Minnesota State Fair

St. Paul, MN

TR: MN State Fair (8/29 and 9/2)

Falcon Heights, MN

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"Let me hear you SCREAM!"

Day 1: August 29, 2002

This Labor Day Weekend I decided to fly up to Minneapolis and spend some time riding coasters and other rides up there with fellow ride fanatic, Jerry Dorf. After a slight delay in my flight I arrived at MSP and we were soon at the fairgrounds. We used our advanced sale parking and admission tickets and were soon walking though the turnstile. The MN Fair uses an arrangement similar to Kennywood or Del Grossos where the parking lot is on the opposite side of a major street from the actual venue, and the admission gate is in the parking lot. In this instance after passing through the gate you go up a series of ramps to cross over the road, then down a series of ramps back down to ground level.

We entered the fairgrounds and after a quick stop we soon made our way to Adventure Park. Adventure Park is the fair's version of Challenge Park and consists of those pesky high cost pay extra attractions. This year Adventure Park consisted of Turbo Bungy (Trampoline Thing Wannabe), a Rock Wall, an ejection seat, a Skyscraper, and Adreneline Drop. Adreneline Drop is a SCAD tower. We walked over to the SCAD tower and I let out a sigh of relief when I learned that there was no chance that I would meet the weight range for SCAD (110-220lbs), unfortunately there were no vict- I mean riders at the moment.

We proceeded down the hill to the Mighty Midway. The Mighty Midway as you may have guessed is the fair's main amusement ride area. According to my host the midway in MN is of the 'independant' variety, which means that each ride and game is booked in seperately, and further no single operator can book more than 5 rides into the Mighty Midway. This, according to my host, caused a much higher quality midway to be formed as the various amusement operators tend to bring some of their finest pieces, and the fair board has veto power to prevent ride pieces that have become undesireable or unpopular to appear on the Mighty Midway. Don't worry the fair board does book in a well rounded mix of Spectaculars, Majors, Families, and Kiddies.

We approached the Mighty Midway. The Mighty Midway is set up in a large horseshoe pattern with several crossovers, and the major (if not only) point of entry is at one end. Right in the center at the front end a rather large Wave Swinger has been setup. This non-intimidating ride has that midway flash that screams "Welcome to the Midway". To either side of the Wave Swinger are triangular signs. the sides facing the outside bear Mighty Midway logos as well as the 'park hours' (10am-midnight), the two backsides of the triangular signs sport a child measurement chart (The Mighty Measurements) and the utterly useless Mighty Map. (With colored blocks whose only legend is "Ride!" or "Game" or "Food!"). Mighty Midway is an extremely clean midway, where as we joked, the carnies are required to bathe at least once a day, wear an ID badge, dress in a uniform outift, and not smoke. Seriously the carnies are on their best behavior and are generally quite friendly and helpful.

We decided to take a walk along the midway first so that I could get the lay of the land and see where I wanted to use my ride tickets. There is no Pay-One-Price option at the MN State Fair and thus ride tickets are a valuable commodity. I had three advance sale 20-sheets to start off with. ($30) In my favor was the fact that today was family day or somesuch and thus the rides were charging special reduced prices. A ride that was normally 4-5 tickets were marked down to 3 tickets, and 6 ticket rides were marked down to 4 tickets. I had the advance sale tickets which would mean a Major was $1.50, and a Spectacular was $2.00. Regular ticket pricing was .75 cents as opposed to the .50 cent advanced tickets. ($2.25/$3.00). Compare to the full price day where a Spectacular would have been $4.50($3.00 advanced), Majors from $3.00-$3.75 ($2.00-$2.50 advanced). I also knew there were to be 34 attractions on the Mighty Midway each costing at least 3 tickets so at 102+ tickets! just to do everything once, I knew I would have to be selective. We started to the right of the Wave Swinger, and soon the following ride list was composed:

(May not be in the true order of rides along the horeshoe, CCW)

1. Wave Swinger - Zierrer Wave Swinger

2. Arabian Days - Persian Kamel Walk Through

3. Tornado - Wisdom Tornado

4. Spider - Eyerly Spider

5. Ali Babba - Ali babba (Flying Carpet style ride)

6. Bonazi - Fabrri Kamikazee 2

7. Sizzler - Wisdom Sizzler

8. Giant Wheel - Giant Wheel

9. Crazy Dance - Break Dance looking thing

10. Sleigh Ride - Flying Bobs looking thing

11. Zipper - Chance Zipper

12. German Fun House - Walkthrough

13. Downdraft - Dartron Downdraft

14. Tilt-A-Whirl- Sellner Tilt

15. Twister - ? Twister (NOT a Chance or Herschell)

16. eXperience - KMG Experience

17. Power Surge - Zamperla Power Surge

18. Cliffhanger - Dartron Cliffhanger

19. Avalanche - Pinfari Zyklon

20. Magnum - Mondial Shake

21. Whitewater - Portable Log Flume looking thing

22. Mega Drop - Moser Mega Drop

23. Crazy Mouse - Reverchon Crazy Mouse

24. Space Roller - Mondial Top Scan

25. Bumper Boats - Bumper Boats

26. Skooters - Bumper Cars

27. Orbiter - AmTech/Tivoli Orbiter

28. Starship 2000 - Wisdon Starship 2000

29. The Dark Side - Dark Ride

30. eXtreme - KMG Afterburner

31. Storm - Wisdom Storm

32. Star Tracks Video Fun House - Walk through

33. Mardi Gras - Glass House

34. Motion Simualor Pods - Motion Simulator

Shall we start the MN State Fair Ticketometer at 60 (Hereafter reffered to as the Ticketometer) It should be clear from reading the above list that there were numoerus attractions that could be summarilly forgotten, particularly at a ticket based show. Our tour of the midway also served to kill some time until our 1:00 meeting time with Cameron and Loren. The meeting took place way early as we were all strolling the midway anyway.

Of course soon after meeting we would start heading towards a ride. Loren would prove to be a non-riding partner except on rollercoasters. The suggestion was made to start on Space Roller (Mondial Top Scan) so we headed to the back left corner of the midway to the extreme looking demented ride. Space Roller is very hard to describe, but I'll try for those who have never seen one: Space Roller starts out with a large platform which is tilted at a slight angle so the back of the ride sits higher than the front, in the middle of the platform is a turret/piston thingee that has the power to both lift the bulk of the ride up and down vertically as to provide clearance from the ride platform while in run mode, as well as to spin. Mounted to the top of this raising turret is the main boom. Attached to the long end of the main boom is a windmill looking assembly which has the power to spin like a windmill, coming out from the windmill assebly are a multitude of spokes each spoke being mounted on a swivel assembly such that the blade can rotate around, mounted to the front side of each blade is a row of chairs (5-6 chairs), each chair secures one rider via OTSR. To the rider the individual blade roatation causes the chair to tumble either forwards or backwards. Are you reaching for the puke bucket yet? The ride also has two holding areas, of which the one nearest the operators booth was in use today. As we entered the holding area a ticket taker took our tickets (4) and thus when it was time to let the next group into the ride area the whole business of ticket collection is already taken care of. We entered the ride area and went to the dsigneated arm that we were to sit at. I snatched up the outermost seat as it comes highly recommended. We pole vaulted into our seats and waited for the OTSRs to lower. Instead of the bars lowering the ride started moving with the bars still in the up position. Yep, the ride moves slowly at ground level, so low to the ground that a long legged person like myself either has to lift up their legs or walk the platform. One by one as the arms past the loader that arms shoulder bars were lowered, when the whole ride was secured, the ride started lifting up from the load position to the run position. Soon thereafter all craziness broke l! oose. Space Roller's ride can best be described as a Power Surge on Turbo-Hyper-Overdrive, forget about anticipating the rides next move, as soon as you expect it to go one way, it violently flips you around another way. I mean can life get any better than being harnessed to a chair, flipped upside down, and then have the ride rotate so you get a too cool visual of the ride platform coming up at you quickly? The ride offered is very intense and I resorted to the plow your head firmly into the outermost side of the OTSR. We have a winner, folks. After an intense ride the ride slowly lowered back down to the platform and started its slow rotation, where one by one the shoulder bars were released and we dismounted the ride before it came to a complete stop as directed. Whereupon one gets to nonchalantly walk down the sloped platform to your choice of 4 exit gates. The exit gates on this ride more than any other looked like afterthoughts or retrofits.

