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Carowinds Logo (2014)
|Slogan||"Where the Carolinas come together" "Thrill Capital of the Southeast"|
|Location||Charlotte, North Carolina, Fort Mill, South Carolina, United States|
|Owner||Cedar Fair Entertainment Company|
|General Manager||Pat Jones|
|Opened||March 31, 1973|
|Previous names||Paramount's Carowinds (1993 - 2006), Carowinds (1973 - 1992)|
|Operating season||Late March — December|
|Visitors per annum||2,000,000 in 2015|
|Area||398 acres (1.61 km2)|
Carowinds is a 398-acre (161 ha) amusement park, located adjacent to Interstate 77 on the border between North and South Carolina, in Charlotte and Fort Mill, respectively. The park opened on March 31, 1973, at a cost of $70 million. This was the result of a four-year planning period spearheaded by Charlotte businessman Earl Patterson Hall, who was inspired to build the park by a 1956 trip to Disneyland and a dream of bringing the two states closer together. Owned and operated by Cedar Fair, Carowinds also features a 20-acre (81,000 m2) water park, Carolina Harbor, which is included with park admission. The park has a Halloween event called SCarowinds.
- 1 History
- 2 Themed areas and attractions
- 3 Fast Lane
- 4 SCarowinds
- 5 Carowinds Festival of Music
- 6 Timeline
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The Carowinds theme park was originally envisioned as a component of a large resort which would include hotels, a shopping center, a golf course, and an NFL stadium. However, attendance at Carowinds was curtailed by the 1973 oil crisis, and plans for the proposed resort were put on hold. Hall and the other stockholders of the Carowinds Corporation continued to operate the theme park through 1974, though sagging attendance and mounting debt forced the company to sell to Taft Broadcasting in early 1975. The park was purchased by Paramount Communications in 1993 and joined the Paramount Parks family. Ownership had transferred from Family Leisure Centers – a joint venture between Taft and Top Value Enterprises) – to Kings Entertainment Company, which in turn was acquired by Paramount. The park was renamed Paramount's Carowinds in 1993 and later became an asset of Viacom following its acquisition of Paramount in 1994.
The name "Carowinds" was derived from the park's original theme of the history and culture of the Carolinas, and is a portmanteau of "Carolina" and "winds", in reference to the winds that blow across the two states. Carowinds opens in late March each year and closes in early November, after the park's Halloween event, "SCarowinds." In 2005, a portion of the park reopened during December for the Winterfest Christmas festival. However, the park did not repeat the event in 2006, citing poor attendance. A similar decision was made regarding Kings Island's Winterfest.
Sale to Cedar Fair
On January 27, 2006, the Dayton Daily News reported that CBS Corporation (which split from Viacom at the end of 2005) would be selling Paramount's Carowinds and other parks in its Paramount Parks division.
Although Cedar Fair continued to use the Paramount's Carowinds name through the remainder of the 2006 season, it began to phase out the Paramount name in press releases, the park website, and on signage within the park. In January 2007, a new logo featuring the Cedar Fair icon but lacking the "Paramount" name, was revealed on the park website. The new logo featured the trademark Cedar Fair flags, flying on the letter "I" on the Carowinds name. The other four Paramount-branded parks that Cedar Fair acquired all received similar changes. The "Paramount" name was dropped from all of the parks after the 2006 season.
Cedar Fair era
On August 26, 2013, Cedar Fair announced a $50-million investment plan to expand Carowinds over three years starting in 2014. The expansion will include a $30-million roller coaster, a $2.5-million water slide, a $7-million food complex, and $4 million to improve the park's ticket booths and front areas.
On August 21, 2014 Carowinds announced the addition of Fury 325 for the 2015 season. Designed by Bolliger & Mabillard, the ride is the fifth-tallest roller coaster in the world, after its debut in the spring of 2015 as another component of the park's previously announced "top-to-bottom" expansion program. A new front entrance, replacing the original North Gate entrance of the park, also opened along with Fury 325 for the 2015 season.
On August 27, 2015, Carowinds announced that the water park known formally as Boomerang Bay will be expanded and renamed Carolina Harbor in 2016. The Australian theme will be removed and replaced with a Carolina harbor theme. The expansion includes a new six-slide complex, a new wave pool, and several new splash areas for kids.
