This is one of those fairs that just seems to slip by me. Apparently the last time I went was in 2009 which is insane since it didn’t feel like it was that long at all. Even more insane is that I actually managed to miss this fair two years in a row when it’s an amazingly painless, less that 20 minute back-road drive from my place. Even more insane is that this carnival just marked it’s 46th year; basically it’s been going on since well before I was born and I never knew about it until 2008. Amazing. To make up for all this I went to the fair twice, once on a Thursday and once on Saturday for the fireworks. The fair had…
- Ferris Wheel
- Sooper Jet (kiddie coaster)
- Helicopters (Herschell)
- A load of kiddie rides
- Rows of games
- A plethora of foodstuffs
- Some vendors and military recruiters
McDaniel Brothers Shows was running the midway this year, as were they in past visits. Screamer, an ARM manufactured High Flyer ride, was the only inverting ride at the fair. It was placed right along the road making it obvious that a fair was occurring at that location. The ride had a mostly white color scheme with sequenced lighting on the arm which made it look very nice at night. The riding compartment itself had two floodlights pointed at it and some running lights along the bottom.
To the right was Hustler, one of those Watkins teacup/scrambler hybrids; although you wouldn’t have known the name if you didn’t already know the ride as it had no signage at all. The ride did look great though with multi-colored striped tubs along and multi-colored turbos on the outside of the tubs but man, it revolved so slowly. Slow enough to where the tubs wouldn’t even spin when changing direction. I’ve heard that the Watkins Tempest, basically Hustler tilted on an angle, has problems with drive chains breaking when stopped too quickly so perhaps that’s the reason for running this ride slowly. On the first night I went this ride had a couple of speakers set up playing random music, mostly grunge rock and hip-hop. That’s an, uh…interesting selection.
An ARM manufactured Quasar sat in the corner of the midway next to Hustler. This ride has been redone since the last time I saw it and it looked simply amazing. It had lavender sweeps with yellow cars and an orange lifting mechanism. Lighting consisted of wildly flashing green, yellow, white and orange turbos. However, like with Hustler, this ride just was not running as fast as it should be. The first night I went it was spinning at like 60% of it’s normal speed, the second it must have been about 40%…it was crawling. Compare with 2008/2009 when this ride was flying with cars swinging totally sideways. Like Hustler this ride also had music, mostly playing what the ride ops wanted to hear it seemed.
Next up was a Watkins Swinger, complete with “Swinger” signage on top of the sweeps. It had yellow and blue turbos on the sweeps with red white and blue on the center. Next to that was an Eli Bridge ground mounted Scrambler. Pretty utilitarian looking with silver cars and sweeps along with blue accents here and there. Lighting consisted of white florescent tubes on the sweeps with some decorative pieces on the ends of the sweeps. Again, this ride featured music with the ride op playing ‘Hells Bells’ by ACDC while I was snapping photos.
To the right was a Wisdom manufactured Gravitron. The riding compartment had multi-colored turbos with red lights around the edges; the flash on the side had some stock lighting. The flash itself was yellow…and that’s all it was! Kind of looked like a piece of construction equipment with all that yellow. At the end of the midway was an Eyerly Octopus and a Fun Slide. Octopus had an interesting blue and yellow color scheme going on, a departure from the black sweeps Octopus rides typically sport. The trend of making non-music rides into music rides continued as this too played music and was playing ‘Man in the Box’ by Alice in Chains among other things. Now that’s Octopus music! Right? With all these interesting musical choices I was waiting for ‘Killing in the Name’ by Rage Against the Machine to pop up on the Merry-Go-Round.
In the middle of all the kiddie rides was a cable driven Eli Bridge wheel. It had white lights in the center with a red and white color scheme along with multi-colored cars. As far as games it seemed like everything that was at the Corpus Christi carnival showed up at this fair. Also present were a couple balloon dart games, a coin pitch and a shoot out the star game. On the final night of the fair there were fireworks that started at about quarter after 10pm. I was going to watch them from the fairgrounds but decided to leave the actual fair area and watch from the area closest to Mountain Ave.
And here’s a video of Screamer