Monday, July 2, 2012

Scott and Carol Present - A 45th Anniversary Celebration at Six Flags Over Georgia

Six Flags Over Georgia opened to the public for the first time on June 16, 1967 with six themed sections. The sections were Georgia, Britain, Confederate, Spanish, French, and U.S.A. With approximately a dozen rides and attractions, Six Flags Over Georgia opened as the first regional them park in the Southeast. Throughout the past 45 years things have changed inside the park, as now it has eleven roller coasters alone and numerous other rides and attractions. Melinda Ashcraft, Park President has many memories from the park. Ashcraft has been with Six Flags for 45 years herself, beginning at Six Flags Over Georgia in October of the opening year. Ashcraft said, “My first position was on the Jean Ribaut’s Adventure river boat ride, giving guests a dose of fun Georgia history as the rode through the channel and under the train tracks. I still have a carbon copy typed spiel that I had when I originally started.” The riverboats were replaced in 1981 by Thunder River, but the bamboo that originally was planted for the river boat ride is still watching the Thunder River rafts float by. Comedian Jeff Foxworthy stopped by the park to add to the excitement of the 45th anniversary festivities. Foxworthy said, “My first job was here at Six Flags Over Georgia. My best friend and I wanted to work the Log Jamboree; we had this vision of an entire summer of wet T-shirt nights. He ended up scooping M & M, while I sewed names on sailor hats in Lickskillet.” “Unfortunately, no girls ever talk to the boys embroidering the names on the hats. I practiced for 2 weeks with a sheet of common names. My first customer was for a gentleman’s daughter whose name was unlike any of the names I had practiced on, but I struggled through it. The best part of my working here was I met my wife, Paula Gregg, and we have been married for thirty years.” The park provided free cupcakes for guests after the ceremony. A juggler and stilt walker completed the entertainment lineup. Park President Melinda Ashcroft said, “We still have the same core values. We want our guests to have a clean, safe, fun, and exciting day. The most thrilling place to be is in a park with all the latest attractions and that’s what we try to do every year, whether it’s a show, attraction, or a ride. One of the things that has remained the same is the landscaping and the fact that we always want to have great guest services at Six Flags.” This year Six Flags Over Georgia is premiering iLuminate in the Crystal Pistol. This incredible show uses electroluminescent wire on the performers’ costumes and advanced choreography to produce stunning visual effects. As the costumes turn on and off, fog and strobes are utilized, and the whole effect is very surreal. Congratulations to the park for thinking outside the box for this show, it is definitely worth seeing.
Ashcraft said, “The biggest difference today is the ride technology, unbelievably so, because we’ve been open 45 years, and we have grown a lot. A good coaster, an example of this is Goliath, our tallest roller coaster! I just love what I do. I never dreamed that I would have a career of this magnitude in terms of 45 years. My biggest honor was to be able to come back to Six Flags Over Georgia as the Park President after working here as a 16-year-old.” Six Flags Over Georgia had one last event to commemorate their 45th anniversary celebration. At nightfall, the skies were filled with fireworks behind SUPERMAN:Ultimate Flight. It was quite a nice display to end a wonderful day of celebration. Although the cupcakes are now gone and Jeff Foxworthy is on tour somewhere else, guests are still enjoying a day of fun and excitement at the 45-year old theme park. Raise your favorite souvenir in anticipation of another 45 years of fun at Six Flags over Georgia.