Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

[SHOW THREAD] Memories from The County Fair & Summer Carnivals

Collapse
This is a sticky topic.
X
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • [SHOW THREAD] Memories from The County Fair & Summer Carnivals

    We are building a summertime nostalgia thread with this one. So shower me with stories and remembrances of summer days and nights at County Fairs and Carnivals.

    What weird, possibly dangerous rides do you remember?

    Memories of Strange Contests, like Pie-Eating or Husband-Calling contests.

    First dates? Fist fights? Miracles? Last summer before college? Douse me with memories of special foods, music, smells, and people from simpler times.

  • #2
    In my home town in West Virginia we actually had the state fair. It was fairly large and it was about the only big event that happened in the area so I have a ton of memories from attending. My first concert was at the state fair (not a good one but still counts!).
    However, the dangerous rides really brought back a memory. I went to some small county fair with my uncle and his family as a teenager. I was never a huge fair ride person because I thought the idea of a ride that can be taken down and put up so easily couldn’t be safe. He convinced me to go on one and I thought he was going with me, he chickened out at the last minute. It was a ride where you had a padded bar harness go over your torso inside of a cage that rocked and turned upside down as it went around like a Ferris wheel… the harness was supposed to snap down and not move as you went on the ride… mine didn’t work and it went down but it didn’t stay down. The whole ride I had to physically hold the harness in place and pray it didn’t fling up or I slide out. I held on for dear life and thankfully there was no serious injuries other than minor muscle strain. I haven’t been on a fair ride since and stand by my belief that how can a ride be safe that can be so easily broken down and reinstalled. Thanks for the memories.
    PS state fairs are the best for locally raised foods from FFA.

    Comment


    • #3
      Every year when I was young on the 4th of July there would be a family picnic . Calumet City always had a big celebration for the 4th of July.. The day would start off with a parade, families would dress up in a red, white and blue theme, we would decorate our bicycles with streams of crepe paper, wear Uncle Sam hats, we would be given our spot and ride in the parade, along with the school bands and convertibles carrying politicians and beauty queens contestants. After the parade we would meet at this park that had a carnival every year, I can't remember the name of it now it seems so long ago. My mother would make fried chicken, there were all types of salads and desserts. My Grandfather would bring ice cream cups in a cooler with dry ice. It wasn't until lunch was over that we could finally go to the carnival. Aunt's and Uncles & Grandfather would make sure everyone had a few quarters to spend as we wished, while they stayed behind to lay on blankets and relax or sit at the picnic tables enjoying some time without children playing cards. There were 16 of us cousins who would run off in different directions into the carnival area. The smell of popcorn and elephant ears filled the air, the colorful cotton candy spun in brilliant colors onto paper cones. The music from the rides trilled in the air, and people were laughing or screaming depending on the ride. There were games to play like mouse, I think it was called. There was a big spinning wheel with holes large enough for the mouse to run into when let go. You would have a series of numbers in front of you, you would put your coin on a set and if the mouse ran into your number you would win a prize, not like today when you go to a county fair, but there were batons, and glittery walking sticks, chalk ware, and huge stuffed animals, you could pick what you liked best. I didn't like to ride the rides, but would get talked into one and then regret it. Once, it was on a ride called The Scrambler, it went in circles and also the individual seats would spin. You would sit down and they'd come around and lock all the bars. and you would hold on for dear life. Didn't enjoy it at all. We would stay at the carnival until just before dark. We knew we had better go back to the picnic before then. Once everyone was gathered together again, we'd settle down on blankets and wait for the fireworks to begin. The carnival would shut down, and turn off the lights. We knew the fireworks were about to start with patriotic music filling the air then you would hear that first loud boom, and the sky would be filled with color raining down. This was my favorite part of the day. We would go home exhausted but happy.

      Comment


      • MariaE
        MariaE commented
        Editing a comment
        I really loved this. It gave me a huge smile imaging the wonderful day!

