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Published: Friday, 4/29/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

CEDAR POINT'S WINDSEEKER

Rain might swing back opening of new $5M ride

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
A screen grab from Cedar Point's Web cam shows construction work on the WindSeeker ride that has been promised to be ready for a charity event May 13. The park opens for the season the following day. A screen grab from Cedar Point's Web cam shows construction work on the WindSeeker ride that has been promised to be ready for a charity event May 13. The park opens for the season the following day.
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SANDUSKY -- Cedar Point's new ride for the 2011 season, the WindSeeker, hasn't had to do much seeking lately. Wind, rain, and generally foul weather have been abundant enough to slow construction of the $5 million attraction that will spin 64 riders atop its 301-foot tower.

But the amusement park has promised that the WindSeeker, copies of which are being built at two other parks owned by Cedar Fair LP, will be ready for a charity event May 13 -- the day before the park opens to the public for the season.

"We're very much pushing to have it ready. Yeah, the wind has been a problem … but [workers] are doing everything they can to get it ready on time," said Clark Culbertson, Cedar Point's vice president of marketing.

Much of the construction of the WindSeeker is taking place not above the park, but rather on the ground. Large sections of the tower were assembled on the ground, then linked together vertically during good weather, Mr. Culbertson said.

A ring-shaped lattice that holds the arms to which two-person swing chairs are connected also has been constructed and fitted around the tower's base.

An artist's rendering shows the WindSeeker whirling 64 riders. An artist's rendering shows the WindSeeker whirling 64 riders.
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But the lattice rises to its 301-foot height via a track on the tower. Inclement weather has halted work on the elevated parts of the tower.

"It can't be expedited. So if the weather is like this between now and opening day, we'd have a pretty tough time," he added. "But we are optimistic."

The WindSeeker, built by Mondial of The Netherlands, carries 64 riders in two-person swings, rotating as it ascends the tower and flaring out almost 45 degrees. The three-minute ride is reminiscent of a Cedar Point swing ride from the early 1900s that was 50 feet high.

Mr. Culbertson said two other WindSeekers being built at Kings Island near Cincinnati, and Canada's Wonderland near Toronto, are further ahead in construction, although neither is completed.

Cedar Point was counting on a new water ride, Shoot the Rapids, to be ready by the park's May 15 opening last year but unforeseen glitches delayed its debut until June 26.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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