Ticketometer: 60 - 4 = 56

Next we walked over to the Mega Drop. Mega Drop is one of the new portable freeefall towers. In concept it is very simple, riders board chairs mounted to a ride vehicle in a circle facing outward, legs dangling. (Approx 12 chairs). A catchwagon comes down, grabs the ride vehicle and hoists it to the top of the tower, a dramatic pause takes place, then the catchwagon releases the ride vehicle causing it to plummet down to the platform until fail-safe-magnetic-brakes bring it to a slow smooth stop. I have heard tale, however, that the catchwagon may give the ride vehicle a boost so that it acts akin to a portable Turbo Drop. "What could possibly go wrong?" We climbed the stepsto the platform and were admitted straight through the preload holing area upon transfer of 4 tickets to the ride area. We snagged some of the last seats available, and I pulled down the OTSR and fastened the crotch strap. These OTSR's seem to be designed to allow for airtime room. The restraints were checked and soon we were taking an ultra smooth trip up the tower. There we sat, and we sat, and we sat, and I watched a car fully cycle the Crazy Mouse track, then I watched another car fully complete the Crazy Mouse circuit, then I watched aother car, then I pulled out a copy of Lord of The Rings and read all three parts of the trilogy, then I watched more Crazy Mouse cars. Okay maybe not THAT long but it was a good 5-10 minutes. Loren reports from the ground from his vantage point on the Whitewater Log Flume exit ramp that assorted carnies let out some curse words, then a carney went back to the mechanical trailer for the Turbo Drop and moved a huge ! cable switching the drive mechanism for the catchwagon from taking its command from the PLC to taking control from a mannual serivce control console. The catchwagon, and its precious cargo (the ride vehicle) were lowered at a snails pace to the ride platform. We sat a few moments on the platform, the carnies offered the chance to exit the ride, we stayed on and the cable was moved back to the PLC and the ride was started. Another smooth rise to the top. I watched a Crazy Mouse car complete the circuit, and the carnies moved the cable again and lowered us back down to the ground in service mode. As the ride vehicle was nearing the platform a carney ran around releasing the belts, then the OTSR's were released manually and each rider was handed 4 tickets and told to vacate the ride. I later realized that I had just gotten the Tower Ride in service mode for FREE twice. There are folks at Miracle Strip Amusement Park paying exorbitant sums of money for this privlege.

Ticketometer: 56 -4 +4 = 56

After that interesting experience Cameron and Jerry walked over to the Magnum (Mondial Shake), in my best 3CPO imitation I let out a "I'm going to regret this" and entered Magnum's holding area after handing in 4 tickets. All too soon the ride stopped, the entrance gate was opened and a carney was motioning for me to enter the ride area. Jerry and Cameron got seated together and I got paired up with another single rider. Lukily the other single rider was considerably smaller than I am. After my disaster trying to board a Magnum car with Rideman, this time we did it one at a time. The shoulder bars came down, the gates slid accross the tub openings. I noticed a sign on the control room window reading "No Whining!" The ride soon started and at first it seemed just like a normal breakdance, but of course that was short lived. Magnum for the uninitaited can be confused for a breakdance with larger clamshell cars that contain OTSRs. Thats where the similarities end. Yo! u see the ride contains a large turntable which spins rapidly, mounted to the turntable are a multitude of turrets, mounted (which spin), mounted to each turret is a set of crossarms, mounted to each end of the crossarms is a post connectd by a free-swivel arrangement, the post ends in a set of mounting brackets. Mounted to the top of the post is a ride tub, which is mounted on swivels so it has full 360' forawrds and backwards roll capability. As the ride spins, the cars are free to both spin and roll as they so choose, sometimes unexpectedly and suddenly. The pinacle of this ride is to get the car to flip halfway over so the rider is upside down, then to watch the ride platform in sheer horror/euphoria as you are stuck upside down while the ride tub is spinning like crazy, your eyes mere feet from the turntable. For some strange reason I seemed to enjoy the ride this time a lot more than I did last year, though I could hear a whine coming from the car containing Jerry! and Cameron, despite the posted sign on the doghouse. That whine seemed to be saying "Stop! Make It Stop!" Ah, two demented ride experiences and I haven't even had lunch yet!

Ticketometer: 56 - 4 = 52

Loren reported that photgrahig action shots on Magnum was a real challenge, but he also reported that Mega Drop had carries a few succesful loads. We returned to Mega Drop. Holding Area, hand in 4 tickets, wait to be admitted to ride area. We were led around the ride and seated in order not unlike what PKI does on Gyro Drop. We were assigned the same three seats, but in a different order. The carney remembered us and said something to the tune of "If it happens again....." Bars/Belts checked the ride glided slowly up to the top, I watched a Crazy Mouse car cycle, the ride started coming back down in service mode. It HAD happened again. The carey gave us a dirty look, walked over to the doghouse and punched the Start button again. We glided back to the top of the tower, and this time I didn't have time to watch a Crazy Mouse car. WHAMO! The ride vehicle was plummenting to the ground like a cannonball fired from an inverted cannon. What an airtime filled rush. As th! e ride vehicle was navigating the brakes the operators quickly ran around releasing belts so that the bars could all pop open as soon as the ride stopped. Very efficient operation, and we were soon making our way to the midway. No, extra tickets were not collected for the service mode ride.

Ticketometer: 52 - 4 = 48

I've been mentioning that Crazy Mouse a lot, and we thought we would get Loren in on the fun. While the Crazy Mouse had a bit of a wait, it was far shorter than any wait I have had for Exterminator at Kennywood. As we climbed the stairs to the station, I noted that an on-ride photo was available, AND that the height requirement sign stated "Riders must be 44" to ride. Riders under 54" must wear a seatbelt" Just like Exterminator. We made our way to the station where our tickets were collected at the top of the stairs and all 4 of us were shown to the same tub. It was a tight fit, but we made it, and as all riders were over 54" no seatbelts were used. (The belts did appear to be of the retracting variety so were not a hazard during the ride). The car kept moving while we were loading until it came to a stop just downtrack of the station. We soon exited the station, made a left turn, rode slowly past the queue area, another left turn and up the lift hill. You know th! is ride is a lot more fun in the wideopen! Some of those clearences are absolutely brutal looking. We crested the lift and turned left to start the first set of switchbacks,we went back and forth about 4 times, where we made an abrupt left turn into a small dip, left turn, midway flyby, left turn, the big drop, then back up into this funky double up type arrangement. I meant he car goes up, almost falttens out then tips back up again. Wierd. Left turn, a nice smooth trip accross the back of the ride where the car glide sover our favorite track mounted accesory:

The Releasing Mechanism Thingee!

On the lower deck of switchbacks the car is free to SPIN. On this ride the spinning was of the more gentle variety, almost a novelty, nothing like on Exterminator. After the second swichback areas you traverse a odd curve so that you are again headed to the back of the ride where you traverse a final dip. Our car happened to be oriented backwards during this dip,a final turnaround into the station. Here I noted that they were relasing the lapbars using a strange device attached to a telephone cord. We exited the ride, glanced at our on ride photo and returned to the midway.

