Trip Report: Summerfair at Cincinnati Mall

Cincinnati, OH

July 15, 2010

Midway Provided by: Amusements of America

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And now we take a detour from our usual amusement park visits to drop in on a traveling carnival. Thanks go out to Brian for setting up a group night for the Cincinnati Area Coaster Enthusiasts, better luck next time on getting interest.

As it turns out the group wound up being Brian, Karen, and myself. Before we dove head first into the carnival, we received a tip from the person working the ticket box for the show to visit the mall food court for some discount coupons. So, that's what we did. I don't think we found one open store from the mall door nearest the carnival to the food court. When I say the mall is dead,I mean it's dead. The food court is down to three vendors, one of the two movie theaters is gone. What's sad is they aren't even bothering to remove the signs of the stores that have left. Anyway, we got our coupons, and needed one coupon per person, none of this "one coupon for up to 6 people".

Coupons in hand, and we entered the carnival through a procedure that is just a little bit more complicated than clearing customs entering Europe. This year they erected a perimeter fence all the way around the carnival area, and were running a gated show. So at one end, they had two ticket boxes flanking the only opening in the fence. You went to one of those boxes, and handed over $3 for which you got a ticket. You took that ticket through the opening in the fence where they had a stick joint setup such that it restricted access in and out to two small lanes. At that point you handed in your admission ticket and received an orange starburst handstamp on your left hand. You were then free to go ahead and you still weren't in the carnival area, you then came up to two more ticket boxes, these sold either ride tickets for $1 each, or an unlimited ride pass for $20. Here is where the coupons came in handy, as they were good for $5 off the unlimited ride pass. So I hand over another $15, I get handed another ticket, and I head between the two ticket boxes to another stick joint set up in the middle of the pathway. Here you handed in you unlimited ride ticket,and they put a big obnoxious blue oval A-6 handstamp on your right hand, and then sprinkled a talcum powder like substance over that. With that you could enter the midway. Whew...

We looked around, and the had the rides and stuff basically setup in a rectangle with a row of rides and games down the middle. The front end of the show was anchored by the giant wheel, carousel, and the sideshow acts. In an attempt to be like an amusement park, the sideshow acts were free, and ran on a show schedule instead of continuous performances. They had a small one ring circus, not even in a tent, as well as a thrill show with acrobats, clulminating in the motorcycle globe of death.

The front half was mainly kiddie rides, which we could walk right past. Bumble Bees, Frog Hopper, Construction Zone, Speedway, Wacky Worm (already have the credit), a dragon coaster and more for the kids. We first noted both the Rocking Tug and the Gravitron were signed as "This ride will not operate today" In the case of the Rocking Tug, the ride vehicle was covered in a tarp. Gravitron was at least useful as a lightshow.

So, its about time we put these ride passes to use. We head to the Ring of Fire, an old classic. Unfortunately they were running a no singles rule. Luckily for us, another group of 3 came up. Things worked out. The hardest part of riding the Ring of Fire is the contortion act required to get into the seats, I'm glad I slimmed down, as between me and my temporary for 2 minutes friend, we just fit into the seat, and after squeezing in for the lap bar to lower, we had about every square inch of the bench accounted for. I remarked , "Well, we're not going anyplace", to which the carnie remarked "Oh, sure you are" and pulled the ride start lever. As a way of differentiating themselves from the Bonzai, they focused more on rapid fire looping, yes in both directions, and minimal stop and hang at the top. It was more fun watching the boys in the seat in front of us who were scared and freaking out.

Virtual Ride Ticket Count: 4, 14 more needed to break even.

We next walked over to the Tilt-A-Whirl. Doing something unusual, we crammed all three of us into one car. At first it didn't appear to be working, and we were getting the Tilt but no Whirl ride. Luckily for us we had an operator who knew how to play with the Tilt, as Brian remarked the ride is slowing down, just enough for our tub to start spinning like a top and then sped back up.

Virtual Ride Ticket Count: 8, 10 more needed to break even.

Not having spun quite enough, we headed next to the Wisdom Tornado. Again, we all piled into one car, and Brian and I did our best to keep the ride spinning. It was clear the tubs did not have tub brakes as we had our tub spinning out of control before the ride even started.

Virtual Ride Ticket Count: 12, 5 more needed to break even.

We did walk down to the Wacky Worm, but did not see an operator, so we headed to the back of the lot. The carnival is a bit bigger than last years as it has expanded into the next section of the parking lot. They used the divider between the parking sections for the generators and the like.

