Nothing says ‘summer’ like a trip to the State Fair Meadowlands, the largest fair in New Jersey! The fair, now in its 31st year, started on June 22nd and runs through July 9th and features over 150 rides and attractions and an incredible amount of food, games, and concessions. The rides were primarily brought in by Amusements of America and Strates Shows along with some rides brought in by independent operators. The fair had…

  • Crazy Mouse
  • Zyklon
  • Enterprise
  • Musik Express
  • Himalaya
  • Giant Wheel (Strates)
  • Giant Wheel (Amusements of America)
  • Fireball
  • Orbiter
  • Zero Gravity
  • Sky Ride
  • Wave Swinger
  • Banzai
  • 1001 Nachts
  • Zipper
  • Sizzler
  • Tilt-a-Whirl x2
  • Cliff Hanger x2
  • Starship 3000
  • Rock N Roll
  • Vertigo
  • Sky Flyer
  • Scooter x2
  • Double-Decker Carousel
  • Merry Go Round
  • Family Swinger
  • Bumper Boats
  • Super Slide x2
  • Several Fun Houses
    • Mardi Gras
    • Cuckoo Haus
    • Crazy Outback
    • Rock n Roll Funhouse
    • Magic Maze
    • Pan’s Palace
    • Raiders
    • Rainbow Rock
    • Spongebob Funhouse
  • Several Dark Rides
    • Tomb of Doom
    • Haunted Mansion x2
    • Unnamed Dark Ride (looked like another Haunted Mansion)
  • Lots of kiddie rides
    • Go Gator
    • Wacky Worm
    • Bees
    • ATVs
    • Wave Runner
    • Quad Runner
    • Flying Elephants
    • Happy Swing
    • Kiddie Bumper Boats
    • Teacups
    • Wet Gators
    • Mini Himalaya
    • Red Baron
    • Some others I’m forgetting
  • A bunch of shows & attractions
    • Hypnotist Steve Bayner
    • Rosaire’s Royal Racers (Racing Pigs)
    • Open-Air Thrill Show
    • High Dive Show
    • Commerford Petting Zoo
    • Elephant and pony ride
    • live music
    • about six Freak Shows

…whew

I went to this fair twice: once on Friday, June 30th and again on Wednesday, July 5th. The first night I went with a few of my cousins and we got the combo passes to jump on some rides. We got there at around 7pm. The fair was relatively quiet at this point as there was a threat of rain that night with a small line of showers bearing down on the Meadowlands as we drove to the fair. The rain ended up missing the fair, so we were good to go!

The first ride we got on was the Sky Ride which shuttled us to the far end of the midway. The next ride was Crazy Mouse. We figured we should jump on it earlier than later as it would undoubtedly have a long line later on in the night. It’s worth noting that the fair now has Fast Passes, which can be used to essentially skip the line for an extra fee.

Crazy Mouse is a Reverchon spinning wild mouse coaster. This has got to be one of the earlier models of this type of coaster as I’ve seen it at this fair for what seems like forever now. The line was only five or so cars and built to around half a switchback long as we waited. The first half is pretty fast for a wild mouse coaster and we got some good spins on the second half of the ride. Next up was Crazy Outback, an Owen Trailers Cuckoo Haus with an Australian theme. 

Giant Wheel was our next stop, Amusement of America’s 90 foot Chance wheel. I think we were the only ones on it when we rode. Afterwards, we hopped on Himalaya, Strates’ Reverchon model. I like these older model Himalayas quite a bit, mostly because you just don’t see them all that often. Despite the lower crowds at this time, the ride actually ran with all seats filled.

We walked around to the other side of the midway and got on Zyklon, which had no line at all. This is Strates’ Pinfari Zyklon and I like this one a lot because it only has seatbelts as a restraint. The newer models of this coaster have shoulder harnesses, which make the ride a lot less comfortable. Seatbelts are really all you need on these coasters. Personally, I think I like this coaster more than Crazy Mouse. Our last ride for now was Scooter, a Majestic manufactured bumper car ride.