      • CatsAGas
        CatsAGas commented
        Editing a comment
        Had cousins who lived in Calumet City! Small world!

      • SannR
        SannR commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you. I enjoyed writing this, my memories of my childhood are few, but this one was one that stayed with me.

    • #4
      In prison we would have a "yard day", we would be given tickets for corn on the cob, ice cream, and watermelon and you could get burgers or chicken. They parked a Schwan's truck in the middle of the yard and took the Schwan's guys keys, of course.
      when the gates opened everybody in five units approximately 1500 prisoners made a bee line to the Schwan's truck to get our ice cream... but from his view he thought we were coming for the truck. He panicked and the CO'S had to take the guy to the administration building. 30 minutes later he's back but his Schwan's uniform was strangely odd. When they took him to the administration building it was so he could change because he pissed himself. They got him some pants from our quartermaster. He went from tan to prison blue... I guess you had to be there.

      Comment


      • Cavetoad
        Cavetoad commented
        Editing a comment
        Oh I laughed hard at this one!

      • MariaE
        MariaE commented
        Editing a comment
        You would think they would have mentally prepared the poor guy. It was a great visual.

    • #5
      When I was young, I always looked forward to the County Fair every year. My grandparents owned a cattle ranch in Southern Colorado, very rural. It was where I spent most of my summers. The fair was a time to get together with the kids I rarely ever got to see. When I was 12 or 13, I had this friend named Tate, country wild as I'd ever seen. While everyone was watching the rodeo, we'd decided to sneak off and hang out on the Midway,. He had found a pint Jack Daniels under the seat in his old man's pick up and figured we should drink it. I'd never had liquor before, sounded like a good idea at the time. The rodeo had come and gone and we were no where to be found. Hours had passed. Worried we'd been snatched up, my mom got ahold of the sheriff. It didn't take long for him to find us passed out in a livestock barn. We were hand-cuffed, roughed up a little, tossed into the back of a cruiser, and dropped off to our waiting parents in the parking lot. A 1970's style ass-whooping ensued right then and there.
      Last edited by JohnnyNada; 03-15-2023, 01:22 AM.

      Comment


      • MariaE
        MariaE commented
        Editing a comment
        Sounds like classic punishment and classic shenanigans

      • JohnnyNada
        JohnnyNada commented
        Editing a comment
        Ha! Yeah, the good old days. Wouldn't trade a minute out for that one.

    • #6
      I grew up in the 70s-80s in a small Midwestern town south of Chicago, Mokena (Mo-kee-nah). Every year we'd have a carnival come to town at the local park for Independence Day. They had some fun games like throwing darts at balloons, the strongman game and pick a ducky out of the water for a prize... There was one food trailer set up that had all kinds of treats... popcorn, cotton candy, corndogs... The park's ball field also had a concession stand that was open to buy candy, etc. For rides, they had a Ferris wheel, Tilt-a-whirl, Octopus, kiddie rides... A song I distinctly remember them playing at the Octopus ride was B52s 'Rock Lobster.' It came out in 1979 but wasn't popular at the time... but I remember it! It was re-released in 1986 and when I sang along with it at a wedding reception, my friends wondered how I knew it. Told them I had heard it back in HS at the carnival... they didn't believe me. It wasn't until years later that I was vindicated when I found that it had, in fact, been released originally in 1979. (Sorry about the huge font and blue... easier for my eyes to see!)
      Last edited by CatsAGas; 03-09-2023, 10:06 PM.

      Comment


      • BoDizzle
        BoDizzle commented
        Editing a comment
        Don't be sorry about the font - I was admiring it (and contemplating emulation).