On August 18, 2016, Carowinds announced they would be expanding County Fair with the addition of 4 new rides: Electro-Spin(a mondial top scan), Zephyr(A Zierer Wave Swinger), Rock N Roller(A Mack Rides Music Express), and Do-Si-Do(a HUSS Troika.) Carowinds also announced that Carolina Cobra would be refurbished and renamed "The Flying Cobras". They also announced that the Wings restaurant would receive various upgrades.
Carowinds also announced that for next season, families would be able to ring in the holidays with the return of Winterfest.
Themed areas and attractions
The rides at Carowinds are based loosely around eight themed areas.
|Carolina Skytower||1973||Intamin||A 262-foot (80 m) tall Gyro tower that gives guests a view of Carowinds and Charlotte. It was originally sponsored by and branded as the Eastern Airlines Skytower. It is turned into a Christmas tree of lights during the holiday season.||2|
|Intimidator||2010||Bolliger & Mabillard||A steel hypercoaster inspired by the famous stock car racing driver Dale Earnhardt. The 232-foot-tall (71 m) roller coaster travels up to 75 mph (121 km/h).||5|
|Nighthawk||2004||Vekoma||A Vekoma Flying Dutchman coaster. The coaster operated as Stealth at California's Great America before being installed at Carowinds. When moved to Carowinds, it was known as Borg Assimilator (2004–2007) and was themed after the Borg character from the television show Star Trek: The Next Generation. The theming was removed when Cedar Fair acquired the park, and the ride was renamed Nighthawk.||5|
|RipCord||1995||Skycoaster, Inc.||A skycoaster formally known as Xtreme SkyFlyer. This ride is an upcharge ride. Guest must pay an additional fee to ride.||5|
|Rip Roarin' Rapids||1982||Kings Island Entertainment Company||A river rafting water ride.||3|
|Action Theater||1994||Iwerks Entertainment, Inc||2016: Home of Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 3Z Arena. A 3D intra-active experienced developed by PopCap Games, Electronic Arts, and Alterface Projects, puts 2 teams against each other in a 5-minute backyard battle, where they'll shoot screens with blasters and track their scores as they go.||2|
|Afterburn||1999||Bolliger & Mabillard||An inverted roller coaster featuring 6 inversions. Formerly named Top Gun: The Jet Coaster (1999–2007).||5|
|Dodg’ems||Majestic Rides||A classic bumper cars attraction.||3|
|Southern Star||1986||Intamin||A Looping Starship thrill ride. Formerly known as Frenzoid.||4|
|Yo Yo||2008||Chance Morgan||A swing ride that currently occupies the spot where Whirling Dervish, the park's original Wave Swinger, was located. It was relocated from Geauga Lake.||3|
|Boo Blasters on Boo Hill||2010||Sally Corporation||An interactive dark ride where guests shoot at targets to collect points. Originally, the building was a theater that housed a variety of shows. It was previously known as Scooby-Doo's Haunted Mansion from 2001 to 2009.||2|
|WindSeeker||2012||Mondial||A 301-foot (92 m) tower swinger ride that spins to music and a light show. It was the tallest ride ever built at Carowinds.||4|
|Carolina Cyclone||1980||Arrow Dynamics||A steel roller coaster featuring two vertical loops and two corkscrews. It was the first roller coaster to feature four inversions.||5|
|Carolina Goldrusher||1973||Arrow Dynamics||A steel roller coaster. It was the first roller coaster at Carowinds and is only one of three original rides still operating.||4|
|Ricochet||2002||Mack Rides||A steel wild mouse roller coaster.||4|
|The Scrambler||1973||Eli Bridge||A classic Twist ride. It was originally named Kaleidoscope.||3|
|Vortex||1992||Bolliger & Mabillard||A steel stand-up roller coaster. It was the South's first stand up roller coaster.||5|
|SlingShot||2015||Funtime||A Sling Shot ride that catapults riders nearly 300-feet into the air at speeds up to 62 miles per hour (100 km/h). SlingShot is an additional charge attraction.||5|
|The Flying Cobras||2009||Vekoma||A standard Boomerang model roller coaster relocated from Geauga Lake. The train is pulled up the lift hill backward and then released down the hill forward into a cobra roll and vertical loop before repeating the journey in reverse. Formerly named Carolina Cobra (2009-2016).|
|Electro Spin||2017||Mondial||A Top Scan that sends riders through a freely rotating orbit through the air on its floorless gondolas.||5|