We headed back to the front of the fair to grab some food and watched the Steve Bayner Hypnotist show while eating. There were a couple of short warm up acts before Bayner came on, the first being a country singer followed by a quick flying squirrel demonstration. The singer, when asked about who he’s opened for in the past, joked that “a flying squirrel” can be added to that list. Steve Bayner’s show is always fun to check out. He’s been at this fair for something like 20 years now, which is really impressive.

On the way back to the rides midway, we stopped by at the petting zoo which had a couple of camels, several goats, alpacas, and a few others along with some that couldn’t be pet like a kangaroo and lemurs. Back to the rides, we hopped on a couple of dark rides. Haunted Mansion was first, an Owen Trailer dark ride. This one featured an S curve layout with props around every corner. The second was Tomb of Doom, which I think is an independently owned ride; Christiani I think? I liked this one better of the two as it had a maze-like layout with a short section where the cart seems to roll down a small decline and around a turn. Thanks to the pitch black interior, it felt like the car had just rolled off the track and into the unknown.

Giant Wheel was next, Strates’ 100-something foot Dutch wheel; this ride had a short, one cycle wait. The wheel has LEDs on the sweeps which flash through a series of patterns; it looked wonderful! The view from the top was equally as great with one of my cousins commenting that the fair “looks like Las Vegas” from up there. I remember when AoA’s wheel used to be the only wheel at the Meadowlands. That’s a fine ride of course, but a big fair needs a big wheel like this one!

My cousins headed off to watch the Open Air Thrill Show while I decided to hang back and get some more photos. However, it started to rain a bit, so I packed my camera away and hopped on Orbiter instead, a ride that none of my cousins can handle anymore. This is a Tivoli manufactured ride that’s independently owned by Lauther, who also had some other rides on the midway (the Tilt-a-Whirl, at least.) This was placed in the back end this year in one of the traditional “big ride” spots at the fair. The ride looked fantastic with LEDs and a sleek green/pink color scheme. The ride was very fast and only ran for like a minute and change because of it.

After exiting Orbiter, I got a text from my cousin that the Thrill Show had been canceled; probably due to the rain. I met up with them and we headed out shortly after at around 11:15pm.

On Wednesday, July 5th, I got to the fair at around 7:30pm. The crowds were a little larger today, thanks in part to the great weather that day. Not much to say about this trip as it was just three and a half hours of walking around, snapping photos and taking video. I made sure to check out the games this time. Seems like the big ones this year were balloon pop games – including a giant, four man balloon stand near the front of the midway, and watergun races. There were also three bottle stand games, a few break a bottle stands, a least three shoot out the stars, several basketball games, some ring tosses, duck ponds, and two drown the clown booths along with a sprinkling of other games.

I watched the Bottle Stand game for a bit. Each one had a guy on the mic calling people in and demonstrating how to successfully stand the bottle. This seems to be the new “hard game” these days. I remember when those 4 ball pool table games were everywhere at this fair for a while; now it’s the bottle stand. The only prizes to be won were huge stuffed animals, which kind of tips you off on how tough the game is. It can definitely be won, but it takes quite a bit of finesse to do so.

I hung around until 11 before heading out. Until next year!

Here’s nearly 10 minutes of video!

And here’s over 100 photos!

16 Comments

  • Ray Kelly says:

    strates shows they been coming to our fair for 92 years they at the best

  • Robert -Zipper Ridin' Karate Kid- Mata says:

    OMG!!
    Did you hear or saw the news about what happened yesterday at the Ohio State Fair with this same KMG Afterburner that was presently at the Meadowlands last month??

    I couldn’t bear to watch the horrifying eyewitness video.

    • DoD3Brian says:

      I certainly did and saw the video as well. Just terrible.

    • DoD3Brian says:

      Did you ride it at the Meadowlands this year? I think the last time I went on it was six years ago or so but it’s still a little weird to know that I was on a ride that eventually had an accident.