    • #7
      As teenagers, a friend and I went to the Dane County Fair. We got a day pass, and had a great time on the rides. We were there all day, and had tickets to see Heart that night at the Coliseum, which was right next to the fairgrounds. It was such a hot day that we walked across the causeway to the Sheraton Hotel to escape the heat. We got in the elevator and went to the top floor to see what the view looked like. On the way back down, Ann and Nancy Wilson stepped into the elevator and chatted with us about the upcoming show. When the show started it was still light outside, and because of the heat, the exit doors were open. I remember the light coming in, and the huge screen they had on the stage showing blue sky and clouds moving against the sky. The first song was Bebe le Strange. It was a very good show.

      Comment


      • #8
        Worked at a Renaissance Festival for a few summers the first few years it started in Massachusetts.
        We worked the ticket booth but got recruited to the Dunk Tank = “Drench a Wench”
        Wearing costumes so when you got dunked your costume weighed about a hundred pounds.
        Also my friend got a wicked eye and ear infection from the filthy water in the “Wench tank” and her mother freaked out.
        But we got to drink underage there and it was a lot of fun.
        The after parties were INSANE because the cast were all crazy actors.

        Comment


        • #9
          Every year in my city we have the “Rib n’ Rock” festival. When I was young I remember a ride called the Magnetron or Gravitron, something like that… it looked like a huge spaceship. You got in and leaned against these huge pads against the wall and the ride began to spin. As it rotates, the centrifugal force pinned you to the wall. This force, along with the slant of the pads, allowed you to be completely supported by the walls without your feet touching the ground.​
          Your standard carnival ride; a bunch of kids floating off the ground in the mall parking lot with a full belly of overpriced pork. Those were the days.
          Last edited by KennyInCLE; 03-15-2023, 11:06 PM.

          Comment


          • #10
            As a pre-teen, I used to love when the carnival came to town and would go there and spend all the money I had on rides and games. Often times I would win large boxes of candy bars by putting dimes down on colors, they spun a wheel and if it landed on your number and color, you'd win a box of whatever candy you wanted. I won several times. I also enjoyed going on the rides even tho they were probably not the safest as they constructed these carnival rides very quickly in local parking lots. One time I went on a salt and pepper shaker ride with my friend and when it reached the top, we hung upside down and all the money I had fell out of my pockets to the ground below. I was so mad because they would not let you pick up your money when you got off the ride. Oh yeah, one time at Cedar Point in Sandusky Ohio, I had just gotten off a ride called "The rotor" which was a circular thing that spins around super fast and then the floor drops below you and everybody sticks to the side of the wall. I had just gotten off the ride and was watching the next group go. It spun really fast in a circle, everybody was sticking to the wall and someone puked. The puke went flying onto everyone in the thing. It was sick, and not in a good way.

            Comment


            • #11
              There used to be this ride that looked like a UFO. You’d go inside and lie back against one part of the (slightly) inclined wall. The individual parts were on a roller track that was maybe 2ft longer than the part itself. Once everyone was leaned back against their part of the wall, the ride would start spinning until the parts of the wall moved up the roller tracks, with you pinned to them by centripetal force. It’s worth adding that there were no seatbelts or other restraints.

              People would do all sorts of things you weren’t supposed to. One time, a kid I don’t know thought he’d hold onto the railing in the center of this thing and “dangle” because of the spinning. I’m sure you can imagine that this did not go as intended. The kid was able to hang on as it started to speed up, but once it really got going he couldn’t and “fell” towards the outer wall, and fast. The kid was screaming in pain and crying. At the time, I was convinced that this kid broke his legs.

              In retrospect, it couldn’t have been anywhere near that serious. In fact, my dumb child mind probably made half of it up…but, that’s how I remember it! Anytime I think of summer county fairs, I think of this experience.

              Comment


              • JohnnyNada
                JohnnyNada commented
                Editing a comment
                The GRAVITRON!!!!
                My son was obsessed with that ride. He'd get a wrist band at the State Fair every year and this was the only ride he'd go on. Just spin around in that thing until he was sick. Fun times.

