Martin & Vleminckx adds to staff

By | May 26, 2017

Martin & Vleminckx Rides Companies (MVR) are very pleased to be able to announce two very important additions to our sales team. Our growth the past few years and awareness of the spectacular Wood Coaster projects we have been delivering with exciting inverted elements has created the need to not only add sales personnel but the most qualified industry members to our team.

The Americas, North, South and Canada will now be managed by Gina Romano who holds the position of Vice President Marketing and Sales, The Americas. In addition to the pursuit of MVR wood coaster sales Gina will handle the core business of MVR from its beginning; the installation, dismantling, moving, repair and maintenance of any amusement attraction.

Gina Romano was raised in a family operated park, Nellie Bly Park in Brooklyn, NY. She is a graduate in Commercial Design from Pratt Institute and holds a Masters in Education from NYU. After an early life spent in ride operations, food service, grounds keeping, safety, maintenance, and marketing she became the GM of the park in 1986.

Her love of the business led her to be involved in the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. She served on the Education, Smaller Facilities and Safety Committees. She was nominated to serve on the IAAPA Board of Directors for two three year terms. In 1995, she became the first woman to be elected as 3rd Vice President of the Association. She served as President in 1997. Gina was instrumental in ushering IAAPA into the digital age and the Association becoming a truly international entity. She advocated for the industry to departments of tourism, representatives of government and developers all over the world. “One of the great aspects of our industry is that while cultures can be very different, the basic elements of what brings us joy are very much the same. We all speak that language.” is a credo Gina lives by.

Gina took an eight-year leave from the Parks and Attractions Industry to work as an art and math teacher and to raise the two boys she adopted. During that time she produced local events, art shows and workshops as Nellie Bly Productions. The Parks and Attractions Industry and the people who are its creators, operators, developers and suppliers are her passion. She joins Martin & Vleminckx to continue her commitment, use her knowledge and support the industry.

Gina holds Certificates in “The Disney Approach to People Management, The Dale Carnegie School of Effective Speaking and Public Relations, The Cornell School of Hospitality IAAPA Facilities Management Program and is an Advanced Public Speaker with Toastmasters International. She has served as a Board of Director of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and the Brooklyn Chapter of the Boy Scouts of America. She recently joined the IAAPA Foundation Board.

Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern bloc countries will now be managed jointly by Eckart Schultz who holds the position of European Representative and Chuck Bingham, Sr. Vice President Marketing & Sales MVR. The combined industry experience of Eckart and Chuck total 107 years which equates to the most experienced, talented, and best known sales team in the industry. MVR is delighted to have Eckart Join Chuck to bring the best traditional wood coasters in the world to Europe, the Middle East and beyond Eckart worked part time in the industry as a teen joined the amusement industry full time in 1969 with an electrical engineering qualification. He joined Becher Company in Germany who supplied ride systems to the amusement industry. In a very short 4 years Eckart was serving as a consultant to such major parks as Liseberg Park in Sweden and Phantasialand in Germany. Since this early success Eckart was General Manager of Reino Avenura, Mexico City and in various other positions for Middle East and European parks.

In 1994, Eckart became the Sales Director for Vekoma, The Netherlands in Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Bloc countries and has been active with sales in this area ever since with Vekoma, S & S and other notable suppliers. Eckart has establish a relationship with most parks in this territory as well as with Park designers around the world. His Park operations experience brings expertise to both purchaser as well as the park planner in selecting what is the best solution.

Eckart is fluent in German and English and is conversant with basic Spanish, Italian and French languages.

Come Ashore This Summer and Soak Up the Sun at the New Cedar Point Shores Waterpark

By | May 26, 2017

SANDUSKY, Ohio – Cedar Point’s rich history began as a simple bathing beach and bathhouse in 1870. Today, Cedar Point still is the summertime destination for families from all over the world with 70 rides, including 17 roller coasters, a mile-long beach, five hotel properties, beautiful marinas and now, the new Cedar Point Shores Waterpark, opening Saturday, May 27.

Located on Cedar Point’s shoreline on Lake Erie, Cedar Point Shores is an 18-acre playground for aqua-lovers of all ages with attractions that provide big thrills, little thrills and the world’s best water thrills. Just like guests cooled off in the summer almost 150 years ago, that tradition continues with new ways to beat the heat, eat, relax and have fun.