      • Robert -Zipper Ridin' Karate Kid- Mata says:

        Well you shouldn’t feel weird that you last went on it half a decade ago. Although still thinking about I certainly have that weird (although sometimes uncomfortable) feeling since the day after the tragedy took place..

        Because of course I was on that ride (in fact, twice this year, once in my 2 visits to the State Fair Meadowlands. The night before the 4th with my best friend/karate partner & another close friend of mine, and on the final night with my nephew)

        Although after watching this radio interview that our current NJ governor was on (which you deleted from your 2017 State Fair Meadowlands vid)
        It made me feel somewhat better. Because if his heavy, Heavy inspections on the ride that was presently at the Meadowlands didn’t occur, the tragedy might’ve occurred at the Meadowlands while I’m on it. Then the end result I could’ve been dead being thrown 50 ft away from the ride while still being harnessed to the seat, or limping out of the ride with severe injuries.

        https://youtu.be/Dh2fD-r2QVc

        #ThankYouChristie
        #ThankYouDCA

        • DoD3Brian says:

          Man, I’m glad it didn’t happen while you guys were on it! I’ll be very interested to see the final report coming from this incident.

          I disabled the comments on that Youtube video. I just didn’t want the comments section to fill up with people talking about Fireball. Your comment was fine, but you know how some Youtube commenter’s can be.

          • Robert -Zipper Ridin' Karate Kid- Mata says:

            Yeah thank God for the DCA!
            Still kinda shook up since that tragedy but hopefully soon after final report on the victim (18 years young and recently enlisted in the Marines. That broke my heart.) and the recently troubled ride (what the cause was but I’ve been hearing in one report from Ohio it’s probably metal fatigue) things should return to normalcy. Although at this point the family of that young victim is filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

            https://youtu.be/u-Amfc8WRbI

            Just wondering, are you planning to update the KMG Fire Ball ride review page with the section that includes your article of the tragedy that took place at OSF last week? And if they want to talk about that ride they can comment only on that page. Although the comments section on the ride reviews has been disabled too.

          • DoD3Brian says:

            I don’t know if I’ll update the page or make a separate post instead talking about it. If I do, it’ll be after the report comes out. I enabled comments again, however, as hits to that page have waned. That page was getting thousands of hits in the days after the accident.

  • Robert -Zipper Ridin' Karate Kid- Mata says:

    Wow over 1000 views?? That’s hard to imagine since no comments we’re posted since that OSF tragedy.

    Hey you planning on going to the Middlesex County Fair this year?

    • Robert -Zipper Ridin' Karate Kid- Mata says:

      *were

      *Stupid auto correct lol

    • DoD3Brian says:

      I closed the comments early on; it got like 5000 views the day after it happened. I don’t think I’ll be able to make it to Middlesex this year, but who knows.

      • Robert -Zipper Ridin' Karate Kid- Mata says:

        I might not make it this Saturday either. Forecast calls for PM rain, which could be in the late afternoon, evening, or throughout the night.

        And just recently reported that the OSF Fire Ball fatality was due to -Excessive Corrosion-
        http://www.carnivalwarehouse.com/brnews/newsarticle.asp?ID=1090#.WYioR6YQ2tQ.facebook

        • DoD3Brian says:

          Kind of what I thought happened after I saw the damage photos. Now we’ll see who gets the blame for it.

          I hope it’s all right on Saturday, I’m going to the State Fair that day with some family. Wunderground has a chance of a storm mid-day, but not some all day rain like today.

          • Robert -Zipper Ridin' Karate Kid- Mata says:

            At first I thought from watching that eyewitness video it was because the loading platform rose up while the ride was in action. And that ripped out the gondola beam apart. Though bottom line, it’s such a shame that happened. And glad the Dutch maker of the ride are taking preventative measures to make sure nothing like that ever happens again.

            Oh you’re talking about the one that farther up Northern NJ right?

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