October 8th, 2008
|02:02 pm - rides at the ol' fair|
Spent a pleasant Sunday at the Topsfield Fair. The sun came out eventually and the place was packed, but we had a good time nonetheless. Topsfield's fair is a large affair, representing a lot of Eastern Mass. I grew up in the western side of the state in prime county fair country, and when we showed sheep, we kids regularly did the show circuit, wearing our whites and trying to keep an ornery lamb standing still so the judges could look 'em over. My little brother Ryan had a prize lamb one year and made it big during the summer. So I've had my share of little fairs (Blandford, Marshfield, Plainfield I think) and big ones (the Three-County Fair in Northampton, which used to have parimutuel racing, and the Franklin County Fair, which was where all the "big kids" went and where my brother once won an Eazy-E cassette at the ring toss.) My favorite, of course, was the Cummington Fair, nestled way up in the Hilltowns (and aren't all country towns 'nestled' somewhere? They're all so cozy!) I grew up at the Cummington Fair, and would spend the entire fair weekend having the run of the place while my dad helped run the Nickel Pitch for the Chesterfield Fire Dept. I even got to work the Nickel Pitch when I was older, and that was tons of fun.
Then, of course, there's the Big E, which is the ginormous mecca of fairs up here. Those of you in Iowa or Minnesota or Texas may scoff, but as far as we go, the Big E is the biggest one around bar none.
Topsfield's on par with Franklin, I think, in terms of size and big kids hanging out. Maybe smaller. We had a great time walking thru the agricultural exhibits, checking out the livestock, and eating food that was not good for us at all. Then I went and indulged myself in some flat rides.
Topsfield's midway is crazy. Crazy in that some of it just doesn't make sense. They have two Zippers, for crying out loud. The Zipper is one of the meanest, orneriest, most vicious carnival rides in the world. You can't fully appreciate it unless you've ridden one and flipped over at just the right time to rack your family jewels against the safety bar. Oh lord it's terrible and of course I wanted to ride. I couldn't though, because there's a strict No Single Rider policy on the Evil Z, and none of my travelling companions wished to risk it. Smart move anyway.
For a while I thought the Zipper was an endangered breed, destined to go the way of the Skydiver, my favorite ride ever. It's kind of like a Ferris Wheel, sure, but you're in little cages, and there's a steering wheel that works like a Sit & Spin wheel. But instead of spinning you on your Y axis, it spins on your X. Like barrel rolls. Yes, exactly like barrel rolls. And when you're coming down the wheel nose-first and spinning like crazy, you holler some damn fine hollering. But I haven't seen a Skydiver in over 10 years. Conklin used to bring one around the Big E, but that was ages ago. I think they're definitely endangered.
I was, however, lucky enough to ride a KMG Afterburner, which is one of the bestest rides out there right now. Similar rides give similar sensations, but the Afterburner not only has a very powerful swing to it (lots of oomph when it wants) but it also swings up 120 degrees. Thaaaat's right. Oh man was this a fun ride. I had my arms out and just flew around while the horizon whirled around me and I was looking at the sky looking at the ground looking at I don't know what that was. After the ride, I was told by my ground crew that the girl next to me had been leaning forward the entire time, and she looked like she was about to pop out of her shirt. I couldn't have noticed anyway. I was too busy HAVING FUN ON CRAZY AMUSEMENT RIDE.
The other insanity I tried was the Tivoli Remix which is basically a version of the Chance Orbiter except that A. it hates you and B. you sit with your legs dangling, not in a little car and C. it hates you and D. god damn they can crank that thing up fast. I like riding Orbiters because the sensation was great, but riding the Remix with my legs dangling and the g-forces working their magic, well, I lost circulation to my right leg. Yes, that's right, my right leg greyed out. It didn't go to sleep, there was no tingling sensation afterwards, it just plain went cold and it hurt to walk on for five or so minutes afterwards. Don't think I'll be trying that one again.
I've fully greyed out on an amusement ride before. The one time I can remember was riding Dorney Park's Laser roller coaster. It's a Schwarzkopf double looper, which means it has two tight vertical loops one after the other. I rode twice in the back seat. The second time around, everything went grey when we got yanked out of the first loop and into the other.
Very interesting experience, but not one I'll actively seek out in the future.
Oh, and we rode one of the portable dark rides which had holes in the facade and the roof to let the sunlight in, and the drapes separating scenes weren't tied right and so there was a lot of light in the thing all around, but the goth girl who ran the ride gave us all death black Mardi Gras beads, so hey, it's Mardi Goth time.
I'm totally hosting Mardi Goth next year.