Heading to the back section, I was a bit surprised to find the Euro Bobbles present here, in an even smaller pool than Kings Island uses. They were dubbed the Hampster Dance here, and we didn't give them much thought.

The centerpiece ride in the area was the Bonzai, and we headed for it. Okay, get seated, shoulder bars down, then watch fingers as he slams the lap bar down. Yes its very similar to the Ring of Fire, in that you are in a 'train' that is doing vertical loops, and you are upside down at the top. In Bonzai's case, it uses the open-air legs dangling type cars. Also unlike Ring of Fire, they seemed to like to emphasize the stop and hang at the top part of the ride.

Virtual Ride Tickets used: 16, 2 more needed to break even.

Next up was a ride I hadn't seen, it's called the Traffic Jam, and the nameplate seems to indicate it was made by SBI, but I can't seem to find a web presnece for them. Okay, the ride featured a center turret, on top of which is mounted a big arm, on each end of the arm is a ride car, and in the center is a big stairway for you to climb up onto the arm and walk over to one of the cars. The cars are huge, they are square shaped with each side of the square having a bench facing the center. There are either 3 or 5 seats on each bench. In the center there is a decoration of a signpost, to give the visual (better seen from off ride) of four cars in a traffic jam at the signpost. Restraint is by one long overhead lap bar per bench. When the ride starts the 2 cars start spinning, and then the long arm off the center turret starts spining. The ride is not unlike a kinder, gentler Tempest, or half of a Wisdom Storm, except that the main arm is flat, and not angled. Also, unlike the Storm the operator has the ability to vary the speed, and the direction of either the cars, or the main arm. After spinning one way for some tie, we slowed down, "Now, let's try it the other way!"

Virtual Ride Tickets used: 20, 2 to the good,

Next up was the KMG AFterburner/Fireball/Claw whatever you want to call it. The ride has an integrated queue area on the platform, but they weren't using it, instead holding people on the blacktop until the next load cycle. Brian was off taking pictures, so I took the first ride myself, and it actually wound up being a solo ride. Yeah, not many people at the big carnival tonight. My last ride on this very same Afterburner was very short as I did not fit the ride. Thanks to my weight loss program, not only did I fit the ride, the bar dropped and locked all on its own at the start of the ride. The ride program may not be the longest on the show, but it is a very intense program. Unlike the one at the Minnesota Fair that takes forever to get up to speed, this one starts out kicking butt and taking names, and doesn't let up. And hey, this is a FIVE tiket ride.

Virtual Ride Tikets used: 25, 7 to the good.

But wait, there's more! Her come Brian and Karen to the ride, oh well, it's a tough job but somebody's got to to it. Afterburner ride #2!

Virtual Ride Tickets Used: 30, 12 to the good

But wait, there's more! Karen wants a re-ride, Brian isn't so sure. I ride it again with Karen, pushing my stomach spin tolerance to the limit!

Virtual Ride Tickets Used: 35, 17 to the good.

We then slow things down, we skip the Skooter but tour the Mardi Gras Glass House. It's 3 tickets, and consists of a mirror maze on the lower level, some fun house mirrors and a spiral slide on the upper level, and that's it. I didn't make the most graceful slide down, but we aren't scoring style points, are we?

Virtual Ride Tickets Used: 38, 20 to the good.

We cross over the the MTV Video Funhouse. Okay this has the sliding steps, a maze, the roller walk, vibrating floor, spining discs, crazy mirrors and more. The spinning barrel at the end was shut off, as I think they always are in Ohio. I did almost Wipeout! on one obstacle. It looked like yet another roller walk at the end right before the barrel. What I didn't notice is that it isn't flat, it dips into the center, so as soon as I stepped onto it, I rolled at quick speed to the center, then started up the other side, but didn't have enough oomph, so started rolling backwards. All in good fun, right?

Virtual Ride Tickets Used: 41, 23 to the good.

By this time, we were getting ready to leave, but they couldn't resist the Spongebob Squarepants walk through in the kiddie area. "Good Times!" Its a single trailer single floor walk through, but it packs a lot of stunts inside. Air gun, shaking floor, poles to squeeze betwee, crazy mirrors, spinning discs, floor stunts, the back and forth sliding floor planks, and more,

Virtual Ride Tickets used: 44, 26 to the good.

We next headed to the carousel, but upon reading the 155lb. weight limit, moved on from that. We finished up with a ride on the Giant Wheel. Brian took some photos and we got to get a nice overhead view of the carnival.

Virtual Ride Tickets used: 49. 31 to the good.

And with that, it's time for dinner!


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