Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon, right, shakes hands with C.J. Barrymore’s President Rick Iceberg May 17 as the site officially opened four new attractions.

Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon, right, shakes hands with C.J. Barrymore’s President Rick Iceberg May 17 as the site officially opened four new attractions.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


C.J. Barrymore’s opens four new attractions

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published May 20, 2019

 Deputy Township Supervisor Liz Vogel, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, Clinton Township Clerk Kim Meltzer and Clinton Township Building Department Superintendent Barry Miller feel the rush on the Drop Tower.

Deputy Township Supervisor Liz Vogel, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, Clinton Township Clerk Kim Meltzer and Clinton Township Building Department Superintendent Barry Miller feel the rush on the Drop Tower.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, right, and Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon take in the new Spinning Coaster.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, right, and Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon take in the new Spinning Coaster.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — C.J. Barrymore’s has come a long way since it originated as a nightclub business in the 1980s.

On May 17, the popular destination officially opened its newest attractions for visitors: the 120-foot-tall Drop Tower; the Saddle Sling; a 110-foot-tall Ferris wheel; and the Spinning Coaster.

Joining C.J. Barrymore’s President Rick Iceberg and his closest associates were Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon, state Sen. Michael MacDonald, Clinton Township Clerk Kim Meltzer and Clinton Township Trustee Ken Pearl, among others.

The new attractions are the culmination of more than $5 million worth of investments in the past two years.

Iceberg said having a Ferris wheel on the property had been discussed for about a decade, while the Saddle Sling and the Drop Tower entered the fold about four years ago. As he stated, “everything takes time” due to financing and fulfilling local, state and federal requirements and testing.

“Everything we do takes years, so we’re always planning years out,” he said.

C.J. Barrymore’s employs more than 300 part-time employees, while boasting what Iceberg deems a “nucleus crew” of about 50 year-round employees, including an “unbelievable” crew of managers and supervisors — some who have been with him for decades.

He hopes the additions will increase business “by a few million bucks.”

“Anybody coming down Hall Road, they see these lights and are drawn right to it,” Iceberg said. “Everybody loves a Ferris wheel. They’re simple, they’re fun, they’re perfect for date night, they’re perfect just to go out with the family.

“There’s nothing to scare you about a Ferris wheel, but when you get on the Drop Tower, that will scare the heck out of you.”

Wayne Clor has been at Iceberg’s side for about 23 years, working in ride maintenance, construction and management.

“Anything outside, I handle,” he said.

Clor and Iceberg have traveled the country attending trade shows to try to find the next big thing that will attract visitors.

“(Iceberg’s) the brains. He’s the mastermind who comes up with these crazy ideas,” Clor said. “I make it happen.”

The new rides have led to more preparation, increased staff and more safety training. It’s a lot of behind-the-scenes efforts that bring the vision to fruition.

“If you notice, everything is about the same height,” Clor noted about the tallest rides, done deliberately not to scare some people off.

General Manager David Dalpizzol has been with the company since 1988. He said the Ferris wheel discussion evolved from just being an attraction to taking over the nearby skyline.

“Not only do we have a ride that does a lot of volume, we have the greatest sign on M-59 now,” Dalpizzol said. “We’re really, really proud of that. This was a long time coming, and the way that it all went down wasn’t exactly planned this way. It’s just the turn of events that happened, we decided to go forth with all the rides at one time. It was a lot of work, but it worked out.”

Now in his 31st year, he was there when five different nightclubs were the crux of the business model. By around 1991, go-karts and miniature golf helped introduce a more family-oriented atmosphere.

Today, about 620 vehicles can fill the entire parking lot, while increased attractions have produced a more even amount of rider volume.

Cannon said C.J. Barrymore’s is a positive representation of Clinton Township. As he put it, “When they open, spring has officially arrived.”

“Every community would love to have C.J. Barrymore’s in the middle of it, and we’re the lucky ones that they chose years ago,” Cannon said. “And we work with them. They started off very small, and little by little, (Iceberg) built this thing into what it is today.”

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