|Zephyr||2017||Zierer||A swing ride that suspends guests as the ride rotates in a circular, wavelike motion.||3|
|Rock 'N' Roller||2017||MACK Rides||A Music Express that Rock N’ Rolls guests around and around, up and down as high-energy tunes and spectacular lighting complement the experience.||3|
|Do-Si-Do||2017||HUSS||A Troika that sends guests flying through the air and gliding up, down and around as three giant arms rotate riders in different directions – all while increasing speed and elevation.||3|
|Fury 325||2015||Bolliger & Mabillard||A giga coaster loosely themed around Charlotte NC's nickname the "Hornet's Nest" with a height of 325 ft (99m), making it the tallest giga coaster and non-launched roller coaster in the world, reaching speeds of up to 95 mph making it one of the fastest in the world. Fury 325 is the second roller coaster in the park to cross the state line of North and South Carolina and the tallest ride ever built at Carowinds.||5|
|Drop Tower: Scream Zone||1996||Intamin||A drop tower ride with a height of 160 feet (49 m) and a drop of 100 ft (30 m). It was originally named Drop Zone: Stunt Tower (1996–2007).||4|
|Hurler||1994||International Coasters, Inc||A wooden out and back roller coaster.||4|
|Scream Weaver||1975||Anton Schwarzkopf||A Schwarzkopf Enterprise ride.||4|
|Character Carousel||1973||Philadelphia Toboggan Company||An antique carousel. The only attraction in Planet Snoopy that is not themed towards the Peanuts.||1|
|Charlie Brown's Wind Up||1973||Zamperla||A miniature swing ride. Formerly called Top Cat's Swing Time.||1|
|Flying Ace Aerial Chase||2003||Vekoma||A suspended family coaster. Formerly called Rugrats Runaway Reptar (2003–2009).||4|
|Flying Ace Balloon Race||1987||Zamperla||A flying balloon ride. Originally called Boo Boo's Balloon Race & Peter Potamus' Magic Flying Balloons.||2|
|Lucy's Crabbie Cabbie||1998||E&F Miler Industries||A big city chase through Lucy's neighborhood ensues on this miniature, 15-foot-high (4.6 m) roller coaster with cars resembling taxi cabs. Formerly Hey Arnold's Taxi Chase (2005–2009) and Taxi Jam (1998–2004).||2|
|Peanuts Pirates||2005||Heinrich Mack K.C,||A rotating pirate ship ride themed to The Peanuts relocated from sister park Canada's Wonderland where it was once known as The Great Whale of China. Formerly known as Flying Dutchman's Revenge.||3|
|Snoopy vs. Red Baron||1973||Chance Rides||A small plane ride themed to Snoopy. Originally called Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines.||2|
|Snoopy's Junction||1973||Crown Metal Products||A miniature train ride. Originally opened with the park in the Country Crossroads section (now Carolina RFD) as Shortline Railroad. In 1975, the ride was moved to a new home. This train ride was formerly known as Flintstone Express, Yogi's Jellystone Garden and Dora the Explorer's Azul Adventure.||1|
|Snoopy's Space Race||2010||Go Forth Industries||A small flying jet ride.||2|
|Snoopy's Yacht Club||2005||Go Forth Industries||A mini speed boat ride relocated from sister park Canada's Wonderland where it was known as Bedrock Dock. Formerly known as Little Bill's Cruisers.||1|
|Woodstock Express||1975||Philadelphia Toboggan Company||A family wooden roller coaster. Formerly Fairly Odd Coaster, Scooby Doo's Ghoster Coaster and Scooby Doo.||4|
|Woodstock Gliders||2005||Bisch Rocco Flying Skooters||A Flying Scooters ride themed to Woodstock. First resided at Cincinnati's Coney Island Park in 1935. In 1972, debuted as Flying Eagles at sister park Kings Island with the park's opening. Moved to Carowinds in 2005, where it was first called Danny Phantom's Phantom Flyers.||3|
|Woodstock's Whirlybirds||1998||Caripro Amusement Technologies||A mini monorail with helicopter cars themed to Woodstock. Formerly known as Chopper Chase.||2|
Included in the price of admission to Carowinds is access to Carolina Harbor water park. Based on a Coastal Carolina theme, it features 15 rides and attractions. Originally opened as Ocean Island in 1982, the water park has also been known as Riptide Reef (1989–1997) WaterWorks (1997–2006), and Boomerang Bay (2007–2015). On August 27, 2015, Carowinds announced a planned 2016 expansion for the area that will add five additional attractions and result in the name changing to Carolina Harbor.
