TR: State Fair of Texas
Dates: October 17-18
Weather: In the upper eighties both days
Crowds: absolutely packed
During the last weekend of the State Fair of Texas, I had the chance to go for the last weekend on both Saturday and Sunday. I had free tickets both days so was able to attend. Rather than give you an account of what happened on both days, I am going to review each ride that I rode and talk about my impressions. The midway was jammed with people so I decided not to ride as much as I usually do. New this year was the KMG Tango acquired from Cannobie Lake by Kyle Wisdom. I got on it and got right back off; I would rather keep my crotch, thank you very much. I didn't even experience the ride; the restraint cage was enough to convince me not to. There was also a Fabbri Hard Rock, which is a rare ride from what I understand. I did not go on it this year either. So here we go.
Pirate: Huss Pirate Boat. I had not ridden a pirate ship in about 15 years. Back in 1996, I rode this very pirate ship and was so scared after riding it that eventually after a few more years of riding the one at SFOT, I steered clear of them. I decided to give this one another go and rode it three times over the two trips. Because of the crowds, the cycles were not very long and the boat didn't achieve maximum height. All I got were minor hints of airtime, with one small pop on my first ride on Sunday. The loading of the Huss versions is amazingly fast from my observations of this one. I rode it to get a recording of it for a friend of mine but I wound up loving it. I'll be riding these things again, though my favorite ones are the looping ship rides like the Kamikaze.
Tornado: Wisdom Tornado. I rode this once. Our fair makes an error by putting this ride in the kids area. I was allowed to ride by myself so as to not alarm kids by going really fast. The Tornado never disappoints.
Hurricane: KMG Fun Factory. This is not your average Tilt-a-Whirl. First off, it is KMG's take on the Waltzer, the European style of the Tilt. Each rider has an individual seat with a group lapbar over everyone that locks into place. The operator powers the whole ride, so no leaning in to spin your car. But you don't need to. I call this the "Tilt-a-Whirl on crack" because of its fast spinning at up to 18 rpm. We don't even have a Tilt at this fair anymore; we haven't had one in a few years. Who needs a regular Tilt when we have this?
Disk-O: Zamperla Disk-O. This was my first ride on one of these and I was really impressed. I compare the motion to a playground teeter-totter or seesaw that can spin as well. The feeling is great. I didn't ride this for a while because I didn't think I'd feel safe on it, but I need not have worried.
New York, New York: new 4-story funhouse. I have been a funhouse fanatic for 12 years. This was, by far, the best funhouse I have ever been in. This was a refurbishment of an older funhouse called the King's Circus, which I have talked about before. It is an entirely new experience. A nice thing they did with the new one is to put the rolling barrel right at the entrance, putting a bypass path next to it. The climax of this funhouse is the 4-story tunnel slide down the side. Despite taking a nasty fall on one of the rollerwalks, it was a great experience. In all fairness, I am hearing-impaired as well as blind. My dad was trying to yell at me that the rollers were coming, but the music was so loud that I could not hear him so I fell flat on my back. It was a hard fall, but I'm ok. It isn't going to detract me from going through that again. It was seriously an amazing funhouse; I complimented the attendants on what a phenomenal job Myers had done refurbishing the King's Circus.
Big Cahuna: Chance Thunderbolt. This ride just got refurbished with a new sound system and probably new lights. I am a huge fan of this ride and ride it every time I see it at a carnival. I don't ride the Musik Express-style rides; I prefer the Flying Bobs-type ones with the swinging cars. The operator ran this in both directions and did an amazing job. The only major pet peeve I have is that the headrest is nothing more than a bunch of metal bars.
Windsurf: Zamperla Suspended Windshear. This is Zamperla's version of the Suspended Top Spin. The water jets were turned off when I rode it; what a bummer. This ride is always great, however my restraint loosened during the finale of the ride when we were held at the top upside-down. I held on by my arms but could not hold on for long. Thankfully the ride came back down and we were let off. Due to the crowds, this ride was not running the program I am used to. When I go during the week when the midway is not crowded, I get a few more flips in both directions and a long stint with the water at the end. However, I was glad to be back on the ground when my restraint popped loose. It did not go all the way up, which is a good thing. And before anyone asks, on this ride, they don't swing you through the water. They raise you up to the top while upside-down, then spray the water at you just out of your reach. However, if you have long arms, you can stick your hands in the water. I always like to splash people as I have long arms that can reach the fountain.
Windstorm: SDC Windstorm. This is the Windstorm formerly located at Fun Forest in Seattle. This is another must-ride for me and it never disappoints. The big spiral drop in the middle of the ride is a great touch and the ride is run with no brakes. Unfortunately they were only running two cars so the wait was long. This ride is normally very efficient.
Storm: Wisdom Storm. Another favorite of mine. This one was running a typical ride cycle for this ride, but the operator was incredibly enthusiastic. I wasn't going to ride this but opted to because his spiel attracted me.
Wave Swinger: Zierer Wave Swinger. Another favorite of mine, this one was running a shorter cycle than usual due to the crowds. However, we got some good action in and it seemed to be running a little bit faster.
Scary Park: Bill Tracy dark ride. This ride was formerly known as Lumalusion but was redone in 2012. I always ride this when I go to the fair; no trip is complete without it. This year they had shut most of the internal music off, leaving only one room with music in it. Still a great ride.
Overall, I would have enjoyed the midway more if it had not been so crowded. However, due to me being sick on the weekday I was to go originally, the weekend was the only thing I could do. There were rides that I skipped that I have ridden before, including the Reverchon Crazy Mouse (reopened after the wheel flew off), the Kamikaze, Magnum, and Techno Power. Zillerator, Butler Amusements's Pinfari Zyklon, has been refurbished and is now called Supernova. I didn't get a chance to ride it. I hope to ride the Fabbri Hard Rock at some point in the future, as well as the Zamperla Air Race that Playworld brings. We left the fair literally hours before it closed for the year. I'm glad I was able to go as I had been unable to go last year.
Thanks for reading.
Nice report. It's always a treat to hear from someone who is a flat ride enthusiast as well.
And what?... No Bubble House?
Nice TR John, thanks.
Got to see Big Tex on a trip one year, but the Fair wasn't open yet.
Always somewhat surprised that Puyallup has managed to keep its wooden coaster running for so many years, yet Comet couldn't stick around in Texas...
Why is the fun house called New York, New York? Your report didn't mention any theming. Is it themed to the city?
I may have an answer of sorts, and I don't think it's the exact one, but I imagine it would look something like this:
John Moore indicates the funhouse is a re-do (repaint, most likely) of the big King's Circus funhouse:
I've been through King's Circus several times, it always played the Florida State Fair, and he's right- there can be some challenging moments. The worst for me is the spiral slide, it's like a skinny piece of rotini they expect me to ride through. I love real funhouses, though, and always try any I run across.
Thanks everyone. I did not do the Bubble House this year; I have done that one before. The funhouse is called New York, New York because of sparse theming, or so I understand. THere are pictures of the NYC skyline on it apparently. Like I said, the King's Circus is no more. And hey, the spiral slide is one of the highlights for me.
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