,, contains a full listing of items for sale.

ASTM releases new video for committee on amusement rides and devices

By | October 21, 2016

WEST CONSHOKOCKEN, Pa. — ASTM International has just released a new video spotlighting Jim Seay, a member of the Committee on Amusement Rides and Devices. As president of Premier Rides and an active member of Committee F24, Seay has a unique perspective on creating once-in-a-lifetime amusement ride experiences, the ASTM process, and how essential safety standards are to the industry.

IAAPA GKTW Motorcycle Run

By | October 19, 2016

iaapa_ride_orlando_final_ iaapa-motorcycle-ride-logoORLANDO, Florida – IAAPA’s 7th Annual Give Kids The World Motorcycle Run will be held on Sunday, November 13. Last year’s ride was such a success, that Harley ran out of motorcycles to rent.  This year Harley has committed to making more bikes available by bringing them in from other locations. 

Once again, the event will have a new and exciting route led by professional escort riders.  Registering for the run and booking your motorcycle is a two-step process.  First, register for the run via  Next, reserve the motorcycle of your choice at Be sure to book your bike at the Historic Factory location on 37th Street.  

For further details about this fun and exciting event, contact Tom Sheehan at

Steven Wayne Hix, executive director of International Recreational Go-Kart Association and Miniature Golf Association, passes

By | October 13, 2016

steveSteven Wayne Hix, 66, went to be with the Lord on Saturday, September 17, 2016. Steve was born May 12, 1950, while his family was stationed in Japan. Graduating with a Bachelor’s degree from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, Steve went on to lead several successful businesses and trade associations.

He was the executive director of the International Recreational Go-Kart Association and Miniature Golf Association US. In the 1990s and 2000s, Steve was an active participant in the development of ASTM standards for amusement park rides, waterparks and off-road go-karts. His expertise was widely sought after, and he inspected major amusement parks and served as an expert witness in trials across the nation. In 2002 he was the recipient of the prestigious Kelly Ogle Memorial Award by the World Waterpark Association for promoting and increasing the safety of amusement park guests and employees. In 2006 Steve was awarded The Jimmy Floyd Award by ASTM International Committee F 24 for his exemplary leadership of a subcommittee and commitment to the advancement of the amusement industry.

He is survived by a son, Chris Hix, and a stepdaughter, Amanda Rayborn. He is predeceased by his mother, Dorothy D. Hix, and father, Col. Joseph Hix.

Inurnment to be held Friday, 10/28 at 1:15 PM at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.  Attendees are asked to please be in line no later than 1:00 PM.

Registration Now Open for AIMS Safety Seminar

By | October 13, 2016

aims-seminarlogo2017-vec-4-rgbNASHVILLE, Tenn. – Registration for the AIMS International Safety Seminar is now open and available online at  This comprehensive seminar, to be held January 8-13, 2017 at the Doubletree by Hilton in Orlando, Florida, offers classroom and hands-on safety training along with valuable networking opportunities for ride inspectors, maintenance, operations and aquatic personnel throughout the amusement industry.. More than 350 students are expected to attend this seminar renowned for its diverse curriculum and the quality of instructors who are leading industry professionals in their fields.

Tuition is $595 and includes all class materials, lunches, two daily snack breaks, Continuing Education Units (CEU), and completion certificates. New classes for 2017 include topics on Terrorism, Active Shooter and Workplace Violence, Security (by venue type), FECs, Climbing Walls, ASTM updates, TPM (Total Productive Maintenance), Guest Behaviors, Ride Accessibility, and more