600 members from American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) attended the 40th anniversary Coaster Con at Busch Gardens Williamsburg this weekend. The convention took place June 17-June 22 and included three host parks: Six Flags America in Maryland, Kings Dominion in Richmond, and Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
Members of the group traveled from 31 states, D.C, Canada, England, Israel, and Chile.
Coaster Con returned to Busch Gardens this year as it was the home of the first convention in 1978. That first gathering was set to celebrate the opening of the Loch Ness Monster, which is now an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark. There were less than 60 people in attendance and five of those original members were said to be in attendance for the 40th anniversary of Coaster Con.
Attending a Coaster Con is not only listed in the book “100 Things To Do Before You Die” as a must-do, but being a member comes with other benefits including extended ride time before park opening and after closing. The weekend also holds behind the scenes coaster access, coaster related activities, presentations, and photo and video contests.
Busch Gardens was recognized by ACE this weekend as the birthplace of ACE Coaster Con with the presentation of a plaque from the organization. ACE is a non-profit organization with over 5,000 members worldwide who are, “dedicated to the preservation, promotion, appreciation and safe enjoyment of roller coasters.”