White-knuckle ride readying at Busch GardensA fearsome...

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March 15, 1992

White-knuckle ride readying at Busch Gardens

A fearsome, serpentine creature awaits visitors at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va., when the park's newest roller coaster opens next month.

Drachen Fire, based on the German word for dragon, is scheduled to be ready April 4, opening day of the 1992 season.

"Even the most avid roller coaster fan will find Drachen Fire to be a white-knuckled kind of experience," said Keith Kasen, Busch Gardens executive vice president and general manager.

Drachen Fire will be one of the biggest steel coasters in North America, standing 150 feet tall with 3,550 feet of track. British Columbia's capital city of Victoria is gearing up to hold its 10th annual TerrifVic Dixieland Jazz Party April 20-26.

The silver anniversary event will showcase 20 top Dixieland jazz ensembles from around the world, performing day and evening concerts at nine cabaret-style venues throughout the city.

For a free, color brochure on the jazz party, write to Tourism Victoria, 812 Wharf St., Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V8W IT3, or call (604) 382-2127. For accommodation reservations in Victoria, call (800) 663-3883. Playgoers visiting two of Canada's leading theatrical events, the Stratford Festival in Stratford and the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, can save on accommodations under a package plan called the Stratford and Shaw Midweek Getaway. The two festivals are about 100 miles apart in Ontario. Driving from one to the other takes about two hours, passing through Mennonite farm country, vineyards and orchards.

For $399, two people receive tickets to one performance at each festival and a hotel room with Continental breakfast for one night at each town. A couple could save up to $178, or 30 percent, off the regular cost of accommodations, but the usual saving will be between 10 percent and 15 percent, according to a spokeswoman for the Shaw Festival.

The package, valid from May 8 to Nov. 13, can be obtained by calling (416) 468-2172, (800) 724-2934 or (800) 567-1600. It is also available by writing to the Stratford Festival, Box 520, Stratford, Ontario N5A 6V2, Canada, or the Shaw Festival Theater, Box 774, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario L0S 1J0, Canada.

Cherry trees a-bloomin' In Macon

If cherry blossoms are your thing, the place to go is not only Washington, but Macon, Ga., the "Cherry Blossom Capital of the World." Macon boasts that it has almost 30 times the number of blossoms found in the capital.

Macon's tree-planting spree began only 40 years ago. Washington has had its trees since 1902. Back in 1952, the late William A. Fickling Sr. discovered a blossoming tree in Macon, which he later identified in Washington as a Yoshino cherry. He then started giving the trees to Macon residents, and now the city has more than 170,000 Yoshino cherry trees.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon, a time that coincides with both the blooming of the trees and Mr. Fickling's birthday March 23. The festival, March 20 though 29, will feature parades, house tours, food, music and entertainment. For information, write to Cherry Blossom Festival, 794 Cherry St., Macon, Ga. 31201; or telephone (912) 751-7429.

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