The Paladium is an outdoor amphitheater located at Carowinds. It opened in 1975 and was the Charlotte area's premier outdoor concert venue until the opening of Blockbuster Pavilion, now PNC Music Pavilion, in 1991. Admission to the Paladium is separate from admission to Carowinds.
Fast Lane is a limited-access line queue system offered for an additional charge at Cedar Fair amusement parks. Visitors can purchase access, which includes a wristband that allows them to bypass standard lines in favor of shorter ones at many of the parks' most popular attractions. Fast Lane Plus is a more expensive, higher-end version that includes several additional attractions.
In 2000, the park introduced SCaroWinds; an annual Halloween attraction. SCarowinds is presented on select nights in September and October, as well as the first weekend in November. The park is open with The Great Pumpkin Fest starring Snoopy and rest of the Peanuts gang throughout the day, typically closes at 5:30pm, and reopens as SCarowinds at 7pm with the evil witch and SCarowinds' 1st lady of terror Lilith. The experience includes numerous haunted attractions and incorporates most of the existing park rides into a nightmarish experience. The SCarowinds Halloween Haunt is recommended for ages 13 and up, but any age is permitted for admission.
List of attractions
|Urgent Scare(Formerly The Asylum, The 7 Ward)||Maze||2014||Nighthawk Midway|
|Dark Harvest||Maze||2016||County Fair (behind PVZ Arena)|
|Defex||Maze||2010||Planet Snoopy Behind Snoopy's Train|
|Blood Yard||Scare Zone||2014||Cobra Plaza|
|SlaughterHouse: The Final Cut||Maze||2015||Thrill Zone Behind Carolina Cyclone|
|Psycho Circus||Scare Zone||2016||County Fair|
|London Terror||Scare Zone||2013||Near Harmony Hall|
|Mass Acres||Scare Zone||2012||Carolina RFD|
|The Playground||Scare Zone||2009||Planet Snoopy|
|Scary Tales||Scare Zone||2013||Vortex Plaza|
|Silver Scream Studios (Formerly Silver Scream Sinema)||Maze||2008 (Redecorated in 2015)||Thrill Zone by Hurler|
|Zombie High School||Maze||2013||Carolina RFD Backlot Behind The Carolina Cobra|
|Blood Drums||Carowinds Plaza Stage||A drum and light show|
|Rocktoberfest||Harmony Hall||An 80s cover band plays the night away|
|Skeleton Crew||In front of Southern Star||Cirque Imagine in an outdoor setting with a Halloween overlay|
Carowinds Festival of Music
The annual Carowinds Festival of Music allows music students to play in public performances and receive comments and ratings from nationally recognized adjudicators. Bands, choirs, show choirs, and orchestras can all play for ratings. Plaques and ribbons are awarded for performances which receive ratings of superior and excellent.
- 2017: Carolina RFD becomes County Fair with four new rides (Electro-Spin, Zephyr, Rock 'N' Roller, and Do-Si-Do); Old location of County Fair becomes Crossroads; Carolina Cobra is repainted and renamed to The Flying Cobras, and is rethemed to represent an airshow; Drop Tower repainted; Panda Express relocates to Joe's Cool Café, with old location demolished; New Game Card system is added for all games; WinterFest will return from November to December 2017.
- 2016: Boomerang Bay water park is expanded and renamed Carolina Harbor. Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 3Z Arena, an intra-active 3D game, debuts in Action Theater. Cirque Imagine became the new feature at the Carowinds Theater. Papa Luigi's Pizza is remodeled. Whitewater Falls is removed.
