Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Carowinds plans tall -- very tall -- new ride

If you're afraid of heights, you'll probably want to stay far, far away from WindSeeker -- the 30-story "swing ride" announced today and set to open at Carowinds amusement park next spring.

WindSeeker will boast a 301-foot tower, making it 69 feet taller than Intimidator, the big red coaster that cuts an imposing figure on the park's skyline.

The three-minute thrill ride is designed to give riders "the sensation of flying," and is described in Carowinds press materials: "The ride's carriage, featuring 32 two-passenger swings, slowly rotates while climbing to the top of a 301-foot tower. Riders will experience a sense of weightlessness as the swings reach speeds of up to 30 mph, and the arms extend outward at a 45-degree angle."

"The sense of soaring 30 stories in the air will be both exhilarating and breathtaking at the same time," said Bart Kinzel, Carowinds' vice president and general manager. "This new addition will give guests an unparalleled view, making it a must-ride attraction for both families and thrill-seekers alike. The immense scale of this ride alone will be truly stunning."

WindSeeker will be located near the entrance of Snoopy's Starlight Spectacular. Construction will begin this fall, and is expected to continue through the winter. The $6.5 million ride will have a 52-inch minimum height requirement and is being designed and manufactured by Mondial, a Dutch-based amusement-ride company.

This will be the third new major thrill ride to be built at Carowinds since 2009. Carolina Cobra was added that year at a cost of $4 million; Intimidator, with a price tag of $23 million, opened in 2010.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fantasia is pregnant with second child is reporting that singer Fantasia Barrino has finally confirmed rumors that she is expecting a child. The news was revealed during a concert Sunday.

"God has given me this child and I don't have to hide it from none of y'all," CNN quoted Barrino as saying to fans at the outdoor show in Jacksonville, Fla.

According to the story, the 2004 "American Idol" winner did not give a due date or identify the father. Her manager did not immediately respond to CNN requests for information.

Fantasia's career has been both a fairy tale and a cautionary tale. She grew up in poverty in High Point, was raped as a teenager and dropped out of high school having never learned to read. Then -- on the strength of powerhouse vocals but also her hard-luck story as a teenage mom -- she won "American Idol's" third season in 2004.

Her debut album was a success, and she landed a starring role on Broadway in "The Color Purple." But Fantasia had financial troubles practically from the get-go -- credit delinquency involving a $240,000 Mercedes, liens on her first house, unpaid fees on back taxes on her second.

More than 3-1/2 years passed between her second and third albums. Then, weeks before the release of her long-awaited comeback album last summer, the story of her romantic involvement with a married Charlotte man came out. The 26-year-old singer landed in CMC-Pineville days later, on Aug. 9, 2010, due to an overdose of aspirin and sleeping pills.

For the full story, click here.