Celebrating 90 Years on the Giant Dipper

Classic Wooden Roller Coaster opened May 17, 1924

SANTA CRUZ, CA (May 1, 2014) – The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s signature ride, the Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster will celebrate 90 years of operation on May 17, 2014. The National Historic Landmark has operated continuously in the same location since it opened on May 17, 1924. The National Amusement Park Historical Association lists the Boardwalk’s Giant Dipper as the oldest roller coaster in California, the 5th oldest in the country, and the 9th oldest roller coaster in the world.
 
In celebration of the Dipper’s 90th anniversary, the Boardwalk will offer one hour of free Giant Dipper rides, from 10am to 11am on Saturday, May 17. Riders must be at least 50 inches tall.  In addition, starting at 11am, the first 500 riders will receive a Giant Dipper 90th Anniversary Pin. Other prizes will be given out to select trainloads of riders every hour, from 11am to 8pm.
 
The Dipper’s 90th Anniversary falls on the same day as the Boardwalk’s Season Kick-Off.  Special events on May 17 include a preview of Street Drum Corp’s new summer show – Lost at Sea at 1:00pm, and a free beach concert by Y&T at 5:30pm, both on the Beach Bandstand.
 
Later this month, local organic brewery, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing will release a new beer in celebration of the Giant Dipper’s big anniversary. Giant DIPA is an “adventurous Double IPA” which will be available through Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing’s normal retail outlets as well as some Boardwalk food concessions. This is the fourth year the brewery has partnered with the Boardwalk to create a custom brew honoring Boardwalk history.
 
American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) will visit the Boardwalk to ride the Giant Dipper and take a peek behind the scenes on June 19 during Coaster Con XXXVII.

The Giant Dipper was designed by Frank Prior and Frederick Church and built by Arthur Looff. Looff’s love of amusement rides may have been hereditary.  In 1911, his father, Charles Looff delivered his hand-carved carousel and a German band organ to the Boardwalk. The Looff family’s rides made history in June of 1987 when both the Giant Dipper and the Looff Carousel were designated National Historic Landmarks by the U.S. National Park Service.

The Giant Dipper was built in just 47 days at a cost of $50,000.  The fare started at 15 cents in 1924; today it costs $6.00. When the Dipper received a fresh coat of paint last fall,  painters used over 4500 gallons of paint and primer to cover an estimated 327,000 board feet of lumber. The 2013 project cost nearly $300,000, six times the original cost to build the ride in 1924.
 
For more information about the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s Giant Dipper, please visit
http://beachboardwalk.com/giantdipper/
http://news.beachboardwalk.com/press-kit/giant-dipper-fun-facts - .U2AWsetdC9s
 
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