GREEN BAY - The Zippin Pippin roller coaster stayed open an extra two hours on Wednesday night in honor of Elvis Presley.
August 8th marks the 35th anniversary of Elvis' last ride on the Zippin Pippin. The ride was located in Memphis at the time. Elvis' last ride on the Pippin came just eight days before he died.
"To remember Elvis is a wonderful thing, because Elvis came into a lot of people's hearts," said Kathy Saunier of Menominee, Michigan.
The night rides on the Zippin Pippin was part of the Hunka Hunka Burning Lights Night at Bay Beach. While the roller coaster was the main attraction, people could also have sideburns painted on, answer Elvis trivia and eat his favorite food, peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
"We are bringing some of that nostalgia, some of the famous pieces of what the Zippin Pippin is all about and just kind of keeping the tradition going," said James Anderson, recreation supervisor for Green Bay.
So far, bringing the ride to Green Bay has been a hit. In its debut last summer, the Pippin helped bring in an additional $900,000 in revenue compared to the year before. As of the end of July, ridership this year is about 500 riders off the pace from last summer.
"It's still exciting and people are still attending it, it's going well," said Anderson.
Events like Elvis night are also a help in attracting people who otherwise wouldn't ever venture onto the ride.
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