Thursday, July 31, 2008


I think every town has one: the fair/carnival/festival that comes around, usually sometime in July complete with parades, bands and enough cotton candy to turn you into a diabetic overnight. In my town it was called the Firemen's Field Days. It was, to my young eyes, only the coolest time of the year, when I could see my friends again and hang out before school started. A magical place full of laughter, dust, screaming kids and creepy carnies, and it wasn't a success until you played every game and rode every ride and someone eventually threw up from the excitement of it all...


1. The Ferris Wheel. I had my first real live kiss on a ferris wheel when I was 14. His name was Jerry and he had red hair. I remember worrying more about mom & dad seeing us than anything else.

2. The Pick-Up-The-Duck Game. Hands down, the best carnival game IN THE UNIVERSE! I used to plot and scheme like crazy, mark my duck with my eyes, follow it around, pluck it from the scuzzy water... and it was always a 1 or a 2. I never won anything big.

3. The Tilt-A-Whirl. Otherwise known as the Vomit Comet. I'm nauseous just thinking about it.
4. The Super Slide. Remember these? Big, yellow, scary when you were waiting your turn at the top...
5. The Rockets. This ride was probably the most unsafe ride in the world but we went on it a bazillion times. Basically it was a stick with a car on either end that went around really fast in circles. Major thrills, baby, major.
6. The Scrambler. Almost on a par with the Tilt-A-Whirl in terms of absolute sickness. But for a brief period, around 7th grade, we all wanted to go on this one. I don't know why.
7. The Strongman Game. Conveniently located next to the beer tent, so guys could get all juiced up, start bragging and eventually stagger over to the game to prove their manhood. And inevitably, they would only "get it up" to somewhere between Mama's Boy and Limp-Wristed.
8. The Cake Wheel/Whiskey Wheel. What would a fair be without gambling? Yes, way up in podunk Mexico, NY we had a cake wheel AND a whiskey wheel. Booze and dessert--what more could you ask for?
9. The Roundup. This ride was all about centrifugal force, and remains a serious contender in the Puke Brigade.
10. The Fun House. To tell the truth, the Fun House wasn't all that fun.
11. That dumb game where you throw ping-pong balls at goldfish bowls. Yes, I wanted a goldfish. No, I never won one.
12. The Swings. I think this was my favorite ride, because I always loved--and still loved--riding on a swing. I can't pass by a swingset without trying it out.
13. The Merry-Go-Round. Of course, the ones at the field days were pretty lame, but I still have fond memories of trying to get on the "prettiest" horse and hanging on for dear life while the ride creaked and groaned and carried me around.
Time to share: what's your favorite? Have you ever ridden a ride so much you puked? And seriously, where do carnies really come from?


Robyn said...

Ours was called Rooster Days. They were a lot of fun; however the memory that stays with me was the creepy carny worker who got handsy when he belted you into the rides.

StarvingWriteNow said...

Oh yes, how they'd reach onto your lap to tighten the belts... eeuww!

spyscribbler said...

Eww, yuck! They were always greasy, weren't they? Well that's what I loved: the greasy food!

Bernita said...

Loved the ferris wheel.
Avoided the vomit comet - because I would.