Exactly twenty years ago, a celebrity’s trip to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg did not go according to plan.
Amid excitement leading up to the possible 2020 construction of Busch Gardens’s new coaster along the Rhine River, long-time locals will remember there was one such launch that did not go as planned.
On March 30, 1999, Fabio Lanzoni, the famed model and romance novel staple, was invited to sit in the front row for the inaugural ride on Apollo’s Chariot, the park’s first “hypercoaster” — a roller coaster higher than 200 feet.
“The whole park was crazy that day,” remembers Nancy Carswell of Norge, who was working as a portrait artist in the New France section of Busch Gardens at the time. “There were all these young girls at the park. We were all excited to see his blonde flowing hair. That’s not really what we ended up seeing.”
Somewhere between the coaster’s platform and its peak, a collision occurred that would make national news. A Canada goose flew into the coaster’s path and crashed into the face of the park’s celebrity guest.
Fabio got “goosed.”
“For those of us who came of age in the late 1990s, it was our “Shot Heard ‘Round The World, our Day The Music Died,” wrote entertainment critic Dustin Krcatovich. “Fabio killed a goose in mid-air with his face.”
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article ran in April 2017, when wooden coaster InvadR first opened.
Nancy Carswell is a former employee of WYDaily’s parent company, Local Voice Media.