Friday, August 19, 2005 11:42 AM
Woo-hoo!, it's officially carnival season. Like pulling teeth, I had been trying to get a list of the rides at the fair, which tend to vary slightly from year to year. The lady I emailed originally told me Strates, which was impossible since they were booked at another fair in New York. If there was nothing exciting, I wouldn't make the long drive from Baltimore to Gaithersburg (about half-way between D.C. and the intersection of I-70). I finally got through to one of the carnival vendors (more on that in a second), and like music to my ears I heard Streetfighter
Hell yes, I'm going, especially with a $15 wristband option. So I called my friend Matt, and treated him to his birthday present--a wristband--since you need two riders on a Zipper.
So we catch the shuttle bus from the mall across the street to avoid $8 parking, and I forget the stupid coupons to get the $15 wristband option. Luckily I got the lady to stop before we exited the mall parking lot. So, getting back onto another bus, we made our way over. After forking $7 to get in, we entered and lost more time trying to locate a mens room, which you would assume would be right next to the ladies room at the grandstands. Wrong.
As we are waiting in line to get the wristbands, I see a sign that says $15 wristbands, no coupon needed. What the hell? It's bad enough that the link to the radio station with the coupon was bad and that it took a while to find the correct one, but the coupon used a lot of black too. So now I had wasted expensive inkjet ink too.
The first order of the day was to ride Street Fighter, which is made by Technical Park of Italy. Matt said this Afterburner clone was really good, so I was excited. The seating is somewhat different though in that there isn't a lot of elbow room, but that's minor. I was not expecting to be blown away, but I totally was. The high swings lasted very long, and I was totally coming out of my seat on every one due to the harness design. I said "re-ride?", and Matt says he wants to do something a little bit mellower and we ride the Zipper instead:) We were the only two onboard and got quite a long ride. I love it that they run it forwards and backwards. I think it would be awesome if they make an open version with OTSRs, but the claustrophobia is part of its charm.
Walking around the carnival, I counted four different vendors-SMS, Blue Sky Shows, Jolly Shows, and a Musik Express supplied by Strates. I thought it was kind of odd for the amount of rides they had. We then went down one of the slides, but it wasn't that great since it wasn't greased up that well. We then hit Rip Tide, a sideways flying carpet, kind of like a Falling Star or Rainbow. I rode this two years ago, and it did absolutely nothing for me. Well, it was still lame. I don't know what it is, but it kind of feels forceless with no airtime. You do however get a nice view of the fairgrounds. I have no idea who makes it though. The first funhouse we went through was ok, but very short with a few moving parts along the way. Matt then hits the next funhouse, which has a hall of mirrors deal on the first floor. He was not allowed to ride down on the slide from the second floor however.
Running low on time, we get on the Paratrooper instead of the Cliff Hanger, since those can be found at most major carnivals anymore and offer similar motions. We then went back for two more trips on Street Fighter, and here's where I got greedy. Matt and I are both on the same wavelength and both say "Let's take another ride on the Zipper!" Afer another really long cycle, and then having to wait while other people are loaded, I looked down at my watch and said "Oh, crap, I have to be to work by 7pm in Timonium and it's 4:30pm." "Not only that, I still have to drop you off in Millersville (about 20 minutes from SFA)!" This is where all my years of working around the D.C. suburb areas pays off. Taking several roads that avoid 495-the Capitol Beltway-altogether, I manage to get to work 5 minutes late. It was like someone had ordered a national holiday as I never hit any bad traffic in any of the major known trouble spots along the way. Never again will I cut things so tight. Next stop: Maryland State Fair *** *** Edited 8/19/2005 5:12:15 PM UTC by Intamin Fan***
Friday, August 19, 2005 12:01 PM
Wow, they still have those fairgrounds there? I would have thought they'd be squeezed out by now to make room for ever expanding 355 and 270.
Friday, August 19, 2005 1:28 PM
It is amazing, but much like the Timonium Fairgrounds which lie below busy York Rd, they've managed to keep it going in spite of all the development going on around it. The Fair is the major fundraiser for the fairgrounds, as I believe it said all the money from the fair goes back into the fairgrounds.
Saturday, August 20, 2005 12:45 AM
I thought that Street Fighter was a Mondial ride. At the Texas State Fair, we have a ride called the Fighter, which is a Mondial Swinger that kicks butt. However, I heard some people calling it Street Fighter. Sounds like you had fun. I wish I could ride one of those sideways flying carpets. I've done a Rainbow, but nothing else.
Saturday, August 20, 2005 1:05 AM
We had an absolute blast, which is why I got such a late start heading back towards the Baltimore area. It was nice not having to fight through a wall of people to get to the rides, which has been my experience of late with carnivals due to pay one price options.
Street Fighter is definitely made by Technical Park, and I also saw the company nameplate. I hear you about trying out one of those sideways flying carpets. There are several companies making models that stay fairly low to the ground, as opposed to the Rainbows high swing. They are usually under manual control, so I bet they're fun.
Saturday, August 20, 2005 1:01 PM
Our county fair came and went. It was okay. This year set a record: The giant inflated cow got shot 12 times! (at least it wasn't stolen this year. )
No injuries from rides and the D&D was kept to a minimum with only 9 fist fights.
The rides were good. Plenty of quick-dry by the Zipper, chaos and roll-o-plane.
Saturday, August 20, 2005 3:28 PM
The Timonium Fair was really great last year. Living 2 minutes away from it, I can see progress every day, and the Zipper is up, so is the Ring of Fire, Wave, Swinger, and Ferris Wheel. I hope they have some of the rides they had last year like the drop ride from Fabbri and the Afterburner, and the Crazy Mouse. 2004 was was first year for those rides. *** Edited 8/21/2005 3:20:56 PM UTC by jeepguy1718***
Saturday, August 20, 2005 4:14 PM
Zippers rule! Me and my girlfriend at the time once got 36 flips in a row! Never seen anybody do that much. Many have tried...many have failed.
Saturday, August 20, 2005 5:14 PM
Hey, I went last monday, and yes, Street Fighter does rule, TONS of airtime.
Sunday, August 21, 2005 12:23 AM
KMG drop ride? Do you mean Fabbri? Since when have KMG made drop towers?
Sunday, August 21, 2005 3:26 PM
A couple of corrections about the rides at last years Timonium Fair. The drop ride was actually a Super Shot , which is made by A.R.M, a division of Larson International. And that wasn't an KMG Afterburner, but its little brother the Freak Out. I was suprised to see the rides that were already up yesterday when I was filling up with gas. I stopped back today and I could see Gravitron and Cliff Hanger in the same spots they've been in, but neither looked like they were set up. There's also a Musik Express, which I don't recall them having before. On my way home on I-695, I passed a truck carrying all the ticket booths. *** Edited 8/21/2005 7:35:31 PM UTC by Intamin Fan***
Tuesday, August 23, 2005 11:20 PM
They also had the same exact Alpine Bobs as SFA, but it wasn't SFA's ofcourse. But this one did travel backwards, which rocked!