“This is a unique time in Cedar Point’s history. As the park evolves with the latest and greatest attractions, we will never lose sight of how we started,” said Jason McClure, vice president and general manager of Cedar Point. “Cedar Point Shores is a direct nod to our past as it existed on the Lake Erie shoreline. Only today, new and exciting thrills are available right alongside the beach that has, and still continues to bring families together.”

Cedar Point Shores is home to 17 water attractions geared for everyone in the family. Thrill-seekers will experience near free-fall on the new Point Plummet, a six-story aqua-drop body slide. Riders first climb into individual capsules at the top of the tower. After an ominous countdown of, “3-2-1,” the floor will drop from underneath riders’ feet and the journey begins through twists and turns in an enclosed tunnel until the splashdown in the runout below. Non-riders can watch the fear in the faces of their friends on special monitors on the ground with video cameras focused on the launch capsules.

On the same tower as Point Plummet, Portside Plunge provides thrills of a different kind, five stories above the ground. Riders can experience the slide alone or with a friend on an inner tube as they’re sent through an enclosed tunnel, then shot out into the sun over unique airtime hills and into a pool at the end of the ride.
What’s known as a legend on Lake Erie is now rising from the shallow pool of Lemmy’s Lagoon, an area geared just for the little ones. Kids can splash and play around “Lemmy,” the mythical, green Lake Erie monster, as well as sandcastles, geysers, whimsical fish and more.

Just next to Lemmy’s Lagoon, Lakeslide Landing is the place where young ones can start their journey to become a big water thrill-seeker. Featuring 12 pint-sized slides, Lakeslide Landing also welcomes its sliders with a shallow pool, making it a great place for parents to interact with their children and cool off at the same time. Expanded shaded areas around Lakeslide Landing and Lemmy’s Lagoon provide relaxing spots for parents to decompress and watch all the fun.

Dining at Cedar Point Shores is an experience in and of itself. The centerpiece of the new culinary experiences is Crystal Rock Café, named after the Crystal Rock Castle that once called Cedar Point home in the early 1900’s. Crystal Rock Café will serve hand-made pizza, fresh chicken wraps, gourmet salads, seafood and items not found anywhere at Cedar Point.

A brand-new custom ice cream flavor is also on the menu at the new Beaches & Cream. The cold and creamy confection is a refreshing hint of cotton candy, a staple at Cedar Point for a large part of its history. The flavor is made in partnership with Sandusky’s own Toft Dairy, creators of the Rougarou mint and chocolate and the Valravn salted caramel ice cream flavors sold inside the park.

Adults can relax with a new custom brew named Shandy Shores, a light and surprising mix of blood orange and mango. Shandy Shores is available at Muffleheads Beach Bar, a swim-up experience right on the waterfront, and at Schooner’s Bayside Bar, a completely new hot spot serving not only frosty cold beverages, but snack items as well.

Setting the mood for Cedar Point Shores’ resort-like atmosphere is a host of live entertainment, including appearances by Cedar Point’s own Toes in the Sand Band and Cedar Point Beach Band. Playing popular favorites that will take guests into the relaxation mindset, both bands will play at select times throughout the summer. In addition, daily activities and games are planned at various locations in the waterpark for guests of all ages.

The new offerings don’t stop there. The waterpark will also debut a new entrance with an artfully-crafted welcome sign and giant beach balls, enhanced midway paths with lush landscaping, more shaded areas for guests to relax, updated changing areas, luxury VIP cabanas alongside the Breakwater Bay wave pool and a new merchandise location, Sandals Souvenirs and Sundries.

With more to do than ever before, guests can play their way for multiple days while staying at one of Cedar Point’s five hotel properties, including the beautiful beachfront Hotel Breakers, located just steps from Cedar Point and Cedar Point Shores Waterpark. Other properties include the cottages, cabins and luxury RV sites at Lighthouse Point, Sandcastle Suites Hotel, Cedar Point’s Express Hotel and Castaway Bay Indoor Waterpark Resort.

