October 25, 2014

Zippin Pippin thrills 1 million

Elvis Presley’s favorite roller coaster has attracted its one-millionth rider in Green Bay, three years earlier than the city expected.

Ashley Jolley of Oswego, Illinois was about to board a replica of the Zippin Pippin at Bay Beach Park Sunday when she got surprised by Green Bay’s mayor. Jim Schmitt threw confetti and gave Jolley a gift basket. She then joined the mayor as the millionth rider on the Zippin Pippin.

Zippin was Elvis’s favorite ride when it operated for decades at a park in Memphis. Elvis died in 1977 and the park later shut down. A few years ago, Green Bay got the idea of reviving the Zippin Pippin as a tourist attraction.

The city spent $3.8 million on the replica – and they were expecting 200,000 people a year to ride it when it debuted in 2011. At the current pace, total ridership could be double the projected figure by 2016.