Ticketometer: 48 - 4 = 44

Coaster-Credit-O-Meter: 200 (Yeah! 200! Milestone, virtual ballons, streamers, confetti, and ticker tape shower down as an impressize Rozzi Bros. fireworks show explodes in my imagination (I have a vivid, hyperactive imagination)

From the Crazy Mouse we headed to (Dartron) Downdraft. Downdraft is a new variation on the (Dartron) Hurricane which I hadn't yet gotten a chance to try. The Downdraft was being loaded and we joined the happy crowd headed up the stairs, after handing in 3 tickets. As I mentioned the Downdraft is a direct decendent of the Hurricane, and looking at the ride you can clearly see the resemblance. The ride contains the same center tower, a multitude of cars hanging down from seeeps, and the same shape platform with the same type stairs and railings. Even the bumper ring to prevent the sweeps from banging into the tower is the same. The Downdraft like the Hurricane features a center tower from which six sweeps are hung, each sweep ending in a ride tub. The ride starts up the ride tubs swing out, then the gimmick of this ride is under operator control the tubs dive dwon from cruising altitude then soar back out again. Its an interesting feeling and the ride is notorius for strong lateral g's. Where Downdraft differs is that the tradititional 4 seat cars have been replaced by 5 seat floorless legs dangling cars. Curious arrangement of 3 in the front seat and 2 in the back. We climb the stairs under an admonishment of "Don't pull down on the safety bar, I will lower it for you". This was, of course so that the operator could balance out the ride. We took our assigned seats with Cameron on the inside, myself in the center and Jerry on the outside. The lapba dropped down from overhead similar to a chairlife, except that the bar was much more than a lapbar, the lapbar had curious dividers that dropped down between the riders compartmentalizing them. You heard that right, seat dividers, no more crushing into your ride partner. Oh well the seats are slightly staggered from each other anyway. Another protusion of the lapbar is a rounded bar that goes between your legs and meets up with the front of the seat, forming an anti-submarine device.

We take our seats and are securely secured and the ride starts. Not long into the ride cycle we hear this massive discharge of compressed air at 'cover your ears as your eardrums pop' loudness, follwed by the ride making a hasty return to home base and the lapbars on unoccupied seats popping open. I suspect the riders holding on to the bars in the other seats kept them lowered. A different operator comes along and apologizes and blames the problem on 'green help' who punched the E-Stop button in place of the button that causes the wonderful tub dive. After making sure out lapbars were locked the second guy went downto the console and restarted the ride, but alas the air pressure had not built up enough force so the oscilations were very minor and the ride was mostly an uninteresting spin ride. The operator came back up to the ride platform and offered us a FREE second ride, if we would wait 5 minutes for the air tanks to fully fill. We did, they did and THAT's the Downdraft experience I was hoping for. Though you know what, I kinda prefer the good old fashioned Hurricane. We then exited the ride, headed down the exit stairs and into a gratuitously long exit path that led us back around to the rides entrance.

Ticketometer: 44 -3 = 41

From Downdraft we headed over to Cameron's favorite ride, and why not, it's certainly a fun ride: The KMG Afterburner, in this instance named "Xtreme" Xtreme resembles a swinging ship ride, but instead replace the boat with a long boom, at the bottom of the boom is a claw assembly holding a ring of chairs facing inwards. Did I mention that as well as swinging the ride can make the claw of chairs spin? We enter the holidng area, hand in 4 tickets, are admitted to the ride area,, and take our seats. The automatic KMG OTSR's PLOP down in our laps with a thud, except that mine did not plop down far enough to satisfy the ride operator. Never mind a little friendly persuaion in the form of a shove was all it took. Xtreme starts the ride by opening the Pit under the Pendulum, then the thing spins lslowly and swings just a little bit, and grows until it is swinging WAY out to like 135' and spinning faster and faster as it goes along until finally the fun has to end and the ride slowly comes to a stop, and just as the ride stops the Pit closes up and the OTSR's open on cue. We then exit to the midway.

Ticketometer: 41 - 4 = 37 (Yikes 20-Sheet #1 is HISTORY! - and only 6 rides!)

We reflect on finishing Sheet 1 by taking a short ride break. We use this chance to get sodas, snacks, walk up one of the fairs main drags, look at the station for Ye Olde Mill, look at Coasters restaurant with the big wall mural of a wooden coaster inside, and specially made booths outside made from Tilt-A-Whirl cars, take a tour of the Food Building, look at the Giant Slide. (Which looks curiously like OH's Giant Slide, John Deere paint scheme and all. Eventually we return to the midway after a snack (Ok Lunch!) (Bull Bites 'Blackened beef tenderloin served with a tangy sauce similar to that served with Bloomin Onion, and some Macaroni-And-Cheese-On-A-Stick)

We return to the Midway and head for the Wisdom Storm. Storm is a very curious ride. Is a Watkins Tempest with improved safety features and an attitude. You see on Storm there is a big large platform so that all four cars can be loaded simultaneously with one stop loading. The large oblong platform spins, and has railings along three of its four sides. It's really odd seeing the whole platform spin like that. Mounted towards either end of the oblong platform is another oblong platform that has the ability to spin, attached to the ends of each secondary platform is a boxy looking car with two benches seating 4 each, facing towards each other. They only ruin this package by securing the riders with OTSRs. This ride does not use the pre-ride holidng area and instead 3 tickets were collected as we entered the ride area and were assigned a car. We took seats in our car and pulled down the OTSR's. There is a brief delay that could be attributed to the operator being called away from the ride for a brief moment while it was being loaded. When the operator reutrned he apologized for the delay and told us he would give us a Twin Spin, two rides back-to-back, nonstop, for the price of 1.

Okay the operator starts the ride and not more than 30 seconds into the ride our car starts making a horrid scraping noise on the subplatform. The operator stops the ride, tells us to stay seated, and that he has to balance out his ride. Yes he used the possesive. I got shifted to a different seat in our car, and the loaded took his lumps for not balancing the ride by sitting in the seat I vacated. The ride restarted, and normally this ride lasted for 1 song on this operators stereo, well our ride lasted for 3 songs on his stereo. And he was playing Country and Western Music, life could not get better, especially since the ride only span in one direction and was like a walk-in-the-park. The main Storm operator also wins the blue ribbon from me for most enerjectic carney on the midway. He had a non-stop spiel that was just as engaging, stuff like "I'm about to brew up another Storm here on the Mighty Midway. Its Thursday at the Great Get-Together here in Minnesota, here with my partner Mysterious brewing up some more Storm damage here on the Mighty Midway. If you want some more Storm, LET ME HEAR YOU SCREAM!" I could though, see that he may not want to use that shtick if his ride plays anywhere near Pittsburgh. Did I mention that unlike the Tempest the individual cars spin is controlled and motorized. It's a spin ride lovers dream. The spiel claimed 3.5G's sustained! After a nice long relaxing ride the ride stopped. Jerry, David, and the Carney looked no worse for wear, the mere mortals in our car were not looking so great, and Cameron was somewhere in the middle.

Ticketometer: 37 - 3 = 34

After The Storm, we headed to Crazy Dance which seemed to be no more than your standard Breakkdance. It tosses you from side to side, it spins you around, nothing much to report here. Move along to the next attraction please.

Ticketometer: 34 - 3 = 31

We continued the walk down to Twister. No, not that Twister. This Twister featured a lare turntable with several 4 seat cars. Instead of two rows of 2, these cars seated 4 on one long bench, after the main turntable started spinning the ride tilted up at a real extreme angle. Cameron decided to sit this one out, and so Jerry and I entered the ride, handed over 4 tickets, and took seats in one of the cars. At least this ride is only equipped with locking lapbars. We were seated and the ride started turning slowly, then the ride started spinning real fast and tipped up. The individual cars are mounted on swivels but overall the ride just did not seem to be any fun. The ride also won the award for most nearly pulling stuff out of out pockets. The ride came down slowed to a stop, the lapbars popped open and we exited. I don't really care for this one much, you have to do a lot of bracing and its really not too fun.

