By Brady MacDonald
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
8:15 AM EDT, June 14, 2011
Knott's Berry Farm has tentatively penciled in a mid-July premiere for its new 301-foot-tall WindSeeker spinning swing ride after watching Memorial Day weekend and Fourth of July debuts slip out of reach.
Knott's recently topped off the new $5 million thrill ride, and crews are busy working on installing the electrical systems, with testing expected to begin in the next few weeks, officials said.
The Buena Park theme park got off to a late start on construction in January and watched the timeline get pushed back even further into the summer when a sister park experienced mechanical issues with an identical ride.
Canada's Wonderland in Ontario briefly opened its version of Windseeker in late May, only to shut the ride down almost immediately when the angled arms supporting the seats bounced too much. Shock-absorber-like dampers added to the arms helped mitigate the problem and allowed the ride to reopen late last week.
Cedar Point and Kings Island amusement parks in Ohio hope to open their versions of Windseeker in advance of Knott's. All the sister parks, owned by the Cedar Fair parent company, will mimic the changes made at Canada's Wonderland before opening their versions, officials said.
WindSeeker will carry 64 riders in twin-seat gondolas to the top of the tower, where the ride’s metal arms will extend out at a 45-degree angle and spin for one minute at 30 mph.
Knott's is hosting a one-minute home video contest to find an "adrenaline junkie" worthy of becoming the first rider on Windseeker.
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