A stay at Cedar Point’s hotel properties includes free admission to Cedar Point Shores Waterpark (when a one, two or three-day Cedar Point ticket package is purchased), early access to Cedar Point Shores, Early Entry to Cedar Point to ride some of the biggest rides and coasters, discounted admission to Cedar Point and the closest rooms to the world’s best destination for thrills.

Guests can also take advantage of a summer of fun at Cedar Point Shores with a Platinum Pass. Benefits include unlimited admission to Cedar Point Shores and Cedar Point, Early Entry, discounts on food and merchandise, exclusive ride nights, access to special passholder events at both parks, free parking and more. The best time to purchase a Platinum Pass is right now, as prices go up on May 30.

For more information on Cedar Point Shores, Cedar Point’s hotel accommodations, hours of operation and more, guests can visit

Waves of wet weather to dampen northeastern US into Memorial Day weekend

By | May 24, 2017

AccuWeather Global Weather Center – AccuWeather reports damp and dreary conditions will plague the northeastern United States late this week, with enough wet weather possible to disrupt travel and outdoor activities.

Rain is not particularly needed in this part of the country as most locations have received above-normal precipitation so far this year. Even so, any rain that falls will help to water lawns and blooming gardens heading towards the long summer months.

Not every day heading into Memorial Day will be a washout as dry conditions and partial sunshine are expected in-between rainy spells.

However, residents will want to keep umbrellas and rain coats on hand and be prepared to alter outdoor sporting events and gatherings.

“A storm approaching from the west will bring the return of rain on Wednesday night into Thursday,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun said.

The wet weather is expected to exit in time for Saturday sporting events, beach trips, yard work and hikes.

The best weather for Fleet Week New York City will likely be on Saturday,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. “Likewise, dry weather and some sunshine are likely for the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach, New York, on Saturday only,”

The next storm from the Ohio Valley will be knocking on the door with the likelihood of a return of wet weather on Sunday and into Monday.

“The forward speed of the next storm will determine if Memorial Day ceremonies and barbecues are inconvenienced by a passing thundershower or washed out by periods of rain,” Sosnowski said.

Theme park designer Ira West has died

By | May 24, 2017

MALIBU, Calif. — Ira West, formerly of R. Duell & Associates passed away on May 21, 2017. He was 78.

A former set designer for MGM, West worked with Randall Duell designing theme parks built in the 1960s through the 1980s, eventually working his way up to president. Some of West’s projects include the design of Frontiertown at Cedar Point, AstroWorld, Worlds of Fun, the two Marriott’s Great America parks, and Parc Asterix.

West also providing concept design for large attractions such as Magic Mountain’s Great American Revolution and Hersheypark’s Sooperdooperlooper. West created a scale model of the terrain, determined where everything should be placed, then turned the design over to Intamin who then engineered the coasters. West also developed the concept for converting the Turn of the Century roller coasters at both Great America parks to Demon coasters with the addition of two vertical loops and new themeing.

Funeral services were held on May 25, 2017, in the TaNaCH Chapel at Mt. Sinai Hollywood Hills.

From the Governor: Pennsylvania Proclaims May 21-27, 2017, Amusement Ride Safety Week

By | May 23, 2017

WHEREAS, Pennsylvania is home to more than 9,300 amusement rides and attractions that provide entertainment to millions of visitors attending the commonwealth’s fairs, carnivals, and amusement parks; and

WHEREAS, to ensure the mechanical and physical safety of all ride patrons, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Ride and Measurement Standards administers the state’s amusement ride safety program, and is a national leader in ride inspection and safety; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Agriculture works cooperatively with the amusement ride industry, certifying and training nearly 1,600 professional inspectors from the private sector to ensure every ride in Pennsylvania is inspected and registered under the Amusement Ride Safety Act of 1984; and

WHEREAS, for quality assurance, additional inspectors are employed by the state and are assigned to work together with the amusement ride industry to ensure failsafe protection of all patrons; and

WHEREAS, the commonwealth is committed to amusement ride inspector training and regularly leads in national safety education and outreach programs that include hands-on demonstrations and workshops; and

WHEREAS, consumers also play an instrumental role to ensure their own safety while riding amusement attractions. Amusement rides are best enjoyed as intended and without the addition of rider-added thrills for their own safety and the safety of others.

