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Carowinds is adding another roller coaster. It will be fast.

Carowinds is adding another world class roller coaster. And it’ll be fast.

Copperhead Strike will be the Carolinas’ first double-launch roller coaster. It will stretch more than half a mile.

“The cornerstone of our 2019 investment includes another world class thrill ride,” said John Taylor, vice president of marketing and sales at Carowinds.

Copperhead Strike will take riders to more than 40 mph in 2.5 seconds. The entire ride runs 2 minues, 24 seconds. It has five inversions, more than any double launch coaster in North America.

The coaster comes in a new 7-acre, country-themed area to include Blue Ridge Country Kitchen, with farm fresh foods “inspired by the mountains of the Carolinas,” Taylor said. It’s part of an effort in recent years to offer quality, fresh food at the park.

“Carowinds has dramatically elevated the profile of its food,” Taylor said.

Also new for 2019 is a 130-suite hotel.

“Next year we’re taking our concept of destination a step further,” said Pat Jones, general manager.

Hundreds gathered in Harmony Hall on Thursday for the announcement. Carowinds billed Thursday’s announcement in recent weeks as the biggest in park history.

Located on the South Carolina-North Carolina state line, between Fort Mill and Charlotte, Carowinds opened in 1973. It’s had several ownership changes since, but now operates through Cedar Fair Entertainment Co.

Carowinds typically adds at least a few features each year. This season the park transformed its kids area into Camp Snoopy with six more attractions. Last year WinterFest added hours to the park schedule during the holiday season and vintage rides created a county fair style area. In 2016 the park opened its 25-acre Carolina Harbor water park. In 2015 Carowinds opened the tallest, fastest giga coaster in the world with Fury 325, which followed the opening of Harmony Hall in 2014.

This past winter Carowinds announced it would operate a new hotel, one of several in the Carowinds area. The SpringHill Suites Charlotte at Carowinds will be a five-story construction on the North Carolina side of the park. It’s set for a 2019 opening.

Carowinds has 13 roller coasters, more than 60 rides, Carolina Harbor, on-site camping at Camp Wilderness Resort. It’s also open several seasons, including Scarowinds during the fall and WinterFest later in the year.

Online speculation ran rampant ahead of Thursday’s announcements, from park fans to a roller coaster fan and news website. Carowinds had been teasing the announcement for some time.

Carowinds still has more for this season, including two new scare areas at Scarowinds. One will have a pirate theme. WinterFest will have a nightly tree lighting ceremony, ice skating and more. A New Year’s Eve party will be held too.

Check back for more.

John Marks: jmarks@fortmilltimes.com; @JohnFMTimes
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