Pacific Park kicks-off Special Olympics Summer Games with sea arrival of the Law Enforcement Torch and official lighting of stationary flame and Ferris wheel

Each Law Enforcement and Emergency Personnel to receive four free passes on special night; all others to get discounted $10 unlimited ride wristbands with net proceeds going to Special Olympics

Pacific Park to host Media Day with Special Olympics Southern California athletes during event

SANTA MONICA, Calif., (June 1, 2010) --- In true Olympic spirit, Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier will light up its Ferris wheel with a flame pattern and ignite a stationary torch atop the Ferris wheel hub for four days beginning Thursday, June 10 at approximately 5 p.m. to officially kick-off the Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) Summer Games.

The Olympic-style torch will depart the Malibu Pier to complete one of the last legs of its run aboard a U.S. Coast Guard boat and arrive at the Santa Monica Pier where it will be passed to Santa Monica Police Sergeant Mike Bratten and a Special Olympics athlete. The runners will proceed down the Santa Monica Pier with the torch to Pacific Park where Sergeant Bratten will be transported to the Ferris wheel’s center hub and ignite a specially designed torch to be lit for the duration of the Summer Games. Following the torch ceremony, the Ferris wheel lighting will change to a flame pattern that will be continuously illuminated throughout the Summer Games being held June 12 and 13 at California State University, Long Beach.

Pacific Park will also host an official appreciation party for all law enforcement and fire personnel from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. During that period, each emergency response member that presents their badge or acceptable identification will receive up to four free tickets for unlimited rides throughout Pacific Park. Also any non-emergency response guests may purchase an unlimited ride pass for $10. Pacific Park will donate the net proceeds to SOSC.

“Our goal is to help raise funds and awareness for this year’s Summer Games in a non-traditional manner,” says Jeff Klocke, director of marketing and sales at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier. “Special Olympics athletes are unique individuals and we can only hope that our display of support can match their passion for the games and commitment to excellence.”

Throughout this year’s Summer Games, Pacific Park will also host a booth to distribute up to 2,000 unlimited ride wristbands as an official “thank you” to coaches who participate in this year’s Summer Games.

“Pacific Park’s overall dedication to Special Olympics Southern California is beyond the scope of simply wanting to lend a helping hand,” said Bill Shumard, President and CEO of Special Olympics Southern California. “From the use of their venue on the Santa Monica Pier to their team’s feet on the ground at the Summer Games, it’s partners like Pacific Park that provide us with the ability to make dreams a reality for so many people with intellectual disabilities.”

In addition, Pacific Park will host Media Day from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. with Special Olympics athletes during the torch arrival and emergency personnel appreciation event. Several of the athletes competing in the Summer Games will be available for interviews, photographs and one-on-one competitions with media members based on amusement park games relating to their sport.

Athletes and volunteers travel from all over Southern California to participate in the annual Summer Games, which is the largest Special Olympics Southern California sports competition of the year with more than 1,100 athletes competing in aquatics, athletics (track & field), basketball, bocce, golf, and gymnastics. An expected 6,000 people will attend the games throughout the weekend. For more information about the Summer Games, visit www.sosc.org/summergames.

About Special Olympics Southern California: Special Olympics offers year round training and competition opportunities in 12 Olympic type sports for people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics is free for our athletes and their families due to our committed volunteers and generous support from individuals, community groups and corporate sponsors including Mission Partners KTLA, Law Enforcement Torch Run, Summit Entertainment, Toyota, Walmart and The Vons Foundation. To see how you can become involved, visit www.sosc.org.  
 
About Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier: Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, LA’s only admission free amusement park, offers 12 amusement rides, 21 midway games and an oceanfront food plaza. Signature rides include the Pacific Wheel, the world’s first solar-powered Ferris wheel and The West Coaster, a steel roller coaster that races 55 feet above the Santa Monica Bay. For additional information and hours of operation, call 310-260-8744 or visit www.pacpark.com

Media Contacts

Cameron Andrews, Pier Communications, 562-432-5300

Kim Pine, Special Olympics Southern California, 562-354-2611

Andy Perez, Special Olympics Southern California PR Advisory Committee, 323-654-0433

Created by the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation. Authorized and Accredited by
Special Olympics, Inc. for the Benefit of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities.

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