Ticketometer: 31 - 4 = 27

Jerry and I walked next door to eXperience. (KMG) eXperience is billed on KMG's website as "A Ride desinged for the jaded ride enthusiast who thinks they can handle anything in mind" The ride looks to be built on a Troika frame, however at the end of each of those arms, instead of a ring of cars, there is a horizontally mounted boom that can spin. At the end of each end of the boom is a ride vehicle that is mounted to the end of the boom on a turret so it can rotate. Each ride vehicle has 2 rows of tow seats facing back-to-back. The inidivual car rotates on a motor so that it can do forwards and back flips. The ride vehicles are of course just seats, no floors, legs dangling. So the ride starts, the three booms raise up, then the booms start spinning at a weird angle, then the chairs start doing forwards and backflips. Talk about disorientation. Or I would like to. I sat down in my assigned seat, the auto-bar lowererd but failed to engege the lock. Two carnies tried shoving it to no avail, next thing I know the bars were releasesed and I got the dreaded "We're Sorry Sir, this ride cannot accomodate you because of your build, please see the ticket taker for a refund" I saw the ticket taker, partly annoying the operators becuase I walked along the inside of the ride fence. (Hey I'm not exiting the attraction without the refund) (Luckily this story has a happy ending but you will have to read further if you want to know more)

Ticketometer: 27 -3 +3 = 27

Feeling rejected and dejected, I watched the ride trying to imagine how it felt. Alas, it was not to be today, we continud around and I announced I wanted to ride the Whitewater Log FLume. No one else did, but the line was almost nonexistant, so I took my 4 tickets to the platform and was seated in a log with 2 girls. Unfortuantely they were under 18. The multi colored logs first assend a short incline, turnaround quick double dip, turnaroundm up the big incline, turnaround, big steep drop, minimal water damage, turnaround abck into station. On these log rides the logs never stop moving int he station, and the station floor is wet diamondplate and I have trouble getting out of logflume logs as it is. I received a scolding from the ride operator for taking so long he had to *gasp* stop the log. I decided to hold my tounge and exited the ride secure in the knowledge that I wasn't planning on riding that model flume again as it was summarily uninteresting.

Ticketometer: 27 - 4 = 23

After the water ride which I did get a little damp on, Jerry and I decided to let me spin dry, and we figured the Orbiter was just as good a place as any to spin dry. Orbiter is substitting for Remix at this years show. After the incident in Ohio, the ReMix was clearly in no condition to operate, even if there wasn't a grounding order, but the kind folks at the MN fairboard allowed the owner to setup his Orbiter ride instead. It was a fine replacement, offering basically the same ride without the OTSR.

Jerry and I got placed into seperate cars (Yeah!), and we lowered and secured the aftermarket lapbars. The ride started and as the sign says "This is a high speed thrill ride for the more mature rider" Its clearly a spin ride where the center spindle raises up then the various arms tilt up, each arm holding three cars, then the until poles start spinning extremly fast. Its another spin ride lovers dream. Unfortuantely the same operator pulled his Spin Out ride pending the review of the Remix, or at least thats the rumour.

Ticketometer: 23 - 3 = 20 (Yikes! 20-Sheet #2 is OVAH) (Wow, up to 11 rides!)

Okay the day is still young, we are down to one ticket sheet, so sounds like a good time to do the typical fair thing.

We walked over and had a soft drink (Ice Cold Coke - 20 oz. Bottle - $2), then walked over and watched the SCAD tower for a bit. As you know SCAD is where the Vict-I mean rider falls with no strings attached into a big safety net with a loud smacking noise that just sounds painful. We watched several victims before walking along past the Grandstand around the penny aracde and Carousel park, which feautres a carousel that looks to be of modern fiberglass vintage, that does not take ride tickets, and charges $1.50. We proceed to the Kidway. The Kidway also features a comptent ride selection of its own.

Even though I didn't ride anything on the Kidway, I got you this list:

1. Winky The Whale

2. Fun Slide (not the same slide I mentioned earlier)

3. Motorcycle Jump

4. Wave Thunder

5. Construction Zone

6. Kiddie Bumper Boats

7. Dive Bomber

8. Kite Flyer

9. Century Wheel

10. Tilt-A-Whirl (yes, on the Kidway)

11. Monkey Mayhem

12. MGR

13. Family Drop Freefall

14. Ghost Pirate Dark Ride

15. Copter Command

16. Berry-Go-Round

17. Dragon Wagon

18. Lady Bug

19. Mini Indy

20. Safari Train

21. Castlemaina

22. Mini-Swing

23. Speedway

24. Hop-A-Round (Kiddie Tampico Tumbbler)

25. Anchor's Away (Kiddie Swinign SHips)

26. Raiders

27. zamperla Jumping Star

28. Bumble Bee

29. Alligator Wet Boats

30. Glass House

31. Little Eli Wheel

32. Pony Cart

33. Kiddie Star Dancer

34. Looney airport

After taking our tour of the Kidway and in general looking at stuff we continued on doing the normal fair thing. From the Kidway we started up Machinery Hill and looked at some agricultural and snow removal stuff, and follwed it to the end where the "Big Boy's Sandbox" was set up. The Big Boy's Sandbox was an interesting attraction, for only $25 you too could rent a Bobcat (Hey, Todd!) for five minutes(!). Oh yeah you get a short safety training on the machine, but for your $25 you get 5 minutes to move dirt from one end of the lane to the receptacle on the other end of the lane. (They had the lanes set up in pairs so at the end of session, the receptacles empties into the opposite lane). We briefly watched this, you could tell the contruction-worker-types from the desk-job-types right away. (The Desk-job-types had poor manueverability, kept stalling out the poor thing, and occasinally took dirt showeres. (Emptying the bucket so that the dirt fell into the cab, oops), the Contruction-Worker types looked like artists in motion. We did have to laugh when the sample Bobcat on display advertised that it was equipped with air-conditioning. It's an open cab for crying out loud!.

Anyway, the fair has two skyrides, one runs from approximately the Food Building near the official main gate to a spot between the Mighty Midway and the Grandstand, this is a Von Roll unit with full enclosed gondolas. This skyride was also suffering from a prolonged downtime today. There is a second Skyride that runs from near Carousel Park to the top of Machinery Hill about where we are. This is the SkyGlider and features open air chairlift style benches. We noted that the Skyway fare was $2.50 and decided to walk, but did notice the rather large queue mazes setup at the Skyway terminals. We walked back down Machinery Hill but opted not to go inside any of the exhibition buildings. We people watched, saw the skatebording ramp, and continues around past the Space Spiral which we declined to ride, further past the Aviation exhibit where Jerry suggested I purchase the ultralight as the next Coasterville Aircraft. We continues around past the Bazzar, then the Haunted House which we also skipped (not a carival job, a real authentic, genuine, often imitated haunted house in a permanent structure that is said to be quite long inside), on past the Empire and then we saw Cameron get really easily amused at what I admit is a neat idea. They were deomonstrating a new model walk/don't walk light that has a nifty countdown clock telling you how much walking time you have left. (The DOT exhibit in case you didn't guess, they were also demonstrating the new idiot meters they are placing at the highway on ramps, you know the ones "One Car Per Green". Next to the DOT exhbit is another permanent ride, a Barr engineering River Raft Ride. $3.50, we declined after seeing the rather uninspired layout, and the fact the water was coming from the fire hydrant next to the ride.