- 2015: Fury 325 debuts along with a new 8.2-acre (3.3 ha) main entrance plaza which was opened in association with the new coaster. Sling Shot, a new ride that catapults riders nearly 300-feet into the air at speeds up to 60 mph (97 km/h), was also added to the park in 2015. Woodstock Express, and Afterburn were repainted and Thunder Road, which operated for 39 years, closed permanently on July 26, 2015.
- 2014: Two new slides were added to Boomerang Bay: Surfer's Swell and Dorsal Fin Drop. New Harmony Hall marketplace is built in the Intimidator field, replacing Snoopy's GR8 SK8. Chick-fil-A moves into the former Country Kitchen building and a new restaurant, "Chickie's and Pete's" replaces Outer Hanks, and Auntie Anne's takes over Plaza Funnel Cake. The former Chick-fil-A is renovated into Funnel Cake Emporium. Xtreme Skyflyer is renamed to Ripcord and is relocated to the Nighthawk lake. Ricochet repainted. Go-Karts are removed and land clearing begins for a future roller coaster. Toll Plaza is removed and a new one is built further away from the park. The Plantation House entrance closes.
- 2013: Dinosaurs Alive!, a walk-through Dinosaur Exhibit; Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia 3D (feature in Action Theater); $50 million expansion announced on August 26, to include multiple new attractions, concessions, games, and 285 jobs. This places Carowinds as the fourth largest Cedar Fair park.
- 2012: WindSeeker, a 301-foot-tall (92 m) thrill ride opens, Fast Lane added, Joe Cool's Driving School closes
- 2011: Snoopy's Starlight Spectacular, a million-dollar nighttime walk-through light and sound experience featuring the Peanuts characters. Snoopy's starlight spectacular utilizes light, sound, and motion to create a full sensory experience. Snoopy's Starlight Spectacular runs from May 28 to September 4 in the County Fair and the Planet Snoopy sections of the park. Carowinds will stay open till 10pm every night June 27 to August 7. "Nights of Fire", a nightly fireworks show will play July 1 to September 4 at Carowinds Plaza at 10:00 pm. Vortex receives a new red track and grey support paint scheme. Ricochet receives a touch up paint job. Work continues on Thunder Road and Hurler's rehab and work continues on replacing pavement with brick pavers to help reduce heat flow from walkways. Carowinds has also expanded the park by 61 acres (250,000 m2).
- 2010: Intimidator: A 232-foot-tall (71 m), 5,316-foot-long (1,620 m) Bolliger & Mabillard hyper coaster. Nickelodeon Central becomes Planet Snoopy. Carolina Cyclone is repainted blue, yellow and orange.Scooby Doo's Haunted Mansion becomes Boo Blasters On Boo Hill, with new special effects; all connections to Hanna-Barbera's Scooby-Doo have been removed. Carowinds rebuilds more sections of Thunder Road. Carowinds starts replacing pavement with brick pavers to help reduce heat flow from walkways.
- 2009: Carolina Cobra, a Boomerang roller coaster featuring new trains from Vekoma, opens in the former location of the Nickelodeon Flying Super Saturator. Carowinds rebuilds more sections of Thunder Road. Nighthawk was repainted with yellow track and navy blue supports. Hurler receives some re-tracking. Scarowinds returns for its tenth year. Wild Thornberrys log flume removed for a new attraction. Dora the Explorer Azul's Adventure's track is also modified.
- 2008: A second wave pool named Bondi Beach added along with cabanas in Boomerang Bay. This added 20 acres (81,000 m2) to the park making it 112 acres (0.45 km2). Geauga Lake's Yo Yo swing ride was also added in the County Fair section. Flying Super Saturator only operates on the Boomerang Bay operating calendar. Thunder Road now runs both sides going forwards again. The Flying Super Saturator is removed from the park in August.
- 2007: Frenzoid was put back in as Southern Star in County Fair section. The price for a single day ticket dropped for the first time ever. Carolina Skytower was repainted to look like an American flag.
- 2006: Frenzoid was removed. WaterWorks was rethemed and renamed to Boomerang Bay and converting the old Frenzoid lake into a heated lagoon. Thunder Raceway Go-Carts was built in the Thrill Zone. The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera (feature in Action Theater) was also added. Paramount Parks is sold to the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company for 1.24 billion dollars. This puts Carowinds under the Cedar Fair family of parks.
