I have had the pleasure to work with a Cedar Point legend since I started back in the marketing office in 2013, and today is a momentous day. Carolyn Pankow (The original “CP,” as we call her) has put 40 YEARS of service and dedication into making Cedar Point what it is today, and we couldn’t be more grateful.
She’s held a variety of positions at the park over the years, but today, she’s retiring as our Group Sales Support Specialist. In fact, she’s had so much to do with ticketing over the past 40 years, if you’ve touched a ticket, she probably touched it first (figuratively, of course).
I had the chance to sit down with Carolyn this week to ask her some questions that I’ve always wanted to. Heck, it’s not that often you meet someone who was here long before the Dinosaurs (Alive!) and outlived them too.
Kristy Bacni: Tell me about your first year working at Cedar Point and what your job entailed?
Carolyn Pankow: I was hired in 1980 as a Group Sales Secretary. I was one of three, and we each had two sales representatives that we were responsible for. This was pre-technology so everything was manual. All the account information for each client was in a folder, and everything in that folder was typed on a typewriter. We did everything from making individual posters for all group sales clients to processing all the ticket requests. I was one of the youngest in the office - fresh out of high school.
KB: What do you remember about working in the park in the 1980s?
CP: Things were a lot different. The things I remember most were some of the events and off-season activities. We had power boat races in Sandusky Bay, fishing tournaments and of course the boat show. In the off-season, we went to a lot of travel shows and conventions. We worked with our public relations team to hand out brochures and talk about how amazing Cedar Point was (and still is). I even got to ride Magnum XL-200 before it opened to the public. My favorite part of the 80’s though was the Marketing volleyball team. We called ourselves The Banditos, and were always the best team tied with the Food & Beverage team.
KB: What was your favorite year or project you were a part of?
CP: HalloWeekends! Specifically, decorating during the event. When we launched HalloWeekends in 1997, each department was assigned to decorate a certain area of the park. We started the Dead Rock Cemetery which is still at Coasters Drive-In every year, but I have two favorites. When the screen was up in Celebration Plaza, we would show old monster movies each night so we got to decorate the midway with The Munsters, The Wolfman… we had quite a few characters out there. My other favorite decoration location was only around for the first few years, and it was called The Bone Beach. The Maintenance team would help us by hauling sand in the park near Magnum XL-200 and we made skeleton lifeguards, a kiddie pool and lots of skeleton beachgoers.
KB: What’s the biggest difference between now and when you first started?
CP: TECHNOLOGY. It’s made a huge difference. Everything we did was manual back in the day. We even had to hand-type labels. The contracts for Group Sales were on carbon paper, and we had a lot of printed pieces. A lot of what we do now is online.
KB: What are you going to miss the most?
CP: The people. You make such close connections with people, and they become family. I have spent as much time here as a do with my family at home. I’ll also miss driving over the Causeway each day and seeing the beautiful sunrises. There have been some beauties over the years.
KB: What’s your favorite memory?
CP: The nickname I got while working here. CP – everyone calls me CP, and I love having that connection with the park, CP (Cedar Point). I’ve been here 40 of the 150 years of Cedar Point. How many people can say that?
In her 40 years at Cedar Point, Carolyn has been instrumental in keeping Group Sales up and running. She has trained hundreds of summer associates over the years, many of which are still here or in the industry today, including myself. Her impact on the park and its team cannot be understated. We’re so sad to see her leave today but wish her nothing but amazing times in the next phase of her life.
From all of us at America’s Roller Coast, thank you, CP!