THEREFORE, in recognition of the cooperative roles that the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the amusement ride industry play in keeping all amusement attractions safe for all to enjoy, I, Tom Wolf, Governor of Pennsylvania, do hereby designate May 21-27, 2017, as AMUSEMENT RIDE SAFETY WEEK.

GIVEN under my hand and the Seal of the Governor, at the City of Harrisburg, this eighth day of May two thousand seventeen, the year of the commonwealth the two hundred forty-first.

Tom Wolf

Garfield to Be Signature Character in Children’s Areas of Six Flags-Branded Theme Parks in China

By | May 18, 2017

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (NYSE: SIX), the world’s largest regional theme park company, and Riverside Tourism Investment Group Co. Ltd., an award-winning tourism and real estate developer and Six Flags partner, today announced that the children’s areas of China’s first-ever Six Flags branded parks will be themed after Garfield and the Garfield characters from the world-famous comic strip. Six Flags Zhejiang is scheduled to open in 2019, anchoring a 30 billion yuan (USD $4.6 billion) resort development located on the coast of Hangzhou Bay. Six Flags Chongqing is scheduled to open in 2020.

“We are excited to partner with the great team at Paws Incorporated to create unique, themed sections based on the beloved Garfield character for children and their families,” said John Odum, President, Six Flags International Development Company. “From themed rides and attractions to live shows, character meet and greets and merchandise, guests will be fully immersed inside the clever world of Garfield and friends.”

“This alliance is another major step toward building a world class park for millions of visitors,” said Che Li, Chairman of the Riverside Investment Group. “Garfield is already a beloved character in China and we look forward to bringing him to life inside Six Flags Zhejiang and Six Flags Chongqing.”

“This is a great opportunity for Garfield to entertain families and children,” said Garfield’s creator Jim Davis. “Six Flags and Riverside have an extraordinary project planned and to have our characters featured is an incredible honor.”

“Garfield” and “the Garfield characters” are intellectual properties owned by Paws, Inc., an Indiana-based corporation of which Davis is President. Paws was represented by International Theme Park Services, Inc., a leader in the theme park and amusement industry.

Sherry Howell to Speak at the International Association of Trampoline Parks’ Annual European Conference and Trade Show

By | May 11, 2017

ROXBORO, NC – Sherry Howell, Director of Client Success at CenterEdge Software, a leading provider of point-of-sale, online sales and reservations, and ticketing systems for entertainment and recreation facilities, will speak at the International Association of Trampoline Parks (IATP) European Conference and Trade Show on Monday, May 22 at Hilton London Paddington in the United Kingdom.

Howell’s presentation, “Getting the Return on Your Investment for Your Event Sales Effort,” will provide attendees with reasons why an event sales effort is needed, offer two different approaches to setting sales targets, and discuss strategic ways to examine your current and future sales pipeline.

“It’s virtually impossible to grow your business without dedicated event sales efforts, but this important piece of the pie isn’t always given the love and attention it needs. My hope is to offer differing strategies to help operators determine the approach that makes the most sense for where they are today and what they wish to accomplish,” said Howell.

The first annual European International Association of Trampoline Parks Conference and Trade Show will provide a forum for the exchange of information and opportunities to network with others in the trampoline park industry. The conference program will benefit indoor trampoline park owners, operators and managers, entrepreneurs looking to get into the business, and entertainment center owners looking to add this exciting new attraction to their existing businesses.

Benjamin Combs of SkyTrans Manufacturing passes

By | May 11, 2017

FARMINGTON, N.H. – Benjamin Paul Combs, age 18, of 21 Tappan Street, Farmington, NH, passed into eternal life on May 4, 2017 after suffering from severe depression. He will be remembered and celebrated as the everlasting joy of his family’s life and for his loving kindness and thoughtfulness to friends and family.

His brilliant intelligence and wonderful sense of humor endeared him to all. Ben was a self-motivated learner with knowledge beyond his years of facts, people, and life.

He listened to classical music, symphony orchestra, and Frank Sinatra. His interests through the years ranged from karate, aviation, archery, history, travel, and cooking to camping/hiking, Pokémon Go, superheroes, video games, and movies. He also loved to play mini golf and board games (especially Monopoly) and was an avid reader of comic books and major novels. Most recently he enjoyed building Legos and complex jigsaw puzzles.