We made our way back around to the front of the fair where Jerry purhased a CD from the Minnesota Public Radio booth, and had I thought of it, I should have gotten the CD he played in the car with the 'fair songs' as I call them. We came full circle where another MN Fair tradition awaits. The All-The-Milk-You-Can-Drink-Stand, the ATMYCDS was quite the bargain at 50 cents. I downed three 12 oz. servings (free refills as the name sugests) in a short period of time. We then snagged some food on the way to the midway, or I should say Cameron snagged some food on the way TO the midway,a rather large wonderful Philly Cheese Steak Sandwhich with all the trimmings. I snagged a Pizza-On-A-Stick while waiting for him. Calzone on a Stick would be a much better name for this delicasy.

We entered the midway and headed for the Bonzai (Fabbri Kamikazee 2). By now I suspect everybody is familar with the Kamikazee and its varients? Suspended from a large center pole are two arms,at one end of each arm is a counterweight bearing the name of the ride, at the other end is a passenger gondola, featuring numerous rows of 2 in a fully enclosed cage like car, with OTSRs and safety bars. The basic ride motion is that of a looping ship. On the Kamikazee 2 the passenger gondola has undergone major rework. Anything below the seat bottom has been removed to convert this into a legs dangling floorless ride. In addition the cage has been removed leaving the outboard side open, while the indboard side is qguipped with a plexiglass safety guard, which ends in an arrow mottif at each end. The end seats have nothing in front of them. We handed in 3 tickets each and took our assigned seats. The ride started and the Kamikazee 2 feels pretty much exactly like the Kamikazee 1, especially of you don't have an end seat. They do have a lot more speed to them than the looping ship rides seen at parks.

Ticketometer: 20 - 3 = 17

It was about this time that we decided to go to the car and fetch video equipment. It was a lengthy walk to our car, and we set a meeting time and place. I made sure I still had my admission ticket stub, as the tickets say "No reentry without ticket stub and handstamp". We walked back to the bridge this time cutting through the livestock exhibit area, back accross the bridge and to the hand stamp person. The handstamp given was with the cheapest grade stamppad imaginable and in fact by the time we went out to the car, got camera equipment, drank a bottle of water, walked back to the gate the handstamp was little more than a black smudge. The admissions staff looked to be getting tired of making judgement calls about the black marks on folks wrists. Jerry tells me they used to use wristbands for reentry and the more I think of it, the more I like the whole wristband for reentry concept, I wonder why more venues don't adopt that. From a few brief remarks with a ticket taker, we learned that they too would prefer the wristbands right about now. We reneter the fair, cross the bridge and head to our appointed spot at Adventure Park.

We were early which allowed me to get video footage of the SCAD tower in operation, being careful to videotape the weight limit sign to use as evidence at home that I did not try it. I then videotaped the Slingshot, and about that time Cameron and Loren appeared. Our initial plans were to ride the Skyscraper. We got to talking and by the time we started advancing to the ticket kiosk, Loren suggested we watch a cycle first. Yep, crap ride cycle, 4 forwards rotations, 4 backwards rotations, at a non-varrying speed. Our money went back into wallets,and we decided to videotape the Mighty Midway.

Or I videotaped the Mighty Midway while Loren and Jerry concentrated on still photos. Jerry takes exceptionally high quality photos, and has the timing knack down for those action shots. After taking a while to videotape the midway under a sky that was getting more cloud covered by the second, we ended up in the back of the midway.

Sitting at the back of the midway is the Crazy Mouse. Hmm, there is a coaster, I have a videocamera. Cameron, Jerry and I entered the Crazy Mouse line and soon reached the stations. While I handed in my 4 tickets, I asked "May I videotape the ride?" to which the response was a qualified yes (At your own risk, yada yada yada). Jerry and Cameron took the seat on the far side of the mouse, I sat alone in the right seat, on the middle of the bench. The lapbars came down, and while sitting in the station end, I lined up the shot as I do NOT attempt to use the viewfinder or LCD screen while doing POV rides. I filmed what is easily Academy Award winning POV, nice smooth, and the Crazy Mouse played its role extremly well, I think we will have to remember this exact seating arrangement as it caused our mouse to spin WILDLY after the pin was released. I mean it might make you nauseaus to watch the POV footage. We exited the ride and there was a playing of the POV on the midway for our group to watch and laugh.

Ticketometer: 17 -4 = 13

Well, after the Crazy Mouse, we decided to take another spin on the Space Roller. The video camera did not go on the Space Roller, despite the dare from Jerry. We boarded the ride and I let someone else take the outermost seat this time. Not to matter another super intense Space Roller ride which incolved being flipped, tumbled, and spun in ways you can't hardly imagine.

Ticketometer: 13 - 4 = 9

We headed down the midway, and the group split up. Cameron went to ride Bonazi, Jerry and I went to ride Storm, and Loren went to ride the bench in the sitting tent between two grab joints. Our Storm was ride was notable due to the fact that not 10 seconds after the ride started, it started to storm. Do you think they cut the ride cycle short? Not hardly. Talk about special effects and theming, talk about the ultimate spin ride experience, talk about getting a gratuitous soaking while spinning. Our host worked lines like "We're brewing up a real storm, here on Storm, at the Mighty Midway on a Thursday evening in Minnesota" into his spieling. After a liberal trip in the devil's washing machine Jerry and I joined the rest of the gang in the packed crowded sitting tent.

Ticketometer: 9 - 3 = 6

I looked back at Storm and can you believe that a)they had people in line for the ride, and b) they loaded those people onto the ride and ran it. The rain got much harder, we started laughing at the poor fools on Storm, easily forgetting that we had just been there. We stood out the storm for some time, and noticed that the canvas tents covering the game joints were starting to give way dumping very gratuitous amounts of water onto the people standing under them. Eventually the rain let up and we moved to more substanital cover under the Skooter building. Finally the rain stopped, and we found ourselves staring at a KMG nameplate, we photographed the KMG nameplate. The operator of the KMG ride bekoned us aboard.

It was at this point in time that we lost common sense and boarded the Xtreme. Xtreme is not a rough ride, but it contained copious amounts of water all over its structure that it was more than eager to shower up with as it ran. Between this, Storm, and running through the rain, I am now as wet as a rider on LeSourdsville Lake's Water Adventure Ride.

Ticketometer: 6 - 4 = 2 (Houston, We've got a problem! The rides require at least 3 tickets, sure I could play a carnival game for 1 or 2 tickets, as the Mighty Midway is also the cashless midway)

While I was contemplating my inusfficient inventory of ride tickets, we decided to go ride Ye Olde Mill. Rather, I decided I wanted to ride Ye Olde Mill, and I dragged the rest of the group along. You see, I am a sucker for vintage dark rides, and Ye Old Mill was built by the Kennan's in 1913 and was celebrating its 89th birthday. We made our way to the Ye Olde Mill building which was located right next to the Republican Party booth. We arrvied at the ticket kiosk for Ye Olde Mill and $2.50/person later we were entering the queue maze. The facade of Ye Olde Mill contains a rather large waterwheel that allegedly provides the current to drvie the boats around. The fron t contains some cheesey alpine scenry and you can see a second trough where the boat does a station float through. Plying the waters of Ye Old Mill were classic wooden red boats with wood floors and all. They looked quite similar to the watercraft plying Kennywoo's Old Mill. After some time, we were loaded onto the 6 passenger boat (3x2), and departed the station by going down a brief dip that did not get us wet. we advanced forward and entered the tunnel. Duh, who turned out the lights? I was expecting a Kennywood style Old Mill full of different scenes. What I got was a long dark winding tunnel dotted sporadically with static low quality scenes consiting of mainly cardboard cutouts. What is worse is that the scenes were not well lit and the boat cruised by them so fast I could hardly tell what they were. The scenes I did catch seemed to be fairy tales as on clearly depicted Babe the blue ox, helping to defend the 'family nature' of this ride. Oh it's a family ride alright, but I suspect that its a family ride in the sense of a "ride for making families" I mean it is a long dark passage, it it werent for the brief 10 second float through the station. We eventually reached the end of the ride where you went up the lift hill. Clever they built the station platform level with the top of the lift hill, that way they would not have to put it out on the ride circuit. We exited the ride and I videotaped the historical signage for the rides 89th birthday.

