State Fair Meadowlands is the largest fair in New Jersey, no questions asked. I’ve been doing trip reports on this fair since 2005 but have gone several times before that, probably as far back as 1996 or so when I was just a youngin’. I went to the 2019 edition of the fair on two nights: once on June 27th to get photos and videos, and a second time with relatives on July 5th to take in the fair and ride the rides. Speaking of, they were once again brought in by Amusements of America and Strates Shows, along with a sprinkling of independent operators. The fair had…

  • Spectacular & Major Rides
    • Crazy Mouse
    • Enterprise
    • Zyklon
    • Pirate
    • Free Fall
    • Zipper
    • Sky Ride
    • Fireball (Larson Super Loop)
    • Giant Wheel (Strates Shows)
    • Giant Wheel (Amusements of America)
    • Orbiter
    • Wave Swinger
    • Zero Gravity
    • Musik Express
    • Himalaya
    • Polar Express
    • Thunderbolt
    • Starship 3000
    • Tilt-a-Whirl
    • Firestorm (Wisdom Tornado)
    • Scooter (Strates Shows)
    • Scooter (Amusements of America)
    • Cliffhanger
    • Vertigo
    • Sky Flyer
  • Family & Kiddie Rides
    • Super Slide (x2) 
    • Bear Affair
    • Bumble Bee
    • Silver Streak
    • Monster Truck
    • Double Deck Carousel
    • Flying Elephant
    • Family Swinger
    • Fire Chief
    • Frog Hopper
    • Go-Gators
    • Motorcycles (x2)
    • Quads
    • Waverunner
    • VW Bugs
    • Pop-A-Wheelie
    • Side by Side
    • Tractor
    • Jalopy Junction
    • Merry-go-Round
    • Min Himalaya
    • Mini Indy
    • Mini Tea Cups
    • Quad Runner
    • Red Baron
    • Rockin’ Tug
    • Wacky Worm
  • Dark Rides & Funhouses
    • King’s Circus
    • Cuckoo Haus
    • Crazy Outback
    • Mardi Gras
    • Haunted Mansion
    • Tomb of Doom
    • Unnamed Dark Ride
    • Raiders
    • Rainbow Rock
    • Pan’s Palace
    • Magic Maze
    • Monkey Maze
  • Entertainment & Attractions
    • Hypnotist Steve Bayner
    • Cycle Circus Live
    • Magician Jay Mattoli (6/20 – 6/29)
    • Extreme Illusions & Escapes (6/30 – 7/7)
    • Jungle Island High Dive Show
    • Jurassic Kingdom
    • Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show
    • Racing Pigs
    • Commerford’s Petting Zoo
    • Pony Rides
    • Bat Copter

The ride lineup was relatively similar to last year, but with a few more rides by Strates – seemingly covering for rides typically brought by Amusements of America. For instance, the Wave Swinger was Strates’ rather than AofA’s. Another switch out was Strates’ Thunderbolt in place of AofA’s Rock n’ Roll. Strates also had their Sky Flyer there, which was a new ride for the fair this year, but not new to the fair overall since it’s been there in the not-so-far past. Missing this year was Space Roller – owned independently so it just kind of goes where ever it’s booked in.

I went to the fair with some cousins on Friday, July 5th. This was a kind of discount day where admission/rides combo passes were reduced by a few bucks until 6:30pm or so. That, and the fact it fell in a nice four-day weekend opportunity made for a slightly more crowded midway, more than the average Friday night. It was not nearly as packed as a full fledged discount day, however.

We hopped on a few rides right off the bat with Haunted Mansion being the first. This was an Owen manufactured dark ride and I think it was owned by Strates. Pretty typical carnival haunted house with lots of hairpin turns and some props that lit up with a buzzer or electric bell.

Next up was Crazy Mouse, which had an almost full queue. Well, it would only get longer so we may as well wait now. It ended up being around 40 minutes…ack. Luckily we got a pretty good ride with like no trim brakes and all out spinning on the bottom half of the ride.

Himalaya was our next stop, an older Reverchon model owned by Strates Shows. I like these older models; they’re fast but not uncomfortably so, and have really snappy hills. The simple lapbar restraints are great too. No seatbelts, netting, or other junk, just a lapbar to grab onto (or not!)

We headed for King’s Circus next, a giant three story funhouse manufactured by Barbisan and independently owned by some company called Red Carpet Amusements. I was really looking forward to this but unfortunately almost all of the props weren’t working. The ride is actually bigger than I thought as each floor has a switchback type of layout. The top of the slide gave a nice view of the wheel. The slide itself probably would have been more fun if I was younger and shorter, heh.

The next ride was Wave Swinger which had a one cycle wait. Like I noted above, this is Strates’ piece and ran markedly faster than Amusement of America’s counterpart. After this we took the Sky Ride back to the front of the fair to get something to eat and watch some shows. On the way, we stopped at the petting zoo. I noticed that they didn’t have exotic animals this year, like the camel for instance, and that’s because NJ caved to the do-gooders late last year. I break pretty far to the left politically, but come on now.

We got a pizza pie from the Angela’s Pizza joint near the front of the fair and sat at one of the tables at the main stage for the Extreme Illusions and Escapes show. Like it says on the tin, it was a stage magic show focusing on illusions, mostly involving an assistant who was disassembled, skewerd, and divided through several tricks. The final illusion was a sword box trick where the magician invited anyone in the audience to come up to see how it was done (for a donation, that is.) After catching a bit of the Jurrasic show, we headed back for a couple more rides.

First was Strates’ Giant Wheel, the bigger of the two wheels at the fair. This had couple cycle line, although I may have accidentally cut in front of a line of people. I think some people were trying to take a picture and holding up the line while I waltzed up to platform steps. It was kind of like that scene in the Christmas Story where they walk up to the steps to see Santa Claus and comment on how the line isn’t too long before the guy behind them says “the line ends here, it starts back there.” My cousin raised the concern, but we were never called out on it. Oh well, lucky us! The wheel was running a quick cycle that night, only going around a few times before unloading; due to the crowds I’m sure.

The final ride was Thunderbolt, which looked really nice for a Chance Thunderbolt ride. It went forwards and backwards, seemingly faster in reverse. The car also swayed a lot even when we weren’t trying to make it rock; it actually hit the stops on a couple swings!

Before heading out, we watched the Steve Bayner hypnotist show, since it’s just not a trip to the Meadowlands without seeing his show. These hypnosis shows always depend on the participants, and he had a great group for the show we watched!

Here’s some photos:

And two videos; the first is a long video featuring rides and such, and the second is a condensed, music video version:



  • Javontay adkins says:

    Do you know who the tilt a whirl was owned by

  • Michael Mager says:

    Hopefully the pandemic will ease up for 2021 season. I miss making moves up and down the east coast with my carnival family. Nice page you got here. Keep up the good work. BTW I move a trabant, a hi roller, a sidewinder and a drop tower for inners shows out of Franklinton nc.

  • ami says:

    aww, do you still post on this blog? you should. idk y but i like this format better

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