Event: New Jersey State Fair
Where: Sussex County Fairgrounds; Augusta, NJ
The New Jersey State Fair is a ten day event starting on August 1st, every year. The Fair showcases extensive 4-H exhibits, a horse show, motocross events, vendors, and rides. I left for my cousin’s place at around 11:20am and arrived at around 12:00pm. From there my two cousins and I drove about 45 minutes to the fairgrounds. Parking was free, admission was $11 and the POP wristband was $19 bucks and only lasted until 6pm! Me, a verified ‘el cheapo,’ didn’t like that too much. The midway boasted a load of rides, and the fair had countless attractions. The lineup was as follows…
- Power Surge
- Wild Claw (a KMG Fireball)
- Fireball (the Ring of Fire ride)
- Musik Express
- Tidal Wave (a Thunderbolt)
- Avalanche (a weirdly themed Miami ride)
- Big Wheel
- Pharaoh’s Fury
- Bumper Cars
- A few funhouses
- A dark ride
- A myriad of kiddie rides
- Many games of chance
- Tons of barnyard animals
- Countless 4-H exhibits
- A crapload of vendors
We decided to start off small and hopped on the Tidal Wave. This was a themed Thunderbolt that looked pretty nice…but ran like total garbage. Most Thunderbolt rides give awful rides, but this was worse. It was like the arm holding the car was riding over potholes or something. On one side was an awful bump that would literally toss us around in the seat. Why I even still ride Thunderbolts, I’ll never know…maybe I’m waiting for the rare ‘good’ one.
Ok, screw starting off small, next up was the Power Surge; one of the few ‘spectacular’ rides originally conceived by Zamperla. The ride isn’t exactly fast, but the combined motion of the rotating arm, spinning wheel, and sideways flipping cars makes for some weird sensations. At the end the ride op put the brakes on as the ride lowered, leaving our car tilted more than sideways as we lowered to the ride platform. That wasn’t too comfortable!
Next up was a ride that I have never seen in person before, the Storm. This new age Hustler ride made by Wisdom is about as fast as rides come. The main platform, platform holding the cars, and the cars all spin in the same direction in a mechanized dance of doom. The ride wasn’t all that spectacular since there’s no randomness to it. If the cars could free spin, then the ride would be awesome. Now, if you ever wanted to know what the outside would look like while on a Gravitron, this ride probably covers it. All I could see while riding were the people in from of me sitting stationary with everything in the background speeding by in a blur. The ride lasted about 1:30 minutes which was way too long I thought; they should have at least slowed it down and then brought it back up to speed. By the end I had a bit of a headache…gah.
To recover from the Storm, we walked around a little, checking out some of the 4-H stuff. There was a sheep, or some sort of animal, competition. Their owners trotted them past the judge and then stood them in a line while the judge did something or other. A couple animals attempted to escape their owners grasp, I guess they lost…I don’t know. Next we walked past the pigs, all of which were going to be sent off to market after being showcased. Poor pigs…I do love a good rack of ribs though. At this point I also took the time to get something to eat. I got two slices of pizza and a soda…it cost $11 dollars…damn them.
We soon headed back over to the rides. I believe we went on the Tilt-a-Whirl at this point, which was surprisingly fun. I haven’t been on a Tilt-a-Whirl in quite a few years and never really thought much of them. This one in particular was pretty smooth and spun pretty fast. We headed over to some dark ride next. I didn’t think it was going to be good and, of course, I was right. I actually forget what happened during it because it was so mediocre.
Next up was the Orbiter, always a nice addition to a fair. This one looked nearly identical to the one at the State Fair Meadowlands. It spun really damn fast and had the canned mic-man recording going all out with its random phrases. Near the end of the cycle, with the ride still going at full bore, the recording said “do you wanna go faster?!” Any faster would have been painful I think!
After the Orbiter I we all went on the Yo-Yo, a weird Chance Rides swing ride and the #10 White Trash Carnie Ride on my list. As with the Tilt-a-Whirl, it’s been some time since I’ve been on a Yo-Yo. This one didn’t tilt so I didn’t get the full Yo-Yo effect, but it was still fun. The ride cycle was pretty long as well, which isn’t too uncommon for most Yo-Yo rides I’ve seen.
Right next to the Yo-Yo was the Musik Express, or some type of Himalaya ride. It ran for about two minutes and went very fast. I think I remember it starting backwards as well which is just a bit odd. Unfortunately I was made to sit with one of my cousins who got the outermost seat. I had to hold onto the side to prevent crushing him into the side…because I know how that feels!
After this, one of my cousins and I went on the Zipper; passing this up would have been a sin I think. The ride operator was very animated and actually almost seemed a bit drunk. However he secured everything correctly and operated the ride in a safe manner so I guess he was functional in some way. In any event, we got the best Zipper ride we have ever been on. Within the first twenty seconds we must have flipped ten or more times; it was hard to tell. During one memorable moment, our car flung over the top and we were launched up into the lapbar as the car rushed towards the ground face first; talk about a rush! There must have been two seconds of solid airtime as we were pointed in some sort of unnatural direction.
It was nearing 6pm so we finished with the Zipper and went off to check out more exhibits and vendors. One of my favorite 4-H exhibits is the arts and crafts. Some photos/drawings are good, but there’s a lot of crap ones as well. I just love walking about and making fun of photos, even though it’s a terrible thing to do. This one kid painted a red splatter and won first place for their age group; I almost shit when I saw that. I guess it was better than the scribbles mixed with snots and saliva though. I need to submit something to a 4-H fair and see how I fare.
We also stopped to check out the cars at the car show. Among the cars was a cool silver Corvette Stingray, my favorite car. They even had a ‘punch buggy’ (the old Beetle) thrown in there! Awesome! We headed up to the show area where we caught a dog show with dogs doing tricks. It was kind of funny since the first dog didn’t want to do the trick. The show wasn’t bad though; they even had a dog riding a mini three wheeler. We stopped by at a chainsaw artist’s stand for a bit as well. I don’t know how someone can do such detailed pieces with something as bulky as a chainsaw.
The vendors were selling a variety of things. Many had clothing or jewelry, some had spas, another was selling real estate and so on. This one vendor was selling hot sauces; I had to take a look. I have a little wall of hot sauces, so I picked up a bottle of “Kick Yo’ Ass” hot sauce …a nice addition I think. I contemplated getting the Mad Dog .357 hot sauce, but decided that I would probably end up hurting myself with it!
Later on we looked at some of the horses in the stables. The horses were like the size of SUVs and their heads were like battering rams. My cousin asked me if I would be scared to be in one of the pens with them and I answered a resounding ‘yes.’ I could be stepped on, attacked, trampled, squashed, bitten, bashed through the wall or even crapped on; I’d take a pass on that.
My older cousin had some tickets left so we all went on the Tilt-a-Whirl again. This time I managed to spin the car like crazy by shifting my weight in and out of the hills. I had to stop though since I knew both of them were prone to motion sickness. After the Tilt, we had 7 tickets left; my cousin decided to just give them away but I asked for six to ride Wild Claw. Wild Claw is a KMG Fireball with a very appropriate name. The ride was insanely short and the load time was way too long. Still, it’s hard to not have fun on one of these rides and this one did swing pretty darn high.
We left the fair at around 11pm. The ride back was pretty traffic-less once out of the area of the fair. My trip back saw some average traffic on the Garden State Parkway and basically nothing on I-78. Yay!