Big­gest at­trac­tion

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES - Mike Master­son Mike Master­son is a long­time Arkansas jour­nal­ist. Email him at mmas­ter­son@arkansason­

There’s a mys­tery of sorts un­fold­ing amid the hills that em­brace Sil­ver Dol­lar City at Bran­son. I’ve learned the world­class theme park is on the verge of an­nounc­ing its “big­gest guest at­trac­tion ever.”

That kind of ver­bal em­broi­dery should ex­cite the in­ter­est and whet the ap­petites of ev­ery prospec­tive vis­i­tor.

So far, Lisa Rau, who di­rects pub­lic re­la­tions for Sil­ver Dol­lar City, has been coy about re­veal­ing de­tails. I can un­der­stand the sus­pense fac­tor and cu­rios­ity it gen­er­ates.

Still, it’s made me want to know what’s go­ing on. So I’ll plan on be­ing at the me­dia un­veil­ing of this an­tic­i­pated event on Aug. 16.

I do know this much. The ad­di­tion re­port­edly will pro­vide a “colos­sal world foot­print” never pre­vi­ously done any­where. “We prom­ise it is a game-changer for the theme park in­dus­try and by far the largest sin­gle in­vest­ment ever made at this theme park,” said Rau.

The at­trac­tion re­port­edly is de­signed specif­i­cally for the moun­tain­ous Ozarks and prom­ises sev­eral first (and only) at­tributes.

Rau wouldn’t con­firm my sus­pi­cion that Sil­ver Dol­lar’s ex­ist­ing Guin­ness-cel­e­brated roller coaster, Out­law Run, has some sig­nif­i­cance here, since it also orig­i­nally de­liv­ered an at­trac­tion never be­fore of­fered. My pow­ers of de­duc­tion tell me it makes sense to keep ahead of them­selves by sur­pass­ing pre­vi­ous ac­com­plish­ments, right?

First Drop Mag­a­zine pub­lisher Justin Gar­vanovic, founder of the Euro­pean Coaster Club, is very fa­mil­iar with Out­law Run and its im­pos­si­bly steep drop and dou­ble roll.

“Sil­ver Dol­lar City is a very spe­cial park, so any new ride needs to be spe­cial also,” he wrote me. “It doesn’t seem all that long ago they set the coaster world alight with Out­law Run. They are about to do it again with ? It’s a won­der­ful park that some­how man­ages to im­press me more with ev­ery visit; 2018 can­not come quickly enough.”

What­ever it is, a mega-ad­di­tion to the park also is bound to in­ter­est thou­sands across Arkansas.

“We have laser-fo­cus in­ter­est on your state,” Rau said. “We be­lieve we of­fer a great get­away for the fam­i­lies of Arkansas, and North­west Arkansas in par­tic­u­lar is the fastest grow­ing at­ten­dance mar­ket to Sil­ver Dol­lar City.”

She said park man­age­ment learned through fo­cus groups how many Arkansas res­i­dents don’t have a clear pic­ture of all that’s of­fered just over the state line. “Our chal­lenge is to en­sure we de­liver the full story not only of Sil­ver Dol­lar City, but the scope of Bran­son’s live en­ter­tain­ment and out­door beauty.”

Soon we all will have an an­swer to the lat­est mys­tery at Sil­ver Dol­lar City.

Bad news

I started just to forgo com­ment­ing on this story al­to­gether be­cause it clearly fell into the OMG! ap­proach of tabloids. And, af­ter all, this is a fam­ily news­pa­per.

Of course I must be talk­ing about that 49-year-old man from Siloam Springs ar­rested and charged with bes­tial­ity, crim­i­nal tres­pass and cru­elty to an­i­mals, al­legedly in­volv­ing a fam­ily’s pet fe­male don­key.

And po­lice say it was all cap­tured on video­tape. There’s a top-level “ick” rat­ing on life’s Re­pul­sive Me­ter if there ever was one.

Ev­erett Lee Comp­ton last week was sit­ting in the Ben­ton County jail be­ing held in lieu of $5,000 bond, says a news ac­count by Arkansas On­line re­porter Kally Patz and other na­tional and in­ter­na­tional me­dia out­lets.

As are all charged with crimes, Comp­ton will have his day in court on Sept. 11.

Take their sur­vey

Great news for Arkansans as thrilled as I’ve been over the un­be­liev­able job our state’s Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Qual­ity (wheeze) has been do­ing, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to vig­i­lantly safe­guard­ing the wel­fare of our pre­cious Buf­falo Na­tional River.

The agency is seek­ing the pub­lic’s opin­ion about its per­for­mance. My hope is you (and every­one you know) will in­vest a few min­utes to give it the feed­back it’s want­ing. I have.

The depart­ment should hear your hon­est views on how well it’s pro­tected the en­vi­ron­ment we share over the de­sires of po­lit­i­cal spe­cial in­ter­ests.

Here’s the link: ad­e­q­sur­vey.

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