April 9th is fast approaching, and with it your invitation to Coney Island's Opening Day. 

The festivities get underway at 11:00 AM on the Boardwalk, and first up it's the 32nd Annual Blessing of the Rides at Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park.  

The ribbon cutting ceremony will be hosted by park owners Dennis and Steve Vourderis, and will be immediately followed with free rides on the Wonder Wheel (for the first 97 guests) in celebration of the Wheel's 97th anniversary.

As reported by TimeOut NYat Luna Park, the first 100 on line on the Cyclone for free. 

If you don't ship out early enough, you can still snag the free egg cream samples (you probably shouldn't mix those with a roller coaster ride anyway).

While you're in the neighborhood check out that collection of artifacts we mentioned, and snap the chat at Coney Island's oldest surviving artifact: the riveting Toll House Sign from 1823 which shows the toll for a horse and rider to "the Island" at a whopping 5 cents.

Those were the days.

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Additionally, the Coney Island History Project, located at West 12th Street at the entrance to Deno's Wonder Wheel, is open free of charge on weekends and holidays, from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day, from 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

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So dust off the sundress or salmon shorts (you know who you are), and get ready to catch the train way down. It's happening.

[Feature Image Courtesy TimeOut NY] [via TimeOut NY]