Coaster enthusiasts from all over the United States come together once each year for Coaster Con, American Coaster Enthusiast’s premiere annual event. Each year, a different group of parks host the event, and there are a number of great ride opportunities. However, the event goes well beyond just the amazing and thrilling rides! According to the American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE), Coaster Con is typically held each summer on the third or fourth week of June and usually lasts five to seven days. “Numerous exclusive ride time (ERT) sessions that allow attendees to ride coasters before and after the park is open to the public make for shorter lines and enthusiastic camaraderie. However, Coaster Con is far more than just riding some of the nation’s most exciting roller coasters. Presentations, workshops, behind-the-scenes tours, a photo contest and a video contest are just some of the activities one finds at Coaster Con. A gala banquet, where dignitaries from the amusement industry appear as featured keynote speakers, is one of the event’s highlights.” The host parks really seem to go all-out when hosting these amazing conference events.
Roller coaster academic, Malcolm Burt, describes Coaster Con as being “fun because not only is coaster-nerdism not made fun of (as it often is in the ‘regular world’), it’s actively encouraged. It’s like an enthusiastic little family sharing experiences together.” Like any other conference, Coaster Con brings together those most passionate about the theme and topic behind the conference itself; in this case, it is theme park’s main attraction, roller coasters! When asked about the most recent Coaster Con event that was co-hosted by Six Flags St Louis and Holiday World, Dawayne Kimery of Coaster Nerds mentions, “Coaster Con 39 was a great opportunity to connect with friends, both old and new, and to enjoy some of the best coasters and rides middle America has to offer.” Anybody who attended a Coaster Con would likely note that he or she could travel to these same parks and ride these same roller coasters at any other time, but there’s just something really special about Coaster Con – even more special than other coaster-related events held throughout the year. The bonds and friendships formed during these ACE conferences last a lifetime. Ultimately, it could be looked upon as an annual pilgrimage for coaster lovers throughout the country and, in the case of people like Malcolm Burt, the world!
At first glance, Coaster Con may just seem like a group of ERT sessions on steroids. However, look a little closer, and you will find much more than that. If you love roller coasters, Coaster Con definitely needs to be on your bucket list!
[Image courtesy of American Coaster Enthusiasts.]