Disapointed that Ye Olde Mill did not live up to my hopes and expectations (I say to myself "It's a 1913 ride for crying out loud!) We continued to walk the grounds and Cameron invited me to tour the Haunted House. When I called his bluff by saying "Sure!", he suddenly lost interest in the Haunted House, and in the end we skipped it. It was at this point that Cameron and Loren decided that after touring the Empire they would call it a night. It was at this point that Cameron realized he had 4 ride tickets left and no intention of returning to the fair. He decided to will his remaining ride tickets to me.

Ticketometer: 2 +4 = 6 (I can afford two rides!)

I thanked Cameron and pocketed my inheritance. Jerry offered to run video equipment back to the car as we were going to pass right by the bridge to the parking lot. While he ran the camera stuff back, I availed myself of the ATMYCDS to the tune of 3 more 12 oz. servings. After Jerry returned reporting that he recieved grief at the re-entry lane due to the fact that his re-entry stamp was just a splotch of black ink when he got back. He presented his ticket stub and was readmitted. Those wristbands would have prevented that!

We returned to the Mighty Midway and I say again, nothing beats the lights of a midway at night. Jerry had never ridden a Wisdom Tornado, so we decided to stop there. Tornado is a nice circle spin ride that is sort of like a swing ride except that instead of swings, suspeneded from the ride frame are 7 or 8 spherical shaped cars, each containing 4 seats (with floors) facing inward around "The Wheel Of Insane Glee". By using the Wheel, the ridersd can make the 4 passenger car spin in the classic sense of a teacups ride. The ride started and at the height of the ride I clocked our tub at 15rpm. Rideman later reported to us that he has a personal best of 21rpm.

We did survive the Tornado and its classic spin ride glee, primarily due to the fact that the tub spun One Way Only .

Ticketometer: 6 - 3 = 3 (Zoinks! This means that not only are all 3 of my 20-sheets exhausted, I have used 25% of my inherited tickets) (16 rides for $30, I guess thats not TOO bad)

At this point Jerry had declard ride ticket bankruptcy, but luckily when it comes to carnival rides, there is no messy Chapter 11 to deal with. You just walk up to a kiosk labeled "Tickets", hand over some money (or credit cards here!), and they will set up back on the riding circuit with a whole new sheet of tickets. We went to the ticket kiosk and we noticed that they had a bargain sheet of 54 ride tickets available for just $30. (Making them about 55 cents each). In handed in $30 and recieved 1 54-sheet of tickets.

Ticketometer: 3 + 54 = 57 (Recharge)

We took our brand new ticket sheets down the midway and realized that the crowds had decended on the midway, but that wasn't all, the infamous Minnesota Mosquitos had also decended on the midway making our time decidedly less pleasant. We decided on the Space Roller, and Iwas again able to get an end seat. Wow, this ride gets better, though this time I was afraid I was going to kixk an operator when we flipped around as we were at the back corner of the platform. We also happened to have a carney from another ride on our arm, and I noted we got a much wilder ride than before.

After nearly falling exiting the ride (Those yellow lines do not all represent stairs, some represent subtle elevation changes, but I scored a 10.0 on the recovery and kept on walking towards MegaDrop.

Ticketometer: 57 - 4 = 53

We joined the line for MegaDrop, soon thereafter we were seated and finally we get a midway view. The MegaDrop crew is easily one of the most efficient ride crews around. We were seated the catchwagon hauled the ride vehicle to the top of the tower, a brief pause, then just as it is supposed to do the ride vehicle came crashing back down the fail safe brakes. Its a quick, swift intense ride, but it does have a problem inherent to drop rides. The ride is over so quickly it hardly seems worth the price of admission.

Ticketometer: 53 - 4 = 49

We started walking towards Magnum, but saw a lengthy line, then we headed to Power Surge, again a long line. We finally decided on Avalanche which although it had a line, the line keeps moving as the ride cycles its 4 passenger cars.

Avalanche is Amusement of America's Pinfari Zyklon, and Legend has it that it used to be Holiday World's steel coaster back in the early days of the Raven's flight. Since I do not have conclusive evidence of that, I count both the Firecracker at Holiday World, and the Amusements of America Avalanche on my track record. As we joined the queue Jerry advised me that I do not get a coaster credit for riding it today. (I.E. just because I have ridden it at both the OH and MN state fairs, I still only get 1 credit). So the coaster credit count stands at 200. Through no fault of ours, their happened to be 2 big guys behind us in line. As we got mud on our shoes, we climbed up the steps to the dirt covered platform, handed in 4 tickets, and were grouped with the 2 riders behind us. We chose the back seat, and after much struggling and stretching of the seatbelt, we were just barely able to fasten it. All 4 of us safely secured, we headed out of the station, and got a real nasty jolt when we engaged the lift hill. We then had a totally awesome Zyklon ride where our car flew right through those trim brakes as if they weren't even there. Fun laterals all around, and as we rounded the final curve, we saw a group of carnies with a look of fright in their faces as they ran out to all grab hold of our car to get it to stop before introducing itself to the car in front of it. Wow, how much fun can you have on a Zyklon! A noteworthy ride to say the least. (Paula is sitting back either laughing, apalled at what we did to their alleged former coaster, or saying "That guy still hasn't learned his lesson about overloading rides")

Ticketometer: 49 - 4 = 45

By this time, although we were having a great time, we looked at the clock, we looked at the ride lines, we got tired of feeling the Minnesota Mosquitos, and looked at our dwindling ticket supply, knowing that we were coming back Monday. We decided to head out.

On our way out we passed a Zipper, you know that old classic Chance torture device, that boom upon which is afixed 12 cars along a cable with two bullwheels so that not only can the boom roatate, the cars travel along side the outside of the boom, and the cars are mounted on swivels. I caught a case of "One-More-Ride-Itis" and we joined the line for the Zipper. We were positioned in lin esuch as to be in the last car. We enteredthe ride area, each handed in 3 tickets, and climbed up into the cage. The carney attempted to slam the door. The door met some resistance and even with some shoving by the operator the door was still more than 2 inches from the latch. Very puzzling turn of events as just about a month ago Jerry and I took several Zipper rides on the one at LeSourdsville Lake. Rejected we received our ticket refunds.

Ticketomter: 45 -3 +3 = 45

It was at this point we decided to head out, so we returned to the parking lot bridge to discover that due to the storms a muddy moat had formed. Ewwww. I got some muddy shoes, but we made our way to the car, then to Jerry's .

(Time Machine: In the meantime 3.5 days pass by, we take two trips to Valleyfair, a trip to the Mall of America (and Camp Snoopy), as well as a side excursion to Wisconsin Dells, but you can read about those amusement venues in future trip reports.

Trip Day 5: MN State Fair

Labor Day, Monday September 2, 2002

By now you are probably wondering, what more can he POSSIBLY say about a state fair, well Monday was a whole new eXperience, quite literally.

