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George Frantzis II to be inducted into the NEAAPA Hall of Fame

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December 19, 2017
  MIDDLEBURY, Conn. – George Frantzis II, an owner of Quassy Amusement & Waterpark here, will be inducted into the New England Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (NEAAPA) Hall of Fame at the organization’s annual meeting in March.
  A past president of NEAAPA (1998-99), George represents the third generation of his family to be involved at the lakeside property, which his grandfather purchased with two business partners in 1937.
   “It certainly took me by surprise and I’m honored to be joining such a distinguished group,” he said of the accolade.
  The induction ceremony will take place on Tuesday, March 13, during NEAAPA’s 105th Anniversary Education Conference & Annual Meeting at the Hilton Mystic in Mystic, Conn.
  Of the 40 persons currently in the NEAAPA Hall Of Fame, George Frantzis II will become the third family member to be inducted. His late father, George, and uncle, John Frantzis, both served as NEAAPA presidents prior to being installed.
  Quassy, founded in 1908, enters its 110th year in 2018 and today is solely owned and operated by the Frantzis and Anderson families.
  George grew up working at the park in a variety of positions under the watchful eye of his father. Today, he heads up the sales team, oversees the rides and waterpark staff, manages payroll for the more than 350 seasonal personnel and directs daily operations with business partner Eric Anderson. Eric currently serves at first vice president of NEAAPA.
  “Anyone in our industry knows you have to wear a lot of hats – I’m no different,” he said of his daily tasks. “During the height of the season the work days are long with very little time off.”
Rebirth Of The Property
  And he will be the first to admit that Quassy was showing its age at the turn of the century.
  In 2002, George and Eric formulated a long-term plan to pump new life into the then struggling property.
  “We realized we had to reinvent ourselves as many of the rides were old and the beach was no longer a big draw,” he recalled.
  The solution – they believed – was to dive into the waterpark business.
  To mark Quassy’s 95th anniversary in 2003 the park introduced Saturation Station, an interactive modular family water play area, which was the largest single investment in the park’s history.
  The gamble paid off and set the stage for subsequent improvements in the years to follow.
  In 2011 the Wooden Warrior roller coaster, a marquee attraction in the ride area, made its debut at Quassy.
  “It was the game changer, that’s for certain,” George said of the new ride. “While the development of the waterpark helped us to make other improvements throughout the park, Wooden Warrior literally put us on the international map.”
  Coaster enthusiasts from across the nation flocked to the park to experience the relatively small family ride, giving it rave reviews.
  “What made it unique was the Timberliner train that maneuvered the track like a race car,” George remarked. “We were the first in all of North America to use this train and the next thing we knew we had coaster groups from abroad booking days at the park just because of the Warrior.”
  The ride is currently listed among the Top 50 Wooden Roller Coasters in the world, according to a ballot taken by industry trade magazine Amusement Today.
  Since 2004 Quassy has added eight new rides and expanded the waterpark on three different occasions.
  In May the park will open Category 5 Rapids extreme waterslides in Splash Away Bay waterpark. It will surpass any previous investment made by the owners.
Honors
  In 2015 Amusement Today Publisher Gary Slade honored George and Eric with the publication’s Turnstile Award.
  “Without their vision, Quassy could have met the fate of many New England parks of yesteryear and ceased to exist,” Slade said in presenting the award.
    George lives in nearby Woodbury, Conn., with his wife, Joann. They have two grown children, Alexandria and George III.
  He is president of the Lake Quassapaug Association, Lake Authority and volunteers as an emergency medical technician with the Woodbury Ambulance Association.
  In addition, George sits on the steering committee of the Central Naugatuck Valley Regional Action Council (CNVRAC), a collaborative of community partners from across the local 12 town service areas. The goal is to conduct and build capacity to deliver state-of-the-art prevention strategies for substance abuse.
  George is also on the legislative committee of the Waterbury Chamber of Commerce, serves on the grants committee of the Connecticut Community Foundation and is a past board member of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) and Women’s Emergency Shelter.
  In addition, he has been a speaker at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo on several occasions.