Great Frederick Fair, MD 9/16 Time to Tango

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Tuesday, September 16, 2003 9:01 PM
My friend Alan and I had decided to go to the Great Frederick Fair in Maryland on Thursday, but as if he read my mind, he called me and we both decided that would be a bad idea with Hurricane Isabel due to arrive on Thursday. So, we went today, Tuesday, and it seemed everyone else in the entire city of Frederick had the same idea. Reithoffer Shows was the provider of the rides. After paying $5 to park, and $5 admission, I walked into an extremely crowded carnival.

I was first to arrive, and told Alan I’d meet him at the Zipper (our whole reason for going, since they always have a no single rider policy), except for one problem. They didn’t have a Zipper. What self-respecting carnival doesn’t have a Zipper? So I called him back and arranged a new meeting at the Huss Flipper called "Tornado". As I’m walking in that direction I see something that brightens my day, and the whole midway. “The Tango is here!”, I exclaim. “No way!”, he says. He’s been trying to chase down the Tango, since Reithoffer was down by the The Pentagon in spring. I’ve also been quite eager to ride it myself. More on this later.

While I wated at Tornado, I noticed vomit next to one of the trashcans. This would not be the only time someone spewed. Next, while the ride came to a finish, someone spewed again. Thank goodness I had my back turned while I sat on a bench. Everyone in line made it seem like the girl had spewed projectile vomit. Finally Alan showed up, and I showed him where to to get the Pay One Price option, which included a $2 off discount with Coke can. I think it came to $11.

Being the flat ride junkies that we are, we naturally picked Tornado as our first ride. For those not familiar with the actions of the Huss Flipper (this is the only one I’ve ever seen), it’s basically the evil cousin of the popular Breakdance. Each car seats four instead of two, and they rotate back and forth like a Breakdance. The twist is that all the cars are attached to a platform that rises at a steep angle that spins also. We were flipping back and forth like mad, and soon we were starting to wonder if the operator was smoking dope, or had died, as the ride cycle kept going on and on and on. If I had to take a guess, we were on there for six minutes! No wonder people were getting sick.

We next got into line for the KMG Tango, again, not a ride that’s going to be a staple in most carnival operators stables. The lighting package is awesome for starters, and the ride motion is simply beautiful to watch. Some parts of the cycle truly look like a choreographed dance. With three arms seating eight people each, we were a bit peeved to notice several seats out of order (later on, I looked at the ride computer which was displaying a message-lapbar failure contact KMG. Reassuring, huh?). The first thing you notice about the seat is that it doesn’t look comfortable-at all. Sitting down on what KMG likes to call a seat you instantly notice that it hurts, mainly in the crotch area, since you are being held off the ground. There is a metal footbar to relieve some of the tension, but your feet slide right off of it. The harness system is not exactly comfortable either. There is a vest under the metal frame, but it’s not the greatest either. Lastly, a metal bar coming off of the harness clicks right around your crotch. How could a company who made such a comfortable seat as seen on the Afterburner/Revolution, make such a uncomfortable seat? Did someone try it out ahead of time?

So you’re probably wondering about the ride itself. It’s crazy. You are so high off the ground. It’s kind of like a Zamperla Power Surge on steroids, even though the ride motions aren’t exactly alike. The flanks spin over, while the main arm turns at high revolution. Than like a Power Surge, the main boom starts to spin also. The best part of the ride is when the ride motion goes backwards. The cycle isn’t overally long, but not short either. If it weren’t for the seating and harnesss, I’d rate it much higher. Having all that weight on your crotch doesn’t feel good. Zamperla has a new ride called “Shocker” that looks to be identical to the Tango, and I’d like to see what they do with it.

As for the rest of the evening, we did two rerides on Tornado, with one cycle clocking in at 4:15. Since there was pratcially no line, we hit the ever boring Chance Inverter. They had one dark ride that had at least one good scare. It wasn’t Knoebels Haunted House, but what is? We also rode a Chance Yo-Yo that didn’t Yo-Yo (a swing ride that usually goes in and out as it rotates around), and back for another spin on the Tango, which didn’t seem as scary as the first time. Our last ride was what I would like to call “the mistake”. It was the Larsen High Roller (also known as Crazy Train).

A ride not for the claustrophobic, you’re stuck in one of the triangle-shaped cars on a short “train” that travels around a tight oval track. Oh, by the way, the oval track flips over while the train traverses the course. You have absolutely no clue what is going on, and all references to up, down, or sideways are gone. You’re also sliding around the whole time. Both Alan and myself came off going “We’re done for the night”. If you’ve ever had that “If I get on one more spin n’ spew, it’ll be all over the ground”, that’s what we were both feeling.
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