We arrived at the fair around 8:40 and used a general admission ticket to park our car. You see the official lots are $6, but the parking trolls will accept a prepaid general admission ticket as payment of the parking fee. Since a prepaid general admission ticket is worth $5, it is financially advantageous to use the general admission ticket. Besides the $1 savings it offers another benefit. The MN Fair uses a two stop system, first you stop at a worker who has a special cashbox strapped to his chest using a harness arangement, and this person takes your money and gives you a parking ticket. If you use the general admission tickets he just waves you past, the second worker tears your parking ticket and deposits it in the ticket can. Personally I see no advantage to this two stop system , but when in Minnesota, do as the Minnesotan's do. The parking lot also offers another odd quirk, to encourage carpooling and fewer cars in the lot, if you have 4 or more in your car, the parking fee is waived. Anyway, we enter the lot and get to park in the third row of the general parking, which is behind what virtually ammounts to a transit hub station for both city busses and the shuttles from the off site park-and-ride lots, at any rate it is closer than the 13th row which we were in on Thursday. We use our prepaid tickets to save $3 at the gate, cross the bridge and are releived to find the path clear on the ohter side. The area had bad storms the prior night, so I was worried about another big mud pit forming.

It should be noted, that being Labor Day and all, I decided to be patriotic and wore a nice blue t-shirt that has a rather large (for a shirt) rendition of the American Flag mixed with "Baldie", the blad eagle. I figured this shirt would go over well at a fair, especially on a holiday, and it did receive numerous positive comments from fairgoers and carnies throughout the day.

I expected my first stop to be the ATMYCDS but it wasn't open yet, so we made a rightand picked up maps, activity schedules, and the sheet of "Last Chance Day" specials. Of particular interest on the specials was that today would be a discount ride day. We then paused to look at the River Raft Ride with its empty trough, before passing by but not visitng the Petting Zoo. The Petting Zoo was noteworthy only for a sign which reminded me of Todd Long "Fun with our barnyard friends", it seems I've heard that exact phraseused by Todd to describe petting zoos. We rounded the next corner, walked past the Old Mill, Playland arcade, and skyride buildings and found ourselves at the base of the Space Tower.

Space Tower is a Space Spiral ride, like the one seen at Cedar Point. We also found that the Space Tower was open. $2 later we were entering the lower cabin. This Space Tower has padded seats, and it you look up at the cabin roof you note several stars which would be what you should expect to see when you look up in Space. The cabin doors were closed an a completely un-narrated ride began. The ride offered views of both the fairgrounds and the surrounding city. It was a pleasant sight seeing ride, and I also learned that just like CP, this one offers very little ventilation, much less air conditioning. The bright morning sun in the big picture windows intensfys the sauna effect.

We exited the Space Spiral and took a look around the Aviation Exhibit. On display were several older model historically signifigant aircraft, if you are into it. Older planes however to have a look to them that makes them interesting to the rest of us. One aircraft they had on display had a rather ingenious feature: fold-up wings. It seems the canopy they had to house this plane was not quite wide enough. No problem, they just folded one wing back (yes on hinges). I wonder how this effects its performance in flight if one of its wings is folded back.

From the Aviation Exhibit we made our way to the Bazzar, which houses booths of vendors from a sampling of the other nations that share the planet with us. Food vendors, crafts, cultural items,and anentertainment tent. International Fun For Everyone. After the Bazzar we took a look in the Empire (Dairy building) to see the heads of butter. From there we watched a while as the River Rapids ride was filled, then turned to look at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) park, complete with nature exhbits, animal exhibts, convervation exhibits, and a model fire lookout tower, complete with a sign that indicated today's chance of fire was "Low". We then looked in one of the television studio exhibits to watch the kids pretend to by news reporters. Jerry mentioned it was more fun when they had the kids playing weather forecasters complete with trying to point things out on a chromakey weathermap.

From the television exhibit we moved to Heritage Sqaure. Heritage Square is a rustic looking area, complete with a 'blacksmiths' shop. Heritage Square is where things historical can be found. Case in point sitting next to an old train is an old Tilt-A-Whirl car of a style clearly not used on modern Tilt-A-Whirl's, sitting next to the Tilt-A-Whirl car is a car from an older A. Herschell Kiddie Oval. Speaking of that train car, the one sitting closest to the ride parts was a car from Royal American Shows. Royal American Shows was a carnival that traveled by rail, upon closer inspection of the train car it was learned that one could tour the inside of it.

Inside the RAS car was a whole exhibiton RAS. Pictures, news clippings, posters, artifacts, and more about RAS. A lot of 'side show' stuff there as well. We toured that train car and learned that we could continue on into the next car with had more carnival stuff in it as well as model train layouts. From that car I nearly busted my butt moving to the caboose. Yes there is a sign "Step Down!", I assumed it meant as you entered the car, as it was above the door. No they meant on the connector between the cars, in fact right about when you first see the sign is when the grade changes. The final car had old railroading stuff, then we exited the caboose carefully and exited Heritage Square.

From Heritage Square I noted the irony that at about every fair I have been to the Public Safety building and First Aid buildings are located directly behind the main midway, and MN is no different. Coincidence?

We next toured a building that was exhbiting, well, uhm, lets just call it an interactive exhibit involving water.

From that mystery location, we proceeded to the main midway, and since we are entering the Mighty Midway, I shall remind you that:

Ticketometer = 45

When I enteredthe midway, I had a mission. I was determined to get to the KMG Experience before the crowds found it, in order that maybe, just maybe I could now fit on the ride. Over the last couple days, Jerry had put me on an exercise regimen that involved staircases that happened to have rollercoaster loading stations at their peak. Maybe, just maybe I lost enough to ride Experience.

We saw the ride cycle and start to come to a stop, we entered the empty holding area after handing in 3 tickets each, and were soon admitted to the ride arena. Once in the ride we went to our assigned seats, and I decided to relearn posture, as clearly my usual slouchy posture did not work. The automatic bars came down, and as suspected I did not hear the click. The bars were released and to my surprise it was Jerry who was moved to another part of the ride slightly out of my vision. The bars were re-lowered, still no click. I note the operators spending some time with Jerry, then they move to me. A shove, still no click. The issue finally gets resolved when the operator places both hands firmly on the bottom of the shoulder bar then jumps rather high, and applies a downward thrust with all his weight on the shoulder bar. "CLICK" and let there be a ride. Funny thing is I didn't feel near as uncomfortable as I did Thursday when they couldn't get it to click. The ride started and let me tell you is it ever disorienting. It whirls you, it twirls you, it flips you upside down mercilessly. But oddly enough I think I prefer the Space Roller. But the most importnat thing is, I got to experience Experience, giving the day a whole new experience, literally on eXperience.

Ticketomter = 45 -3 = 42

After eXperience, we moved along the way to Magnum. At Magnum we made a bad tactical error. We got in line right after each other, and lo and behold we got sent to the same car. The loader even commented on the bad pairing, but lowered the OTSR's anyway. What occured was the worst Magnum ride ever, in terms of being lifeless. We just could not get the tub to flip upside down for anything, I mean sure it would rock back and forth, but no flips. Boo, Hiss. I could have ridden Crazy Dance and only spent 3 tickets, and gotten the same ride.

Ticketometer = 42 - 4 = 38

Continuing along the midway we came to the Crazy Mouse which had the shortest line we had seen for it yet, there was some confusion when someone recognized Jerry but Jerry did not recognize the person but soon the two of us were shown to a car, and we each got half the car to ourselves. Not a good thing, as the spin action was pretty much lifeless, I mean we got a few spins to remind us we are on a Crazy Mouse, but nothing worthwhile.

Ticketomter = 38 - 4 = 34

In need of a good ride, we went to the Space Roller, and were not disapointed in the dementedly good ride we recieved. I want one of these for my home park, and I hear Paramount has one at one fo their parks, how bout one for PKI?

Ticketometer = 34 - 4 = 30

(Yikes 1/3 of the days ticket allotment is already gone)

Next up on the riding agenda was eXtreme. The KMG eXtreme 9 (Afterburner) was nearly full when we boarded. Todays ride just seemed shorter than Thursday's and the ride didn't seem to do much for me. Shame becuase Afterburner can be a really fun ride.

