SANDUSKY - Thirty years ago this week, Cedar Point was making headline news around the world.
On June 17, 1978, the Sandusky amusement park introduced the Gemini double-racing coaster, the tallest, fastest and steepest roller coaster in the world.
At the time, its dimensions were unbelievable. It is 125 feet tall and reaches speeds of 60 mph. It has a 118-foot drop and in 1978, its 55-degree angle of descent was steeper than any roller coaster in the world.
On Tuesday, guests will be able to sign a Gemini 30th Anniversary Banner to commemorate the occasion. The Gemini crew will also wear red or blue racing shirts while the top tunes of 1978 will be played at the ride.
Gemini's structure is made of about 600,000 board feet of unpainted Western Fir wood from Washington and Oregon. It uses nearly 4,000 feet of steel tubular track. It is Cedar Point's only racing coaster. The red and blue trains run side-by-side as they race along the figure-eight course that dips and turns for more than two minutes.
It cost $3.4 million to build.
On that historic day three decades ago, two of Gemini's first riders were then-Gov. James Rhodes and Cedar Point Chairman of the Board George Roose. The prestigious pair was greeted by the all-girl crew that worked the ride. Gemini's opening was delayed for more than a month because of the blizzard of January 1978 that stopped everything in its tracks in Northern Ohio.
Since opening, Gemini has been one of the most popular rides at Cedar Point giving more than 83.5 million rides in 30 years. In 2007, the double-racing coaster gave more 1.4 million rides.
The Gemini was the first of four Cedar Point roller coasters to hold the title as the "World's Tallest and Fastest Roller Coaster." Since then the park has introduced three other world-record-holders: the 205-foot-tall Magnum XL-200 (1989); Millennium Force (2000), a 310-foot-tall steel coasters that looms over Sandusky Bay and the 42-story Top Thrill Dragster (2003) that stands 420 feet tall and reaches speeds of 120 mph.
Known as the "Roller Coaster Capital of the World," Cedar Point has more rides and more roller coasters than any park in the world. Overall, it has 75 rides, including 17 roller coasters. Last summer, Cedar Point gave more than 32 million rides, including 16.4 million roller coaster rides.