Opinion: Goodbye, Firehawk

Lily Geiser | Staff Writer

Dear Kings Island:

We need to talk.

Listen, I’ve been visiting your theme park for as long as I can remember. When I was five, we were getting Gold Passes and riding the bumper cars and the Backyardigans swing ride. I’ve been with you through thick and thin, and you’ve changed. A lot. Remember when Invertigo was yellow? Remember when the Drop Tower was called the Drop Zone? Remember the Son of Beast? And now you’re changing again. But this time, I have some objections.

I know I probably can’t change your mind, but let me make one final case for Firehawk.

Firehawk is a popular ride. You said so yourself when you announced that it was closing. And that’s no small feat either. It’s tucked away, back in a little corner of the park I didn’t even know how to get to until just two years ago. If you want to ride the Firehawk, you have to really want to ride the Firehawk – not just aimlessly wander past it, like you can with Diamondback or Banshee. The fact that it retained any visitors at all is proof of how popular it is.

Firehawk isn’t your oldest ride either – it was only built in 2007. It’s younger than I am. You have many, many older rides that could be shut down instead if you really needed to cut costs. Invertigo was built in 1997. The Drop Tower was built in 1999. Adventure Express was built in 1991 – and no one rides Adventure Express. Maybe some of these rides are cheaper to keep up than Firehawk, but certainly Firehawk couldn’t be the most expensive. It seems like Drop Tower has to be closed two or three times a year for maintenance. Flight of Fear caught on fire in June 2014. Certainly a bit of extra upkeep is worth keeping on this unique ride.

And Firehawk is indeed a unique ride. It’s one of only two rides that has you facing the ground in your seat, and the second (Linus’ Launcher) is for kids, and doesn’t provide nearly the same experience. The first time I rode it, all I could do was stare at the ground as I raced by, thinking about how I would certainly fall to my death if the ride were to malfunction in any way.

And I loved it.

So Kings Island: I know that your mind is made up. I know that Firehawk is going to leave us. But please, never, ever forget the ride. And never forget what made it great.

lgeiser.chronicle@gmail.com