The Blue Streak Bash '97
The Conneaut Lake Blue Streak Rides Again!
On Saturday, May 17, 1997 the Conneaut Lake Blue Streak was reopened in grand style with a 'Dusk-to-Dawn' ride session for almost 400 coaster enthusiasts.
Deb and I arrived at the park Friday night and checked into the Hotel Conneaut to discover that the hotel is not heated - this set the tone for the events to follow. After spending the night shivering under the blankets from two beds, Saturday dawned to an overcast and windy 50 degrees. This did not bode well for an all-night ERT. We spend the afternoon up at Waldameer Park in Erie riding the Comet and catching up with some other coaster enthusiasts. We returned to Conneaut Lake in time to wander around the grounds before the festivities got under way. This wandering afforded some unprecendented views of the Blue Streak (for me) by wandering along the unused park railroad track. A lot of new wood was spotted, and the ride is in need of a lot of cosmetic repairs.
The official event got started with a wonderful catered dinner in the Starlight Ballroom. We knew we were in for something when dinner was served on china - no paper and plastic for this group. VIPs made some speeches, Marty Moltz made some bad jokes, and then it was time to head over to the Blue Streak for the real fun.
First was the unveiling of the restored NAD Century Flyer train (with working headlights). Truly a beautiful piece of machinery, and one of the most comfortable coaster trains to ride in. The first ride of the night went to various VIPs and the 4 enthusiasts who had travelled the furthest to the event, those from California. Next ride went to the press (those that chose to ride, that is). Next up was a wedding, with invited guests getting a ride. Finally, the Blue Streak was opened for business, and we got down to the business of riding.
My first ride of the evening was in the second to last seat, and I shot a bit of video (until the 3rd hill when things got out of control). The Blue Streak is indeed back from the dead, but it is still slow in waking up. The drops off those 3 famous hills are still potent, largely because speed is not required for their effectiveness. The rest of the ride was just sort of there. There's some good lateral slamming coming around the turnaround, but the return to the station is pretty weak. Perhaps with some time there will be increased speed that will enhance the return leg. The ride is pretty rough-and-tumble, with the backseat being pretty jarring. No Coney Cyclone, mind you, but enough so that only the initiated should repeat ride there. I managed to get 15 or so rides, most in the back seat. The front gives a bit of a pop on the crests of the first hills, but should get better as the ride breaks in.
Temperatures dropped into the 30s as the night progressed, but the crowd remained largely, well, large for most of it. Conneaut Lake had a refreshment stand open for most of the night, as well as a souvineer shop. I held out until about 2:30, when the line was still 20 minutes or so for a ride. I was plenty awake enough to continue, but the long wait of standing over and over again had taken its toll on my (very cold) feet.
Overall it was a great event, and I was thrilled to see the Blue Streak running again. It was my #2 wood coaster when it was running in '93 and a sentimental favorite. I will wait until later in the season to re-ride it and perhaps revise my ranking of it. It wouldn't be fair to rank it based on its first day awake after a 3 year slumber.
Blue Streak Bash Reviews
Old Reviews of Conneaut Lake Park and the Blue Streak
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