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Melissa Topey • May 1, 2013 at 8:28 AM

As they gear up for opening day, Cedar Point’s planners have teamed up with United Way of Erie County and Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital to raise money for charity.  

When the park opens for its 144th season on May 11, it will unveil GateKeeper, a record-breaking wing coaster that promises to forever change the appearance of the front entrance.   

Want to bid? 

*To bid for a GateKeeper ride through the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, go to www.cedarpoint.com/carouselsforkids.

*To bid for a ride through the United Way of Erie County, go to www.uwerieco.org.Organizers are hoping to raise money for charity through a bidding war, in which the winners can claim rights to the first rides on GateKeeper.   

“The teams here at Cedar Point, the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital and United Way of Erie County share many of the same values and are family-focused,” said John Hildebrandt, Cedar Point’s manager. “It just made perfect sense for our three organizations to come together to help those who need it the most.” 

Cedar Point awarded the United Way and Cleveland Clinic access to the first two GateKeeper trains that roll out of the station on May 11.   

Each train has 32 seats, which means 64 people can secure their places in history — if they post the highest bids.     

Bidding remains open until 9 p.m. Monday. Winning bidders will receive complimentary admission and early entry into Cedar Point on opening day, as well as being treated to breakfast and special souvenirs, including a T-shirt, a medallion and a photo of them on the ride.

As of Tuesday, the United Way of Erie County train still had 11 of 32 seats available for an initial bid. The minimum starting bid for each seat on the United Way train is $100, said Pamela Brumbaugh, executive director of United Way of Erie County. 

The United Way will use the money to further its support of several area organizations, including Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Salvation Army and Red Cross disaster services.

The Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital plans to use its proceeds to supports its many programs. 

Every seat on the Cleveland Clinic train has been bid upon, with the lowest bid coming in at $250. Hopeful riders can still up the ante for a few more days. 

“Our ultimate goal is to return kids to fun, and Cedar Point is the ideal partner because fun is their foundation,” said Dr. Giovanni Piedimonte, chair of Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital. “This campaign allows every single person the chance to help our patients and have fun in the process.” 


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