Ben was close to all of nature and exhibited a special fondness for cats everywhere. He hiked 20 of the 48 New Hampshire mountains in the 4000-Footer Club.

When depression was not overwhelming him, Ben had been at the top of his class academically. In the last year, he was employed at SkyTrans Manufacturing, where he learned to clean and test grips for ski lifts, sandblasting, forklift operations, and flame cutting. This winter, he worked with his Dad as part of the team to finish the Green Peak chairlift at Waterville Valley, making his Dad forever proud of him.

His inner quiet reflective nature did not begin to reveal his true self or the persistent courage he had as a young man.

Ben is survived by his parents Rachel Jane (Livingston)Combs and Richard Combs of Farmington, sister Margaret E. Combs of Farmington, and brother SGT Patrick D. Combs of Somersworth as well as grandparents George and Carolyn Livingston of Florida and many aunts, uncles and cousins, as well as his beloved cat, Puma

New location and dates announced for the 2018 AIMS Safety Seminar

By | May 11, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The 2018 AIMS Safety Seminar will be held January 7-12 in Galveston, Texas. Classes will be held at the beautiful Galveston Convention Center with hotel accommodations at the adjacent Hilton Galveston and the San Luis Resort.

“After being in Orlando for many years, we listened to the industry’s request to move the AIMS Safety Seminar to a more central US location and chose Galveston for its accessibility, the wonderful facilities, and the opportunities area attractions such as the Pleasure Pier and Schlitterbahn Water Park offer our students. The climate is perfect and the convention center is ideal for our classes. This is going to be a fantastic year!”, said Karen Oertley AIMS Executive Director.

Holly Coston, AIMS Seminar Manager added, “ Under the chairmanship of Palace Entertainment’s Jeffrey Savelesky, the AIMS Education Committee is planning many new and timely classes for 2018 Galveston. Stay tuned for more great news about the 2018 Safety Seminar”.

The AIMS Safety Seminar is recognized by major parks and attractions as the worldwide leader in safety training and education.  Boasting an annual enrollment of more than 350 students, the week-long seminar offers 40 class hours of education (4 CEU) and AIMS certification testing in Ride Inspection, Maintenance, Operations and Aquatics. Additional certificates are also offered. Known for its wide selection of classes and the quality of expert instructors, AIMS students can choose from more than 200 class offerings to tailor a curriculum that best fit their needs and the requirements of their employers.

Early registration for the seminar is $595 and includes tuition, class materials, CEU and completion certificates, an opening reception, daily morning and afternoon breaks, and lunch every day. AIMS certification testing and other certificates are offered at an additional fee.

Early registration will open in July with full registration starting in September. More information on the AIMS Safety Seminar can be found at or contact Holly Coston, Seminar Manager at

Drop Line opens at Dollywood

By | May 8, 2017

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — Dolly Parton declared this season at Dollywood as “The Year of the Family,” thanks to the fantastic family fun which abounds throughout 2017. Today, park officials unveiled Drop Line, a 230-foot-tall free-fall experience, to media during a special sneak preview. The ride officially opens to guests on Saturday, May 6.

Drop Line lifts guests more than 20 stories above Dollywood’s Timber Canyon. As it ascends, the ride’s gondola slowly spins around the tower, providing guests with a bird’s eye view of the Great Smoky Mountains. Guests shouldn’t get too comfortable with the commanding vantage point they find more than 200 feet above the ground, however. In an instant, Drop Line descends back to the ground in a thrilling rush of excitement.

“Drop Line is the perfect new attraction for Dollywood,” said the park’s General Manager Gene Scherrer. “We have a number of unique rides, but this one is unlike anything else here. Our guests will have a chance to enjoy the beautiful Smoky Mountain scenery as they rise up the tower, but once they get to the top, the anticipation of the drop will certainly create memories they’ll remember for quite some time,” he added with a laugh.

Dollywood also soon will open Whistle Punk Chaser, adjacent to Drop Line and the award-winning Thunderhead wooden coaster. Whistle Punk Chaser is a junior coaster which throws exciting twists and turns at Dollywood’s younger guests, helping prepare them for the day they can join their parents aboard the park’s larger rides.