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'Dark Knight' now 'glows in the park'

A float from the "Glow in the Park Parade," which is set to premiere at Six Flags New England in June. The new attraction takes the place of the "Dark Knight Indoor Roller Coaster," which will not open at the park due to delays in the building and permitting processes, according to park officials. Reminder Publications submitted photo
By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

AGAWAM Six Flags New England will not be spending $7.2 million this season to build the highly anticipated "Dark Knight Indoor Roller Coaster." Instead the park will pay significantly less money for a smaller, new attraction, the "Glow in the Park Parade."

Unable to meet the Memorial Day weekend building deadline because of numerous setbacks on the town and state level, park officials said they opted to open the ride in only two of the three proposed parks: Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey and Six Flags Great America in Illinois. Building Commissioner Domenic Urbinati halted the park's building of the ride in February when he discovered the structure was being constructed without the proper permits.

When asked if the "Glow in the Park Parade" was a "contingency plan" to attract park goers this season, Six Flags New England Park President Larry Litton said, "We always like to have options and we anticipated that the indoor coaster, being the first in New England, that we might run into challenges."

He explained that the coaster's parts and frame, which were constructed by building crews prior to the stop work order, will be dismantled and used at another park. Litton added that the land slated for "The Dark Knight" will be developed for a new attraction sometime in the future.

When asked how much new revenue the park anticipated generating due to the new ride and how much money the park lost in trying to build the coaster, Litton said it was against company policy to release financial information.

Despite the compliance issues with town building permits, Mayor Susan Dawson said she will "work with Six Flags to continue to develop a positive working relationship."

"We spoke at 8:40 this morning [April 15] and he [Litton] was very straight forward this was a business decision .there were just too many hurdles and it's not just the town but the Commonwealth," Dawson explained.

Melissa Pinkerton, public relations manager for Six Flags New England, said the focus for park officials will continue to be to provide park goers the best value for their dollar. She added that in addition to the park's daily afternoon parade, the "Glow in the Park Parade is a great added value."

Litton explained that the parade already running at Six Flags Mexico will feature numerous floats, puppets, acrobats and entertainers illuminated by neon lights and moved by music composed by Benoit Jutras of Cirque Du Soleil.

The parade was created by Gary Goddard, who has also produced numerous rides at Universal Theme Parks such as the "Amazing Adventures of Spiderman," "Star Trek: The Experience" and "Jurassic Park River Adventure."

Litton said this new attraction not only gives park goers an additional nighttime activity but also coincides with the company's mission to provide family friendly entertainment.

"We always want to be a more accessible, less expensive opportunity [for families]," he said.

Litton added that the parade is scheduled to debut sometime in June.

"The 'Glow in the Park Parade' has just as much appeal as 'The Dark Knight,'" he said. "This is something that both young and old will enjoy."