Event: New Jersey State Fair
Where: Augusta, NJ
Primary ride operator: Reithoffer Shows
The New Jersey State Fair occurs every August up in the boondocks of New Jersey (aka Sussex County.) Many may associate New Joizee (a pronunciation rarely heard around here, contrary to popular belief) with factories, toxic sludge, and urban jungle habitat; well…take a trip up to the State Fair and you’ll find yourself in semi-rural farmland complete with livestock and silos.
There was a threat of rain on the day my cousins and I planned on going; un-deterred, we ventured up to Bizarro World…err, Sussex County. Parking was free, however admission was $11 with $19.99 for a pay on price wristband that was valid until 6pm. The fair wasn’t too crowded at all and we decided to hit the rides first due to the threat of rain. Here’s the ride/attraction lineup:
- Sky Flyer
- Wild Claw (KMG Fireball)
- Sling Shot (a drop tower)
- Power Surge
- Super Himalaya
- Tidal Wave (a Chance Thunderbolt)
- Avalanche (a Miami type ride)
- Fireball (Larson version)
- Pharaoh’s Fury
- Starship 3000
- Bumper Cars
- A dark ride or two
- Some fun houses
- Fun Slide
- A myriad of kiddie rides
- A crapload of games
- Lots and lots of vendors
- Several shows
- 4-H stuff
We hopped on the Tilt-a-Whirl first as it was in the process of loading and were treated to a three or so minute ride. I tried my best to get the car spinning wildly but just couldn’t get it going for more than four spins or so. Next we walked down the midway, passing up Storm and opting for Sky Flyer instead. I was pleasantly surprised by this ride; I mean, it’s basically a swing ride but the added height and speed make It a lot of fun! Something I thought was weird was that the tower itself rotates to spin the swings instead of the frame holding the swings like most normal swing rides.
Next up was Power Surge, which gave a neutered ride with the revolving arm motion turned off. That sort of sucked but the ride was still pretty good with a lot of car flipping. After Power Surge, we got in line for the adjacent Super Himalaya; a large Bertazzon Himalaya. This Himalaya ride went both forwards and backwards and went pretty damn fast as well! The ride ops also gave a pretty long cycle with the ride totaling about four minutes.
Once off, we walked across the path and right onto Avalanche, an older looking Miami type ride. I’m not much of a Miami/Moby Dick or whatever you want to call them fan anymore and this one didn’t really wow me other than its retro-tastic design. One thing I can’t stand about these rides is that the harnesses come down way to hard for the type of ride it is; I at least want to come off my seat, you know. The ride lasted about two and a half minutes, which is just fine for this ride.
Our next ride was some track based dark ride; it commanded the longest line of the day at three carloads, or about two minutes. As with most traveling dark rides around here, it was pretty sub par. I don’t think many of the props really moved, most just lit up while making their presence known with a buzzer or ringing bell that you’d hear back in in school…that certainly is scary I guess. After that we jumped on Sizzler and got a pretty long and fast cycle.
Now here’s the fun part: with a large greyish/black storm cloud approaching the fair, we decided to hop on the ferris wheel. I think this was a Chance manufactured Century Wheel, it was a good height, but not too big and used gondolas with a roof portion. After leisurely ride and waiting to be unloaded, the rain starts…and becomes a steady rain really quick.
When it was our section’s turn to unload, the ride op said, “you all look like you want to go around some more” and proceeded to run the ride some more. About 1.5 turns in, the rain basically became torrential and the ride op finally let us all off three turns later. Soaked, everyone exited the ride and most, including us, ran under the adjacent awning of a game stand. I was a little ticked at first because I had a backpack with my cameras in it, but nothing got wet at all.
We waited under the awning for a bit until the rain let up, at which point we walked to the other end of the fair to check out the 4H stuff while the rides dried out. On the way it started to rain again, picking up extremely quickly. We dashed into an open air building housing cows and their owners to wait out the real storm. It was a pretty good one too, not too much lightning but the amount of rain was incredible! We were stuck with the cows for about 20 minutes before it cleared up enough to walk around without getting soaked again. We ended up walking around for about 2 hours, looking at the agricultural exhibits, horse show, and grabbing some overpriced food (9 bucks for a slice of pizza, small fries, and a soda!) Here’s some pictures complete with captions when you click on them…
Back at the midway we hopped on Sky Flyer again, then made our way around the midway to Sling Shot an ARM drop tower I think. The ride takes its time to build up air pressure in order to launch the car, letting passengers sweat it out a bit. The launch itself was really, really abrupt and forceful with no speed up at all; it was like 0 to35 or 40mph in 1/8 of a second. Instead of falling back down, the car is then hoisted up to the top where it drops back down to the loading platform. It was OK, but not as good as an S&S tower of the same height.
Next was Wild Claw, a KMG Fireball type ride. For some reason they didn’t have the claw spinning which gave sort of a bland ride I thought. Afterwords we got on Zipper, after waiting around for another two riders (they were only running rides if they have four or more riders on.) Zipper was absolutely great as usual; through the entire ride we were actively rocking the car resulted in our car doing sets of front flips for lengthy stretches. The final ride was Orbiter, which was in fact the same Orbiter from the Meadowlands Fair, complete with canned mic man! They gave a short ride but it was a pretty fast one as well.
We decided to stop riding rides at this point and focus on everything else; we certainly got on a lot, unlike our trip to the Meadowlands Fair. We checked out the rabbit/chicken building where basically every animal had a ribbon on their cage. Then we checked out some of the shows including the Kountry K-9 dog show; a show that I actually wanted to see again! Hey, where else can you see a dog riding a three wheeler? We also checked out a small outdoor animal/circus act called Wambold’s circus. It wasn’t too bad, but more serious than the aforementioned Kountry K-9.
After that we walked around the vendor stands, which there were a lot of. My cousins each bought a shirt while I got a bottle of hot sauce at one of the stands. At one point we decided to look in this Noah’s Ark looking trailer; big mistake as we got roped into talking to one of the Creationist preachers for like 30 minutes. I wanted to say something when he started mixing conspiracy theory into what he was saying, but I decided not to because I didn’t want to be stuck there for three hours; I mean. It was bad enough already since one of my cousins was wearing a Lamb of God band shirt!
We left the fair at around 10:30pm and drove around the dark ass back roads in getting back to the highway.