Before Kings Island officially opened its turnstiles on April 29, 1972. Before the park’s Eiffel Tower construction had broken ground. Before the Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera welcomed its first families. There’s one date that might just be the most important in Kings Island history.
August 25, 1970.
It was on this day that Taft Broadcasting unofficially announced it would call its new amusement park project in Warren County, Ohio, “Kings Island”. The company announced the winning entry of a “Name the Park” contest held during July 1970 from more than 15,000 entries received.
Rebecca Richards of Carroll, Ohio, (about 30 minutes southeast of Columbus) submitted the winning entry. She won the grand prize – a free weeklong trip to Hollywood for up to four people. There were 25 runners-up in the contest, all submitting different names and all winning free tickets to Cincinnati’s Coney Island amusement park.
The amusement park’s name represented its historical roots and its future. “Kings” for the location of the park near Kings Mills, Ohio, and “Island” in reference to the company’s Coney Island roots.
It would not be until October 14, 1970 that the name would become official. According to news reports, Taft’s executives mulled the contest’s winning entry over for nearly five weeks before they decided they could not come up with a better name. One company representative suggested that they were searching for a name suitable for a series of similar, future parks in different parts of the country. The company would ultimately open or purchase seven other amusement parks, including Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia – the only other park with “Kings” in its name.
As Kings Island approaches its 50th Anniversary season in 2022, keep an eye on the Kings Island blog for more park history.
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