Trip Report: The South Florida Fair
Every winter, Florida thrill seekers get to experience something they look forward to all year: The fair. While theme parks provide a few rides with a great adrenaline rush, the true junkies travel as far as they have to for a night of thrills. Ride operators at fairs do not have the restrictions that theme park operators have, so they can choose how intense to make their rides. Wade shows certainly took the cake this year at the South Florida Fair ride-a-thon in West Palm Beach, a preview night where guests could experience unlimited rides at a discounted price.
The layout of the fair was well thought out, with food being the first thing you encounter, followed by the children’s section. I found this convenient because once you passed all of that, you didn’t have to deal with crazy kids running amok in front of you.
The first ride I did was one of my favorites, the Mega Drop. I have ridden many a drop ride in my time, but this one stood out as exceptionally thrilling. Though it was not that tall, the drop itself packed a punch. It seemed to go on forever, and also stopped as close to the ground as possible. Some drop towers stop you a ways up and lower you down, but not this one. It set the stage for the rest of the insane rides to follow.
The next ride we did was the Himalaya, and it was fast, but pretty normal. It was nothing compared to the one we would ride later. After that I conquered a ride that I had been avoiding since I was a child…the Zipper. After watching a child stumble off the ride in tears into his mother’s arms, I reluctantly entered the cage. I was expecting there to be a seat, but there was just a thin cushion tilted at an angle. Once they closed the door a tight bar fell across your lap and there was little space between you and the door. All there is to hold onto are padded handles on the back of the door. At first the ride was not so bad. We tilted a bit going up, but it took awhile to flip. When we did, it seemed like it would never stop. The combination of the ride itself moving and the car flipping made even my strong stomach turn into a pretzel. It was the most intense ride I have ever been on, and I honestly say that I will probably never ride it again.
I thought that any ride after this one would be a breeze, but the intensity just kept coming. The Fighter ride, manufactured by Mondial, was more thrilling than it looked. It did not do anything out of the ordinary, but the mixture of the heights, speed and spinning made for a great adrenaline rush. It was also placed directly next to the highway, so looking at the moving cars while spinning could cause quite a bit of dizziness.
The remainder of the rides were pretty average, just faster than normal. Even the fun houses were painted creatively, and one of the haunted houses even featured a special guest. There was a fireworks show that concluded the night. I have to hand it to Wade Shows; this was one of the best fairs I have ever been to. It runs from now until January 29th.