London/Bonn The gigantic “Munich Looping” is thrilling British visitors at the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. But perhaps not everybody has the nerve to climb aboard the ride, which is operated by a Bonn family with a long tradition in the fair industry.
No matter in which city it is set up, it is a magnet for spectators, a top attraction and a big sensation all at the same time. The “Olympia” loop-to-loop rollercoaster, which is operated by the Barth family of Bonn is always a crowd pleaser. Currently, it is set up in London’s Hyde Park and is captivating British fans of the Winter Wonderland amusement park.
The roller coaster, which is well known at many European fairs, makes its third appearance in the British capital. For the winter run in London, the Barth family always has to change the name of the rollercoaster. In England, it is known as "Munich Looping" for legal reasons. "The British regard the name "Olympia" as being protected by copyright," Michael Barth explained to GA on the phone. And how do visitors react to the “Munich Looping”? Barth, the sixth generation of a family in the amusement industry, says: "They are basically enthusiastic and want to try out the roller coaster. But there is a peculiarity. When there are only very few passengers on board, the visitors hesitate and think long and hard about whether they should dare go on it. The 20-year-old also noticed something quite British: Even if he has opened four ticket boxes, the British only line up where there is a queue of people. And "Whether it's raining or not, the passengers won't be stopped. In Germany the fair would be empty. The British are very special."
A ride on the 900-ton steel giant costs about ten euros per person. It’s a steep price because the transport and energy costs are very high. Numerous trucks were needed to transport it from the Rhineland to Calais, where it then went by ferry to Dover. After it arrived in London, ten employees spent ten days setting up the rollercoaster. It has been in operation there since the start of November and will remain until January 6. Then it will be taken apart and transported to Euskirchen for storage and maintenance.
In 2019, the family will have operated the five-loop rollercoaster for 30 years. When asked about plans for the coming year, Barth said they had not yet made a concrete decision, only that they would for sure be at the Octoberfest in Munich. A visit to Pützchens Markt in Bonn was not in the cards due to the scheduling conflict with the Octoberfest.
As for Barth and his holiday plans, he will fly back to Bonn to help his parents dismantle their mulled wine hut at the Bonn Christmas market, and he will spend Christmas with his family in Bonn. Then he flies back to London, where he will be over New Year’s Eve.
An aside note: German fair attractions enjoy a great reputation in Great Britain. At least two other fair rides or attractions are currently in Hyde Park: Bavarian Village and XXL-Maus, both from Hamburg companies. “The Germans have a lot to offer in this industry,” stressed Barth in a telephone interview with GA.
(Orig. text: Holger Willcke / Translation: ck)