On June 28th, Venice comes to Coney Island when Luna Park operator CAI Parks stages a Venetian “carnevale” on the Boardwalk and in the new Steeplechase Plaza. A Zamperla-designed amusement ride inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci’s designs for flying machines is set to be part of the festivities along with Friday night fireworks. The event is part of “Italy in USA 2013,” a year-long showcase of Italian culture, including art, music, cinema, stage, design, fashion and food, organized by the Italian government “to promote Italy as a whole in both the cultural thematics and the economic features of the Italian Brand.” The series of events has the hashtag #2013italianyear on twitter.
“Antonio Zamperla S.p.A and Central Amusement International LLC (CAI) recreate the magical atmosphere of ‘Carnevale’ in Venice with masks, gondolieri, acrobats and street artists,” according to the calendar of events.
“There will also be a virtual tour of Venice throughout various eras called the Venice Imago Project in collaboration with Università Ca’ Foscari of Venezia where spectators can see the city and its works of art created by famous artists like Bellini, Giorgione, Tiepolo. The Boardwalk on Coney Island will be reminiscent of the Venetian streets during Carnevale with face painting activities for the children and contests for best Venetian masks.”
The Magic Bikes amusement ride pictured in the event calendar is Zamperla’s “Bici Da Vinci,” which was originally designed for Leonardo Land at Minitalia Leolandia. The Italian park was formerly owned in part by Zamperla, which is based in nearby Vicenza. “We came up with the story that we have found a secret book by Leonardo Da Vinci in which he designed an amusement park for the prince,” said Alberto Zamperla in an interview with Park World in 2009. “That is how we themed some of the rides.” The program listing for the Coney Island event says the Magic Bikes will be placed near the entrance to Luna Park. The ride is said to reproduce the design and the operating method of Leonardo Da Vinci’s studies of the flight of birds and his sketches for flying machines.
The new Steeplechase Plaza, where Zamperla won the contract to operate the historic B&B Carousell and light the landmark Parachute Jump, is scheduled to open on Memorial Day Weekend. The June 28th Venetian Carnevale will be six days after Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade, which is on June 22, the first Saturday of summer.
UPDATE 2:45 pm
Whoops! It turns out the info posted on the Italian Foreign Ministry’s Italy in USA 2013 event page is not completely accurate! According to an email from Luna Park online coordinator Rob Blatt: “Some of the information about the Venice in Coney Island event is incorrect on the Italy in the USA site. The actual event that was supposed to be on June 28 was moved to a different date, and will now be a private event, not something public.” It’s too bad a Venetian Carnevale in the People’s Playground, which sounds like a fun addition to Coney’s schedule, went from being a public to a private event. If you get an invite, let us know! (Update May 24th: The mystery private event was likely the Venetian Carnevale-themed, invitation-only party with masked dancers held at B&B Carousell on its opening day.) The good news is Leonardo’s Magic Bikes are still coming and will be one of the new rides in Luna Park along with Water-mania.
Related posts on ATZ…
March 31, 2013: Surf’s Up for CAI Foods in Coney Island, Sodexo Is Out
March 11, 2013: Luna Park’s Pinwheels Go Up on Coney Island Boardwalk
August 10, 2012: Steeplechase Plaza Under Construction in Coney Island
December 4, 2011: Brass Ring Dept: Coney Island “Carousell” RFP Up for Grabs