In my last trip report you’ll remember that I talked about the State Fair Meadowlands being confused with the actual NJ State Fair. Well we’re talking about the real deal now, officially deemed the New Jersey State Fair and Sussex County Farm & Horse Show. The fair went from August 3rd to August 12th and featured a plethora of farming, animals and 4H exhibits along with a decent sized midway brought by Reithoffer Shows. The fair had…
- Wild Claw
- Power Surge
- Fireball (Larson)
- Starship 3000
- Super Himalaya
- 3x Bumper Cars (2 adult, 1 kiddie)
- Gentle Giant (Chance wheel)
- Pharaoh’s Fury
- Tornado (Wisdom)
- Tidal Wave
- The Green Monster (Fun Slide)
- Wave Swing (Zamperla)
- Multiple funhouses (Cukoo Haus, Crystal Lil’s among others)
- Haunted Mansion
- Kite Flyer
- Flying Tigers
- Wacky Worm (with a mouse theme)
- A mound of kiddie rides
- Numerous shows
- Horse show
- Barns full of animals
- A ton of games
- A selection of greasy treats
- A vast array of vendors
- Prize ribbons
We got to the fair at around 11am and walked around some of the animal barns first as the carnival didn’t open until 12pm. Let me tell you the fair was pretty much dead when we go there and had light-ish crowds all day as A. it was the first day of fair and B. it was hot with stifling humidity. We walked around one tent that had longhorn bulls and a couple of horses before making our way to the horse ring to see people getting ready for the competition later on in the day.
Next we headed to the carnival to get our wristbands and hop on a couple of things. First ride was Sizzler, just your typical Wisdom scrambler ride. This one was equipped with seatbelts and fool-proof lapbars which cannot be opened without an operator physically sticking a pin into the locking mechanism. Not too bad of a ride, it lasted about two minutes which is good because that about the point where the motion starts to get monotonous.
We hopped on Scooters next, a Majestic manufactured bumper car ride and proceeded to get a ride lasting probably 6 minutes. At one point, after exhausting all of my usual bumper car tactics of head on rams, backing up into other cars and sideswiping cars into walls I just sat in the middle and spun the car in a 360, smacking into others as they approached. I might have to re-evaluate my stance on Majestic bumper cars after that ride as I got some pretty stiff hits; nothing like old school Lusse skooter crashes but nothing to sneeze at either.
Super Himalaya was nearby so we got in line (aka. stood on the platform with three other people) for that. My cousins were placed in one car while I got a car on the opposite side in attempt to balance the ride. This was in wild contrast from Strate’s Musik Express at the Meadowlands where the ride operators didn’t balance the ride at all. The ride started out backwards and ended forwards. I found out on Carnival Warehouse that the reason for this is because when going backwards the ride is only supposed to run up to a certain speed while forwards it can go at full bore. So they start backwards for the slower portion and end forwards going faster. The more you know.
Afterwards we walked around the fair for a bit, checking out random displays and shows. First we walked by the music tent and caught the last few minutes of a performance by ‘Dakota.’ Apparently her claim to fame was auditioning to American Idol and other such shows. I love how that’s a selling point now, hell she might be better off not getting on the show at all since most that did have descended into obscurity by now. Next we checked out the animal barns which had cows, pigs, goats, sheep and more. An enclosed barn had all the smaller animals like rabbits, guinea pigs and chickens. Since it was hot the rabbits all had plastic bottles filled with cold water placed in their cages, some took the opportunity to cool off as seen to right.
Back to the rides for a quick spin on the Chance manufactured giant wheel before a show started that my older cousin wanted to see. This is one of three giant wheels owned by Reithoffer and is the middle sized one of the three. They also own a smaller Chance Century Wheel and a massive Kroon Dutch Wheel, the latter of which I have never seen in person, although I have been on Strates’ Kroon wheel. This wheel is about the perfect size for this fair, not too small but not ridiculously large either and of course the views were great from the top.
