Kings Island is celebrating its 50th anniversary season this year by making a major change to one of its most popular rides. The Racer roller-coaster, one of the most famous coasters in the country, is being renovated and repainted for the first time in 31 years. The Mason, Ohio theme park will start its 50th anniversary season on April 15 for pass holders and April 16 for all guests.
The Racer will return to its original red, white, and blue colors, park officials announced last week, reports WHIO. This is the first time the coaster will be fully repainted since 1991 when it was changed to black and white. The famous coaster features two coaster tracks running at the same time and was one of the original rides at the park. Since it opened in 1971, over 107 million guests have ridden The Racer.
Kings Island is also planning to restore the 96-year-old Grand Carousel. The carousel was brought to Cincinnati's Coney Island park in 1926 for $201,000 and it survived the 1937 Great Flood. The ride was brought to Kings Island when the park opened and most of its original wooden horses are still in use. Kings Island hired All Around Carousels, LTD to do a full restoration of the carousel to make it look brand new.
Kings Island opened in April 1972, so the 2022 season will be full of events to mark the 50th anniversary. The "Golden Celebration" will start on May 28, with entertainment to celebrate milestones in the park's history. Independence Day fireworks are scheduled for July 3. Halloween Haunt, Tricks and Treats Fall Fest, WinterFest, and other popular events will be back as well, reports Cincinnati.com. Soak City Water Park Opening Weekend is also set for May 28-29. The park is also asking fans to submit photos, videos, and memories from their visits to the park in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s at their website.
The Racer was one of the rides featured in an episode of The Brady Bunch, titled "The Cincinnati Kids." Barry Williams, Susan Olsen, and Mike Lookinland all visited Kings Island in 2008 and 2013 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the episode. They visited again in 2013, with Christopher Knight joining them for the 40th anniversary.
Kings Island is owned and operated by Cedar Fair, the same company that operates Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California; Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio; Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia; and California's Great America in Santa Clara, California. Kings Island is also home to The Beast, which still holds the record for the longest wooden roller coaster in the world.