Carowinds readies to open ‘County Fair,’ updates classic attractions

The Carolina Cobra roller coaster will be renamed The Flying Cobras as part of the County Fair attraction at Carowinds.
The Carolina Cobra roller coaster will be renamed The Flying Cobras as part of the County Fair attraction at Carowinds. tkimball@heraldonline.com

Come one, come all to the County Fair opening next month at Carowinds.

Crews laid the foundations last week for the four new County Fair attractions, which are vintage rides the park purchased from Europe and Japan, said Steve Jackson, director of maintenance for the park. All of the rides were staples of county fairs.

Park officials held focus groups to decide which rides guests would like, said Laressa Thompson, public relations manager, during Thursday’s hard-hat tour of the park.

“It’s all about you telling us what you want,” she said.

The 3-acre addition harkens to earlier generations when families flocked to Carolina county fairs to ride the rides, eat festival food and watch daring air shows, Thompson said.

“You’ll be fully immersed in the Carolinas,” Thompson said.

The new rides are:

▪ Electro-Spin, which “sends riders through a freely rotating orbit through the air on its floorless gondolas.”

▪ The Zephyr, a “classic family swing ride” that rotates in a “wavelike motion.”

▪ The Rock ‘N’ Roller, a speedy circular ride that plays “high-energy tunes” with a light show.

▪ The Do-Si-Do, a “spiraling adventure” with three giant rotating arms that thrusts riders in different directions across the North and South Carolina state line.

The Carolina Cobra boomerang roller coaster is being annexed into the County Fair with a new paint job and a new theme, Thompson said. The ride will be renamed The Flying Cobras, which is reminiscent of air shows that were popular at some county fairs, she said.

The County Fair also will have festival food for sale, such as corn dogs, fried corn and chocolate-covered fun fries, Thompson said. Live entertainment also is part of the line-up.

Also new this year, the park will open Thanksgiving weekend through New Year’s Day for WinterFest, which will include holiday lights and decor, music and dancing, a 70-foot holiday tree and live reindeer, according to park officials.

Thompson said one of Carowinds’ classic rides is closing - Whitewater Falls. Guests would stand on a walkway at the base of the water attraction to get soaked by the giant wave, after a boat of passengers floated down the 45-foot waterfall. Plans for the ride or its replacement have not been announced.

Carowinds will open for the season on March 25.

Tracy Kimball: 803-329-4072