We went over to the cattle obstacle course show next…yes this is what my cousin wanted to see. Basically kids had to guide their cow (calf?) through a bunch of different things such as a cattle holder, a fenced in area, a small water obstacle and others. It was uh…interesting. I think this series of closeups of the helpers accurately describes my feelings while watching this spectacle. Next we headed over to the vegetable area where we were greeted by empty tables…guess they were still rating the prize veggies. Instead I admired the prize hay; I think I got it now, the blue ribbon hay was baled nicely while the runners up looked like birds nests.
Commerfords petting zoo was our next stop, a staple of any fair trip as they seem to show up at every large fair. Most of the animals were just lazing about since, as noted, it was hot as hell out. We also checked out a street performer type show nearby featuring a wife, husband and son trio doing juggling tricks and walking on balls and such. We walked over to the horse ring next to see the pole bending competition that was being held; basically the rider commands the horse around six poles as fast as possible. Some did well as seen by the older gentleman to the right totally killing it on the course, and some did, uh…not so well.
We eventually made our way back to the rides again where my two cousins hopped on Avalanche, a Wisdom Miami/Gee Wiz/Moby Dick style ride. Last year we got an insanely long ride on this which made me nauseous as hell so I decided to not ride it this year. The ride only lasted a couple minutes this year so I probably could have got on, but I don’t even like these types of rides much anyway. Next ride was Tidal Wave, a Chance Thunderbolt with a nicer surfing theme. Now I’ve lamented in the past about this ride (and all Thunderbolts for that matter) being bumpy but this year it was just laughably rough. I don’t know what Chance did with these rides but I can honestly say that those old ass Herschell Flying Bobs rides are scores smoother than Thunderbolts. Not only was it bumpy but it felt like the sweeps were jerking forwards and backward as they revolved making it even more rough.
Next we rounded the midway my younger cousin and I hopped on Wild Claw, a KMG Fireball. The ride lasted about 1 minute which was actually fine since I get nauseous on these types of rides after a few minutes. One thing that we noted was that the sunglasses clad ride op looked like a combination of Laurence Fishburne and Samuel L Jackson; is it possible to look any cooler than that guy? We took a spin on Haunted Mansion next which featured darkness, some props but mostly darkness. At one point I thought there was going to be an on-coming car stunt but was greeting by something in a cage lightning up. That was the highlight of the ride.
Zipper was our final stop before heading off to eat and walk around the vendor areas for a bit. We got a lot of flips during this ride with a few instances of two or more flips in quick succession; now I know what it feels like to be an Olympic gymnast doing a handspring double front vault (ok, definitely not but I just had to slip an Olympics term in there…and an awful internet meme.) When I got off I was legitimately dizzy which was a first for a Zipper ride. I also noted that I had gotten grease on my pant leg, probably from being tossed into the unpadded lapbar portion on the left side of the pod. We stopped to eat at a large food tent afterwards; I got some chicken tenders, fries and a large coke for about $11. I noticed that one of the people making food had a Bloomsburg Fair shirt on, guess that’s one of their stops later on in the year.
After downing the carnival food we walked around the vendor area where I found a Japanese Army of Darkness poster featuring Bruce Campbell standing atop (Bruce) Campbell’s soup cans with various “only in Japan” things in the background. I ended up picking it up at my friends request who is a big Army of Darkness and Bruce Campbell fan. As it was getting dark we headed over to check out an acrobatic show which featured various trapeze acts and “Russian swing.”
In our final pass of the rides we hopped on the giant wheel a again which now had a longer, yet not time consuming line. We actually got one and a half cycles on this as the ride ops thought our section had just loaded after revolving the newly embarked passengers to the top. After a few turns they must have realized the mistake (possibly realizing after people in line got their jimmies rustled.) One of my cousins hopped on Avalanche afterwards and we finally wrapped up the rides with a second bumper car ride, this time with the cycle lasting a more normal 3 minutes or so. Before leaving I picked up a large-ish milkshake for $5; that’s not bad at all for a fair especially considering the food joints closer to the midway were selling them for $6.50.
We left at around 10:15pm, that’s 15 minutes after the official closing. Many people were still around at that point and vendors seemed to be staying open until a majority left the fairgrounds.