144 Couples Wed on Six Flags Great America's New Thriller, Giant Drop

Mass wedding on 22-story freefall tower redefines 'Take the Plunge'

May 02, 1997, 01:00 ET from Six Flags Great America

    GURNEE, Ill., May 2 /PRNewswire/-- "Now, as you rise to the heights of
 your love..."  The somewhat corny litany intoned by the Rev.  Cliffert Herring
 could not have been more appropriate, as more than 100 sets of brides and
 grooms ascended 22 stories to the top of Giant Drop, Six Flags Great America's
 new freefall ride.
    "I now pronounce you husband and wife!"  Rev. Herring continued over the
 public address system, just seconds before the newlyweds plummeted toward
 earth at 62 mph in a breathless three-second drop.
     Six Flags Great America hosted the mass wedding ceremony today to
 celebrate the opening of Giant Drop, its new freefall tower.
     "Each year, we try to get the community involved in the opening of our new
 rides and attractions," said Six Flags Great America President Jim Wintrode.
 "We decided 'the Ultimate Plunge' was a perfect celebration for this new
     Giant Drop is a 227-foot freefall tower that uses state-of-the-art
 magnetic brakes to bring the cars gently to earth.  Up to 24 passengers at a
 time, in groups of four, sit in outward-facing seats, with their backs to the
 massive steel tower.  Riders sit in open-air seats with over-the-shoulder
 harnesses that leave legs dangling in space.  The seats are hoisted 20 stories
 to the top of the tower before the seats release and plunge toward the ground
 at 62 miles per hour.
     "Couples always want their weddings to be special," said Rev. Herring.  He
 should know -- the Allentown, Pa. minister has officiated at numerous
 marriages aboard roller coasters, and he is also a member of the American
 Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE), a group of roller coaster and thrill ride
 aficionados.  "For some people, leaping into married life together on a
 freefall ride is a perfect expression of their love!"
     The majority of the wedding ceremony occurred in the Park's 3,200-seat
 stunt show arena.  Then, the couples proceeded to Giant Drop, where they were
 pronounced married.  The event also included a grand wedding reception with
 cake and champagne, gifts, complimentary wedding photographs, and exclusive
 use of the rides, games and attractions in the Southwest Territory, the
 Southwestern themed area in which Giant Drop is located.
     Brides and grooms from 12 Midwestern markets -- including Indianapolis,
 Grand Rapids, Milwaukee and Chicago -- were selected by radio stations to
 participate in the giant nuptials.
     Six Flags Great America is located midway between Chicago and Milwaukee on
 I-94.  The Park opened for its 22nd season on April 26, 1997.

SOURCE Six Flags Great America