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The Roller Coaster

The Giant Dipper, a historic wooden roller coaster, Santa Cruz, California

Roller Coaster Day

Aug 16

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"Life is like a roller coaster. You can either scream every time there is a bump or you can throw your hands up and enjoy the ride."

Are you a screamer or the hands up type? Originating from the 17th century "Russian Mountains", specially constructed hills of ice slides near Saint Petersburg, Russia,of up to 70-80 feet, roller coasters designs today are so extreme they are categorized into height drop levels: hypercoasters ( > 200 ft), gigacoasters (> 300 ft), and strata coasters ( > 400 ft). The tallest coaster in the world, the 456-foot tall (139 m) is Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey! It is launched by a hydraulic launch mechanism to 128 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds! 🎢

The Roller Coaster

Aug 16th is National Roller Coaster Day.

LaMarcus Adna Thompson obtained a patent regarding roller coasters on January 20, 1885, which were made out of wood, but this patent is considerably later than the 17th century "Russian mountains," the oldest type of roller coasters, which were specially constructed hills of ice, located especially around Saint Petersburg.

Some historians say the first roller coaster of the modern type was built under the orders of Russia's Catherine the Great in the Gardens of Oranienbaum in Saint Petersburg in the year 1784.  Other modern candidates include The Promenades Aeriennes in Parc Baujon and the Les Montagnes Russes à Belleville (The Russian Mountains of Belleville),  both constructed in Paris in 1817 and featured wheeled cars securely locked to the track, guide rails to keep them on course, and higher speeds.

The name Russian Mountains to designate a roller coaster is preserved in most Latin languages.  Ironically, the current Russian term for roller coasters is "американские горки" ("amerikanskiye gorki"), which means "American Mountains".

The Giant Dipper show above is a historic wooden roller coaster located at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, an amusement park in Santa Cruz, California. It took 47 days to build at a cost of $50,000. It opened on May 17, 1924, and replaced the Thompson's Scenic Railway.

In the early 1970s, the Giant Dipper became the last "classic roller coaster" still operating between Vancouver, British Columbia and San Diego, California from the golden age of Roller Coasters.

For a thrilling armchair ride on a roller coaster which holds many of the current records (including the greatest height and the longest drop), click the Vancouver Police Pipe Band 2014 to take a ride on Kingda Ka, a steel accelerator roller coaster located at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, United States. The actual ride starts at 0:45. ​

The Roller Coaster

Click the dance cribs or description below to link to a printable version of the dance!

The Roller Coaster

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WELCOME TO An Entertainment Site for Scottish Country Dancers - Enjoy the curated selection of theme-related dances for celebrations and holidays, or find a dance associated with a special calendar day, or EVEN your own birthday!  

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