I go to roughly four “big” fairs each season. The first of which is always the Youth Sports Festival in North Brunswick, NJ. The fair is located in a field next to Devry University in North Brunswick and is almost impossible to miss when driving down Route 1, a major thoroughfare in central Jersey.
I headed down to the fair on Saturday, the 14th. I left at 7pm and arrived about 40 minutes later. Upon approaching the fair, I was met with the access road to Devry’s parking lot choked with cars…but not nearly as congested as the opposing eastbound lanes! I rounded the lot a couple of times before finding an open spot. Strates Shows was doing the midway for the second year now. Admission was $5 and the fair had…
- Sky Flyer
- Musik Express
- Fireball (KMG)
- Fire Ball (Larson)
- Wave Swinger (down the night I went)
- Starship 2000
- Cliff Hanger
- Giant Wheel
- Double Carousel
- Super Slide
- Haunted Mansion
- 4x Funhouses (Club Scene, Cuckoo Haus, Monkey Maze, Raiders)
- A bunch of kiddie rides (Mini Himalaya, Wacky Worm, Happy Swing, Hampton rides, Red Baron, Dinosaur, Mini Indy, Go Gator, Fire Cheif, etc)
- Lots of entertainment (Wambalds Amazing Animals, Rosaire’s Royal Racers (pig races), Commerford’s Petting Zoo, Maneuver Motorsports show, Ditsy the Clown)
- More than an assortment of greasy treats
- Lots of games
Like I said, it’s a big fair with Strates bringing in most, if not all of their active pieces. Now, I had an agenda for this fair, a one item agenda…get a video of Enterprise. Everything else would be gravy. Enterprise took up the same spot as the year prior, at the far end of the midway. The sign now matches the rest of the ride and it seems like its makeover is now 100% complete. The ride had a lengthy line all night and they were enforcing a no single riders rule. I’m not sure if this is a new rule or just something they do on crowded nights. Hopefully the latter as none of my usual fair partners can handle a spin on Enterprise!
Across the way was Zyklon, a Pinfari coaster. They were running one car at a time which meant that the ride had a looooong line. Cliff Hanger was hanging out next to Zyklon and had been redone with new LEDs and a new center ornament adorned with LED strips. A Chance made Thunderbolt replaced the Reverchon Himalaya, which isn’t on the road this year as of yet from what I hear. I think Thunderbolt is a better addition anyway as they already have Musik Express on the midway.
Wave Swinger sat across from the wheel, but was in the process of being either worked on or taken apart. The frame was lowered close to the ride deck with all of the swings taken off and sitting on the deck. They did have the lights on, probably so it didn’t look like some creepy abandoned ride! Giant Wheel anchored the far end of the midway and sat right next to Route 1. Like I said, there was no way to miss this fair! Club Scene was next to the wheel. I like the spiral of LEDs they put behind the spinning barrel, looked pretty trippy!
Here’s the first batch of photos from this half of the midway:
The west side of the midway had Tilt-a-Whirl, Starship 2000, and a majority of the kiddie rides and funhouses. The front of the midway featured a few more majors such as Musik Express, Sky Flyer, Fireball, Zipper and Strates’ famous Double Carousel. They must run Fireball on a manual cycle because the ride definitely seemed to change every time. Unfortunately, they weren’t always swinging it to full height on each cycle either. Musik Express garnered the biggest line in this section of rides. Looks like the ride still runs faster than any other Himalaya ride I’ve ever seen. Nice!
There were a few shows going on that night. I didn’t bother with Wambald’s Amazing Animals and the pig races, mostly because I see stuff like that at the Meadowlands and NJ State Fair. I somehow missed the motorcycle show going on that night. Like really, I have no idea how I missed it as it was placed in the middle of the lot! I did catch a fire breather dude outside of the freak show doing his thing to get people inside. While walking at one point I passed a tricked out mini car with LEDs on the bottom. I did a double take to see that it was Ditsy the Clown’s car, who was doing face painting nearby. It’s pink, and small as heck, but it would be so much fun to drive that thing around the midway!
The one show I did catch were the fireworks. Like the previous St. Vincent de Paul Carnival trip report, I had no idea where they would be until the first warning shots before the show went up. I had a feeling it was near the wheel, and guess what? I was right! I proceeded to take a grand total of 140 photos, 35% of which were blurry since I was hand holding while doing long exposure shots. I really should get a monopod, or some unobtrusive mount to bring along to these fairs that I know I won’t ride anything at. I actually saw someone with a small camera/phone mounted on what looked like a golf club. Apparently it’s this thing… a “selfie handstick.” Uh…okay.
Here’s a 10 photo gallery of fireworks:
I walked around a bit more, grabbing some more photos. There was a great full moon that night, but I couldn’t seem to get any good shots of it paired up with various rides. It was actually getting pretty chilly out as it got later but I was fine in my jeans and hoodie. This spring has felt really cool overall, even though the temperatures have been pretty much where they’re supposed to be. I eventually left at around 10:45pm. Once again, NBYSF doesn’t disappoint!