              • BoDizzle
                BoDizzle commented
                Editing a comment
                "Hey, whats that smell?"
                "It's Vomit; we must be near the Gravitron"

                OR

                "Wind's changed, I can smell the Gravitron"

                I knew kids who would binge eat right before getting on to see who could make the biggest mess and/or get others to join them. (They're not friends!! I just 'knew of' them - honest)

            • #12
              The fair… so many memories: Summer love that doesn’t last, demo derby’s, corn dogs, the pig contests, laughter, and the warm sunshine!

              gotta love it!


              Comment


              • #13
                I grew up in Western Australia and we had the Perth Royal Show every year in October school holidays and it was great until the 90's when the focus moved from agriculture to landfill culture. The newspapers would publish show bag menu's and kids would be doing cost/benefit analysis for two weeks leading up to opening day. It was so expensive we decided to only go every 2nd year and only if we could scrounge discount entry tickets. People living in suburbs surrounding the showgrounds in Claremont would put up signs and sell all-day parking on their lawns. In comparison I remember being taken to, I think it might have been York (up in the hills), for a smaller county fair when I was a kid and even though it was 10x smaller I had such a great time there; you didn't need $15 for lunch and there was a real BB gun shooting gallery (plinking tin cans) with actual real prizes like pocket knives.. not just punting corks at a chain of ducks that "might" fall down. The WA police farce have probably put a stop to such things now.

                Comment


                • #14
                  Oh, I don't have a particularly magical Summer carnival story, but I'm here to participate none the less.

                  Our carnival used to come around in October every year, so the weather wasn't too unbearably hot. That made it really nice to attend, actually. It was always fun to go socialize with your friends, which is paramount at that age (14-16ish), and the rides were pretty enjoyable as well. I did go with a school 'boyfriend' I had one year who won a stuffed animal for me. That was pretty cute. But, honestly, my favorite part was the funnel cake. They're basically just stringy donuts! 😂

                  Ok, I kid about the funnel cake. You know, as a teenaged girl, the best part was hanging out with my friends. I loved all the lights next best, and the funnel cake came in at a close third.
                  Last edited by KatieSkye; 03-13-2023, 12:40 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #15
                    I live in Eastern Ohio actually 20 miles from the East Palestine train derailment. There are 3 main fairs I've been going to since I was a kid. The Lisbon Fair Aka The Johnny Appleseed Festival, The Pottery Festival in my hometown of East Liverpool and The Canfield fair which is the biggest and best fair. They also have the Canfield Scare Grounds during Halloween. They've managed to get some pretty big names for concerts like John Fogerty and Sam Hunt last year, Shinedown and Starset in 2021. Dustin the lead singer from Starset is the local guy who made it and I'm friends with his cousin. Some others that performed there.... John Mellencamp, Darius Rucker, Sheryl Crow, The Beach Boys way back in 1984 and again in 2006. Lots of Country artists like Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Big & Rich, Blake Shelton. I have no clue who's performing this year.

                    What stands out to me most from the Lisbon Fair is back in the day they had a dunk tank with an insult clown on the seat. He was awesome! He didn't hold back either. Not even with kids. I remember when I was about 15 a kid who wore glasses and looked about 12 walked by the clown with his head down only to hear "what's wrong four eyes don't have a date" Good times!

                    The most embarrassing moment from The Pottery Festival in my hometown was when I took my dog to the dog show. I was about 10 and I got up on stage and bragged to the pretty decent sized audience how he could do this trick and that trick because he could I taught him all of it, even guess which hand. So, I get up there and my dog freezes acts like he can't even hear me with a stupid look on his face. They tried to shoo me off the stage as I kept saying he can do it, he can do it. The crowd was laughing and cringing at the same time. My mom in the crowd put her head down like "that isn't my kid" LOL! Needless to say, I left in tears and as soon as we got home my dog Bo was doing all his tricks as if nothing happened.

                    Favorite Ride - The Round Up and The Bumper Cars

                    Comment


                    • Cavetoad
                      Cavetoad commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Ohhhh bumper cars is a great call!
                  Working...
                  X