Patriot Gets an Opening Date, and more from CA Great America

Patriot Opening Shortly After Opening Day

California’s Great America’s new floorless conversion, Patriot (formerly Vortex), won’t quite be ready for opening day, but it’s not going to be too far behind. The park opens for the season this weekend on March 25, with Patriot opening to the public the following Saturday on April 1. Season pass holders will actually get to ride in the afternoon and evening of 3/31. To help celebrate the opening (and name) of the coaster, Great America is allowing free entry to all members of the military and vets, and offering them discount tickets for guests.

Patriot is opening on April 1 to the general public, with season pass previews the night before!

“Patriot will be an outstanding addition to our family of roller coasters,” said California’s Great America Vice President and General Manager Raul Rehnborg. “(and) We’re honored to provide active and past military service members free admission through Memorial Day weekend. They do so much for our country, and we’re happy to provide them fun family entertainment.”

The ride is the second floorless conversion in the Cedar Fair chain, following Mantis turning into Rougarou at Cedar Point back in 2015. This time the conversion happened to Vortex, Bollinger & Mabillards second ever coaster, a stand-up that opened in 1991. The ride had gotten rough with age, so it made a good conversion candidate to improve the experience in the space constrained park. The new coaster will have B&M’s floorless trains and received a striking new blue paint scheme.

What Else is New in 2017?

Along with the Patriot opening date, CGA also announced a few other new additions to the park for 2017 in terms of food, shows, and special events.

The biggest update in the food category for California’s Great America is probably that longtime fried chicken restaurant Maggie Brown’s is now adding some barbecue elements to the menu. The name is becoming Maggie’s Smokehouse & Fried Chicken, and they’re adding things like smoked tri-tip, roasted chicken, and seasonally ribs (I’m not sure what rib season is) to the menu to go with the fried chicken. Maggie Brown’s actually has some fun history, it was named after the wife of the man who essentially created Great America, Dave Brown, and it might actually use her fried chicken recipe (anyone know for sure?).

New smoked tritip sandwiches coming to Maggie Brown’s

The food festival food court is also adding some new options, “including crab sandwiches and lobster rolls for seafood lovers, burritos and tacos, clam chowder bread bowls and highly popular Boba tea drinks.”

On the live entertainment side of things, the park is adding an acrobatics show called Vertical Impact to the Great America Theater. Over at Theatre Royale, the “Great American Game Show” arrives, which I really hope is a trivia show about Great America history…

Finally, the park announced the Red, White, and Brews beer festival, which we talked about in our round-up of Cedar Fair food festivals, coming Memorial Day weekend. This joins the return of Taste of Orleans which debuted last year.

Great America is adding a second food festival this year with “Red, White, and Brews” on Memorial Day weekend (and the weekend afterwards)

Other seasonal festivals/events include returns of “Fiesta Hispana (Aug. 13), The Great Pumpkin Fest (weekends Sept. 30-Oct. 29), Halloween Haunt (FridaySunday, Sept. 22-Oct. 29) and WinterFest (select nights Nov. 24-Dec. 29).”

So, looks like that covers the full gamut of what’s coming to California’s Great America this year. More info on opening day can be found on the park site, and we’ll have more on Patriot when it opens. Let us know if you have any other questions about what’s coming to the park this year, and share with us if you’re excited for any of the festivals coming up in 2017!

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