I didn’t get many photos of Enterprise in action, but that’s because I was too busy taking this video!
And finally here’s the second half of the midway:
Parking is always horrendous at this fair on Saturday nights. Luckily I live within walking distance of the fair and that’s how I traveled to and from the fair this year, which happened to be the same night you went. I felt like an outcast in my jacket and jeans while 90% of people were in shorts and light shirts, but it was a bit chilly that night and I felt comfortable.
A few extra notes I think are worth sharing:
*Whoever was working Music Express the night I was there took the “music” out of it; despite it being one of the faster Himalaya-type rides out there, lights, music, and special effects are a big part of the experience of this type of ride, and it was sorely missing here.
*Club Scene may very well be the only Fun House in existence where the rotating barrel is at the ENTRANCE.
*The fireworks show was amazing and lengthy as usual. North Brunswick does not have any 4th of July celebrations so the fireworks at this carnival are our “de facto” 4th of July fireworks. (Carnevale Italiano also does fireworks but that carnival sucks now)
I’m glad I was wearing jeans and a hoodie, I saw plenty of people in shorts and t-shirt shivering their butts off as it got later!
I could have sworn that I heard music on Musik Express when I was by it that night, although I was only by it a couple of times all night. I do agree with everything else though, Strates doesn’t really have strobes/horn or anything on Musik Express. On the other hand, their older Himalaya (which was next to the ferris wheel last year) does, which is kind of funny.
There’s another fun house I see around that has a barrel at the entrance…but it’s the same model as Club Scene, only with a different theme lol. Here’s a photo: http://www.domainofdeath3.com/news/wp-content/gallery/2013-state-fair-meadowlands-2/funhouse1.jpg
I’ve always thought about going to Carnevale Italiano, but I guess it’s not that good from what you say. What do they usually have there?
Back in the day, before the NBYSF existed and before the High School was expanded, Carnevale Italiano was the big fair in North Brunswick, held next to North Brunswick Township High School. It had a decent sized midway with a good amount of rides and various Italian-American themed concessions.
The fair is now held in a smaller lot at the corner of Route 130 and Apple Orchard Lane. It still has rides and Italian-American concessions, but because of the smaller lot, there are a lot less of them. Probably not worth the drive.
My first ever time I went to the Carnevale Italiano was last year..And I didn’t knew about until then. But they had some pretty good rides by Reithoffer Shows, the traveling carnival I don’t get to see often in NJ. They had the Zipper (My #1 FAVE as u can tell lol), Pharaohs Fury, and the Full Tilt. I’d say it wasn’t really that bad unless what matters to me if the Zipper is there 🙂
Reithoffer does a few spots around here that you might be able to catch. Reithoffer Blue does NJ State Fair up in Sussex County and their Orange unit does Freedom Fest State Fair down at the Horse Park near Six Flags along with Carnevale Italiano.
They also did Staten Island Mall and Kings County Fair in NY (both blue) and they also have orange in Levittown, PA where they bring in the Dutch Wheel.
Ah, ok. Eh, I don;t know, I might check it out one year just to go. It’s always fun going to new fairs, even if they’re not so hot.
Oh man, I LOVE This Fair 😀
I’ve been going there for 4 years now. Though I kinda miss Reithoffer having the spot..would’ve been awesome if Strates and Reithoffer shared the spot.
And btw, this is actually the “warm up” fair to the Biggest Fair of NJ, STATE FAIR MEADOWLANDS 😀
I see Meadowlands not only has their usual wheel, but Strates’ Giant Wheel as well. Looks like there’s also a Zamperla Disk-O type ride…don’t know who’s that is!
Disk’o belongs to Jeremy Floyd (just purchased this season) who also owns the Space Roller.
Thanks! I had a feeling it was an independent book in. Looks like Reithoffer is booked in as well with at least Tornado and Yo-Yo. Meadowlands has quite the ride lineup this year!
@DoD3Brian I found the list for the 2017 Meadowlands Fair. Space Roller will be back, and there will be more rides from AoA’s other unit.
Giant Wheel (AoA)
Giant Wheel (Strates)
Rock & Roll
Chaos (Street Fighter)
Ring of Fire
Rock & Roll Funhouse
Hard Rock Palace
Tomb of Doom
Far West TraIn
I found the ride lineup for the 2017 Meadowlands Fair from the Vivonas, they sent their first draft.
Giant Wheel (Strates)
Giant Wheel (AoA)
Chaos (Technical Park Street Fighter)
Rock & Roll
Ring of Fire
Hard Rock Palace
Tomb of Doom
Wild West Train
Kiddie Bumper Boats
Berry Go Round
Sponge Bob Funhouse