TR: Florida State Fair

We enter the free parking lot and are sent to the far reaches of the parking lot. We start to walk towards the fair and check to see if there is another gate by the amphitheater, but wind up walking back to the main gate in the center of the lot. We note the parking tram, but note that we have already walked far enough that we were able to beat the tram to the fair.

Jerry and I had presale admission tickets ($6), Paul did not, so we waited up for Paul to purchase a $10 admission ticket,. Passing the ticket booths, they had not only security pawing through our camera bags, but they also had up lift up our shirts and turn around, checking for concealed weapons. You will note there was no security on Thursday. We enter the fair and head through the Expo Hall once again.

we head towards the midway and stop off for Stromboli and soft drinks. After our snack we took a photo safari of the midway. You can check out my photos, see the photo link on my main site The photo safari took quite some time as we collected photos of every ride on the mian midway, and a sampling of the kiddie rides. After taking photos in the kiddie ride area, Jerry and take a ride on the Rok N Rol. The ride crew recognized us, I guess we left an impression. The midway was a lot more crowded on Friday, and it wqs a 2 cycle wait to Rok N Rol. After the Rok N Rol we return to the expo hall for a bathroom visit. Noteworthy only because they had restroom attendants and a tip plate.

we return to the midway Jerry and I had already redeemed presale wristband vouchers where we were able to get ride wristbands for $20, Paul, who did not have presale tickets, did have a Mt. Dew can which advertsed a $5 off offer for a wristband. The fairhas a real anal policy where you can't redeem the Mt. Dew can at the ride ticket boxes, he was supposed to redeeam it out af the grounds admission ticket booth, depsite the large sign at the grounds ticket booths saying to purchase ride wristbands on the midway. So Paul has to get hsi hand stamped go back out to the ticket booth, where he trades the can for a paper coupon to take back into the mdway back to the ride ticket cage. I hate needless bearacracy.

We take another photo safari of the midway to get night shots. We decide to take a ride on the Orbiter. The Tivoli Orbiter is like a Scramlber on steroids, and the one at the fair was running nice and really fast. After our Orbiter rides, we hold the camera as Paul goes to ride the KMG Wild Claw. Jerry and I don't even bother to try,

We then head down the midway stopping off at the Huss Tornado, we take turns holding the cameras while the other two ride. The Tornado contains several round 4 person cars that go around on a big turntable which raises up into the air. About the most interesting part of the ride is the scenery panel as we could only get the cars to rock bakc and forth, not spin. We tried balancing the tub, we tried severely unbalancing the tub. No luck. We ruled Tornado a lackluste ride and moved on. We then decided to send Paul back to the car to return the camera equipment, You see the fair was runing realy strict reentry rules. You needed both a a hand stamp and a time ticket. You then had 20 minutes to get out to your car, take care of whatever you needed to take care of and nd be back inside the fairgates.

While waiting for Paul, Jerry and I rode the Starship 3000. Its the spaceship looking ride where you spin really fast then stick to the wall as the wall panels go up to the ceiling. This particular Starship 3000 was running an exceptional light show, even though one of the best parts is when they turn off all the lights for a few seconds. The Starship 3000 also ran so smoothly you didn't even feellike you were spinning. The bad part of the Starship 3000 ride was that there was not an orderly line, just a mob that pushes its way towards the ride as soon as the gate opens, Survival of the fittest.

After the Starship 3000 ride I watch talker of the twleve in one build a nice tip. I manage to miss the comotion on the midway behind me. Jery and I then proceed to ride Nitro, again having to defend our position in another mob non-queue. I really like the Nitro version of the Claw type rides. After Nitro I snack on a corn dog and soft drink as Paul returns. Paul rides Space Roller as Jerry and I finsih our snack. Paul' Space Roller ride looked lackluster despite the addition of a fog machine. Paul reported that he also had to deal with the mob style of line. Ya know its not fun having to deal with hordes of people with no sense of manners or idea of how to wait their turn. By the end of Paul's ride the line for Space Roller was clear back to the Starship 3000.

We decide to head over to the Moonraker, but find that it is still out of service. We wait three cycles to ride Spin Out, and note the Spin Out operators had set up a nice orderly queue, so I suppose it is possible.

Remember what I said about those narrow midways, lined with joints with over aggressive game operators, well any remaining space was taken by a younger crowd of fairgoers that had just about packed every available square inch of ground space.

We note Moonraker was testing while we rode the Spin Out, so we headed to the Moonraker. It was still closed, but we decided to take the gamble and camped out right at the bottom of the entry stairs, we only let the ride crew though. About 15 minutes later we were invited into ride. The SDC moonraker isa unique ride that looks like a big flying saucer, people board the flying saucer and sitdown facing inward, then powered shoulder bars lower down. The Flyingsaucer starts to spin round reallly fast creating strong positive G's, then the ride tips up like a big round up, but what is more unqiue is the ride turns around so thatthe whle ship and boom roatearound whie the ship itself is spinning. I found the bars to pinch a bit tighter than I would like, but it was a wonderfully intense ride. We would ride it again, except they onyl had 7 seats operational and by the time our ride ended a large crowd had already formed. The ride looks marvelous, has a good light show, but was just having severe mechanical issues, it didn't open Thursday, opened very little during the weekend, and sources tell me that on Monday it was replaced by a Dartron Cliff Hanger.,

After teh Moonraker ride he head to the Flip N Out. Here the mood of the crowd turned ugly and cutthroat as we negotiated the mob trying to board Flip N Out, where we had a much shorter ride than on Thursday. During our Flip N Out ride we decided the mood on the midway had turned ugly enough that we no longer felt safe. After the Flip N Out ride we hihg tailed it off that midway as fast as we could smake our way through the crowdd. We didn't slow down till we got back on the other side of the lake in a virtually deserted part of the fair. We did relax while we had a nice talk with the Boars Head Provisons guy while snacking on some of their hot dogs.

We then headed back to the Expo Hall to exit the fair. Big problem, the Expo hall was locked up for the night, and we appeared not to be the only people befuddled trying to find an exit. We start to walk around the expo hall and run into secuirty guard near the lost persons office That person directs us to the other end of the expo hall. We eventually exit down a dark unmarked path next to the ampitheatre. You know if you are going to block off the usual exit, some nice large signs pointing the way out would help. As it is I can see a tragic result in an emergency evacuaion situation. The revised exit takes us down a serivce path that wraps around the expo hall so that we actually exit through the front gate structure past the front gate photo booth.

We note the parking trams are not running, so we head out to the car, and don't really calmdown until we are safely in our car, headed out the exit driveway. We return to our hotel a bit earlier than we planned, and wind up staying up way too late watching Olympics and doing other computer pursuits.

And that ends Day 2 - check back soon for Day 3 where we are at BGT all day!

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