From the Sandusky Register

SANDUSKY

Cedar Point officials racing to complete WindSeeker have a new deadline.

They want to have it ready for a charity event May 13 to benefit the American Red Cross.

The park opens for the season May 14.

Last year’s new ride, Shoot the Rapids, opened several weeks late.

John Hildebrandt, Cedar Point’s general manager, said he’s confident this year’s big new ride will open on time.

Asked earlier this week if WindSeeker will be ready, he laughed, paused a moment, then said, “I’m confident we’ll have the ride on opening day.”

The 301-foot-tall tower to which the ride’s swings will be attached has been completed.

Every year, Cedar Point debuts its new attraction with a charity event to benefit the Firelands Chapter of the American Red Cross.

In the past, the Red Cross auctioned the seats. This year, in a change of format, the Red Cross will admit anyone willing to pay the $100 fee to be among the first riders. There will be a $50 fee for people who want to attend the event but aren’t going to ride.

Ron Rude, executive director of the Firelands Red Cross, said the nature of the ride prompted the Red Cross to try a new approach.

Thrill seekers riding a roller coaster or a similar ride are willing to bid to be in the front seats, a roller coaster’s most thrilling location. WindSeeker riders, however, whirl around in swings. There’s no front row.

“We knew there were 64 seats on the new ride. And there isn’t any front seat,” he said. “So we decided rather than have competition for the first couple of seats in the train, like we normally do, we hope that more than 64 people would like to join the party at Pink’s and ride on WindSeeker.”

The price of admission for the event includes hot dogs at Pink’s, the new gourmet hot dog stand at Cedar Point, a preview performance of “Tropical Heat, Island Beat” at the Red Garter Saloon, a commemorative medallion, a certificate of participation, a drawing for special prizes and free parking.