August 15, 2001
Conneaut Lake, PA -- If you think raising funds to help preserve a classic wooden roller coaster would be a challenge then try spending twelve consecutive hours riding it. That is what Kelly Petrachkoff and Roland Follot, organizers of the Blue Streak Challenge event at Conneaut Lake Park found out on Monday, July 30.
Early Monday morning the eight participants set foot on the Blue Streak to begin a riding marathon to raise funds to preserve this classic coaster.
Twelve hours later the eight completed this feat surviving 192 rides, while taking only a dozen short breaks for the bathroom or a meal. Even after all those hours on the coaster this diehard group could still be heard letting out a scream or yell as the train raced for one last time through the dark Pennsylvania woods.
Blue Streak coaster operators kept the spirits of the group high giving high-fives each time the train left the station. All participants agreed the event was a blast. Many came to the park to cheer the group on and some park guests even donated to the cause.
In the end Blue Streak Challenge participants received nearly $3,500 in pledges to help preserve the coaster. According to Petrachkoff and Follot, park management will put the funds in a special account exclusively for the maintenance and repair of the coaster.
The Blue Streak is a classic wooden roller coaster designed and built by Ed Vettel in 1937. The coaster features a traditional "out and back" layout and is one of the last of its kind. The ride has also been honored by the American Coaster Enthusiasts, earning the distinction of being called an "ACE Classic" for preserving the original ride experience.
Conneaut Lake Park is one of only a few surviving family oriented, traditional American amusement parks. Guest to the park can enjoy classic rides such as the Tumble Bug, Paratrooper and Ed Vettel's 1937 classic coaster, the Blue Streak. The park and the Blue Streak have provided thrills to thousands of guests over the years.
If you'd like to contribute to the Blue Streak Challenge you may still do so. Send your checks made payable to Conneaut Lake Park to:
Blue Streak Challenge
c/o Conneaut Lake Park
12382 Center Street
Conneaut Lake, PA 16316