- 2005: Nickelodeon Central expands into Animation Station, featuring Phantom Flyers (relocated from Kings Island as Flying Eagles), Flying Dutchman's Revenge, Little Bill's Cruisers, Dora the Explorer Azul's Adventure (Formerly Yogi's Jellystone Tour) and Frenzoid removal begins in September.
- 2004: BORG Assimilator (later renamed Nighthawk) Flying coaster added.
- 2003: Nickelodeon Central, featuring Rugrats Runaway Reptar (New Vekoma Jr. SLC), Wild Thornberrys River Adventure (Formerly Powder Keg Flume), and Rocket Power Air Time (Formerly Gauntlet); SpongeBob SquarePants 3D (feature in Action Theater); Carolina Sternwheeler (Original Ride) riverboat removed.
- 2002: Ricochet and rethemeing of Carolina Crossroads area to Carolina Boardwalk.
- 2001: SCOOBY-DOO's Haunted Mansion (later renamed Boo Blasters at Boo Hill); WaterWorks expansion; Stan Lee's 7th Portal 3D (feature in Action Theater); Whirling Dervish (swing ride) removed
- 2000: SCarowinds; Flying Super Saturator (steel coaster)
- 1999: Top Gun: The Jet Coaster (Later renamed Afterburn) was added in the County Fair section of Carowinds.
- 1998: Taxi Jam (Later renamed Lucy's Crabbie Cabbie), TV Road Trip (Later renamed Joe Cool's Driving School), and Chopper Chase (Later renamed Woodstock's Whirlybirds).
- 1997: WaterWorks water park
- 1996: Drop Zone: Stunt Tower (later renamed Drop Tower: Scream Zone) was added in the Wayne's World (later renamed Thrill Zone) section of Carowinds.
- 1995: Xtreme Skyflyer was added in the Wayne's World (later renamed Thrill Zone) section of Carowinds.
- 1994: Wayne's World (later renamed Thrill Zone) section with Hurler and Carowinds Monorail removed.
- 1993: Action Theater was added in the County Fair section of Carowinds. Paramount Communications buys Carowinds, King's Dominion, Kings Island, Great America, and Canada's Wonderland
- 1992: Vortex was added in the Carolina Showplace section of Carowinds.
- 1991: Expansion of Paladium; Speedway Cars removed.
- 1990: Gauntlet (shooting star, later renamed GR8 SK8).
- 1989: Riptide Reef water park; Expansion of Paladium.
- 1988: WhiteWater Falls; White Lightnin' coaster removed; Black Widow (thrill ride) removed.
- 1987: Expansion of Hanna-Barbera Land with three new rides; Old Jalopies antique car ride removed; Oaken Bucket removed.
- 1986: Frenzoid, a looping Viking ship was added.
- 1985: Blackbeard's Revenge (mystery house).
- 1984: Smurf Island (themed area).
- 1983: Cable Skyway removed.
- 1982: Rip Roarin' Rapids; Ocean Island (water park).
- 1980: Carolina Cyclone was added in Frontier Outpost.
- 1979: County Fair area added. Meteorite (enterprise); PT Bumpem's Auto Stunt & Thrill Show (bumper cars); Whirling Dervish (wave swinger); Wild Bull (Bayern Kurve); Carousel.
- 1977: White Lightnin' (Schwarzkopf shuttle loop coaster) in Pirate Island (entrance in Country Crossroads); Whirling Well renamed Oaken Bucket and moved to east midway.
- 1976: Thunder Road; 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge Carowinds and Carolina Railroad removed.
- 1975: Paladium Amphitheatre; Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera (themed area) featuring Scooby Doo coaster; Surfer (Tagada); Wagon Wheel (Chance Trabant); Waltzer (Schwarzkopf spinning ride).
- 1974: Country Kitchen is added; Whirling Well (Chance Rotor); picnic areas open. The Double-Decker Carousel is removed from the park at the end of the season and placed in storage.
- 1973: Carowinds opens on March 31; the Monorail is still under construction and opens later. Original theme areas: Plantantion Square, Contemporary Carolina, Frontier Outpost, Pirate Island, Indian Thicket, Country Crossroads and Queens Colony.
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