Ticketometer = 30 - 4 = 26

It was about this time we decided to take a ride break. Jerry showed me the Fresh Cut Fries stand and I purchased a regular order of fries that were so light and tastey they were wonderful. We washed the fries down with soft drinks while noting that the bleachers set up to watch the SCAD tower were full. That did not stop us from watching people voluntarily let themselves be dropped from a high point with no safety cable. In the end we decided that when watching SCAD it is MORE fun to watch the people watching the SCAD tower than it is to watch the SCAD tower itself.

After watching SCAD we toured the Grandstand to let our stomachs settle. The Grandstand serves asa multipurpose facility, while the actualy stadium was host to a pay-extra car race, the undersides of the grandstands hold a 2 level commerical exhibit area. Another section of grandstnads hosted an antique car exhibit in its underbelly. We toured the Granstand and the stuff in and around Carousel Park before returning to the Mighty Midway.

Upon return to the Mighty Midway we first rode the Bonazi. We learned a new feature of the Kamikazze 2, the innermost seats face each other just like Face/Off seats with no divider between the. Its a neat effect for a powerful looping ride. While waiting for the ride to start, we were seated by the dataplate which told us things such as the ride is made in Italy, can turn at 15RPM (Yikes!), and can withstand winds up to 40MPH and still operate.

Ticketometer: 26 -3 = 23

Right across from Bonzai is Storm. We took a ride on Storm, which included the dubious pleasure of being recognized and welcomed by the operators in that "Back for more, eh?" way. This ride lasted 2 songs instead of just one, and was quite the spin fest thrill ride. Again Jerry and I took the ride with no negative reactions. However, it was apparent by the looks on the faces of the family riding with us, that they had had just about as much Stormy Spinneyness that they could take. It was about this time, towards the end of the ride while it was still spinning wildly that Jerry and I discussed Pronto Pups, suggesting we have some right after the ride. The family in the car with us gave us that evil "if-looks-could-kill" stare that said "You guys can't be serious". Lukily the ride came to a stop and the other family was able to contain themselves.

Ticketometer: 23 -3 = 20

From Storm, we decided more spinning was in order, and so we headed to the the Oribter, which is another pure Spin-Fest. Interesting trivia point is that these rides leave the factory in the UK the cars don't have lapbars, those get added when they are imported to the United States. (Which explains why they look like afterthoughts). I for one an eager to try the ride without the lapbar. Not today of course, today we just get a good old round of Orbiter spinneyness.

Ticketometer: 20 - 3 = 17

From Orbiter, we give the Downdraft a second chance. While talking with its master operator, we learn that he thinks he has his green-help under control. Soon we board the ride, and after some movign around of seats, the lapbars comedown, and this Hurricane variant does its thing. I still like the Hurricane better. We walk along the gratuitously long exit path and rejoin the midway.

Ticketometer: 17 -3 = 14 (Yelp, down to just 33% of the days ticket allotment left)

We look at the Power Surge, but note that it had a long line and a single operator. Knowing that Jerry was rejected for size on his last Power Surge attempt, and that given recent events on the KMG we deicded to skip it, besided the Space Roller provides basically the same ride motions in a much more intense package.

Well, we rode the Power Surge, another intense flip-andspin fest ensued and I cemented the fact that I really like this ride.

Ticketometer: 14 - 4 = 10

From the Space Roller we return to Magnum, only this time we try a new tactic. Jerry enters the line, and gets seated on the ride, I hang back pretending to be interested in the Whitewater Flume sitting next to it until Magnum starts. As Magnum starts I join the line, ensuring that they won't pair Jerry and I up. Well I get paired up, but with a much smaller ride. What a difference that made! Talk about flipping, spinning, and more. The ride reached its zenith when we got stuck upside down for an extended period of time, while spinning like crazy. Love it! Totally cool feeling.

Ticketometer: 10 - 4 = 6 (Things are getting serious!)

Since we wanted to end our day on the rides, we decided to hold back our tickets and take another tour of the fair. First we stopped past for a soft drink, I chose that bottled Ice Tea crap, and unlike the stuff that comes out of the fountains at Holiday World, this stuff is sickely oversweetened. We take a tour through Carousel Park, then stop past the visitors plaza which sports the guest realtions center, official fair gift shop, bank, and post office.

The selection of shirts at the gift shop was rather disapointing, and we left the gift shop empty handed, (well we got some free air conditioning, and got a chuckle when we looked behind the counter and saw meds-on-a-stick. Yep those packets of medicine on a small stick. When they say this is the fair on a stick, they aren't kidding, why next door the US post office was selling Stamps-On-A-Stick, a sheet of stamps to which a popsicle stick had been attached. Around the fair you can find just about any conceivable food item on a stick, and even the flag dealer got into it with flag-on-a-stick. Shame I don't think the stick would fit into the Delta Size-Wise container. Of course there are also the stands that turn the whole stick culture around, like a dining hall that proudly prcoclaims "Defintely Nothing On A Stick"

From the visitors center, we take a tour of the Penny Arcade, which aslong with modern machines (including DDR), they also had a selection of penny aracde machines such as mutoscopes, mechanical baseball games, and more.

From the penny arcade we took another walk through the Kidway then another tour of Machinery Hill. At the top of Machinery Hill we stopped at an arena that was having a MechWars demonstration (Robot Battles). They didn't actually battle here, instead they put on demonstrations. Exhibitions as it were, at an Exhibition . It was a popular event with both tall sets of bleachers full and folks crowding around. These bots look a LOT more impressive in real life than they do on tv. "All of the Violence, None of the Guilt: No one dies, they just get reassembled. Uhm, unless they get smashed into a million tiny pieces......"

From MechWars we took another look at the Big BOys Sandbox, particularly becuase they had some people who had obviously never touched Bobcats so the results were humourous. "Hope you enjoyed that dirt shower!" The Bobcats themselves were showing a lot of wear, and the announcer quipped that the fair lasted one day too many for their equipment, must have been a rough day for them.

From the Sandbox, we walked to the Wonders of Technology exhibit. Here I was expecting lots of high tech electronics stuff to drool over. Nope, use of technology in science and industry. One booth in this building was particularly interesting because it was sonsored by Unisys. Unisys as you may know deals in security systems, high end security systems. The scenario they were presenting was airportsecurity systems of the future. The first system they demonstrated was fingerprint ID. That system I had no trouble with, and even got a realistic looking boarding pass from MSP to Paris on Unisys World Airlines as a souvenir. The other system they were exhibitng was a retina scan system. Knowing that from birth I have had a bizzare eye condition, I eagerly awaited to see how this machine would handle it. It didn't! Look of shock from the demonstrator, they tried again. Still the machine could not even get a control scan of my eye. We soon left a bewildered demonstrator who gave the old "It's another teams product, I'm just filling in for them" line.

Near the Unisys exhibit was one from a Luge organization. This interested me because all while watching the Olympics this past winter I had recurring dreams of wanting to do the Luge. After getting up close and personal with a Luge sled, I no longer have a burning desire to attempt to Luge. That seld is even tinier than it looks on television.

From the Wonders of Technology we continued past some NBA themed booth and then past the outisde of the 4H building which had a bunch of exhibits from assorted armed forces organizations. Also nearby was a booth exhbiting snowmobiles, Jerry floored me by showing me how high the speedometer on one of those is calibrated for. Yikes! We also toured the Education buidling which seemed to house a bunch of civic public service organizations. Eventually we came around and saw the outside of the Home Improvement building, interesting only becuase it figures into the lyrics of one of those fair songs I mentioned earlier. We made a turn past the food building, and decided to walk towards the midway instead of using the Von Roll Skyride after seeingit break down for a prolonged period of time on Thursday. See this was all timed to get me to the MSP airport in time to catch my flight.

We cruised down the main throroughfair and returned to the Mighty Midway where we took a ride on the Tornado. We got grouped with another group of 2 as they were clearly getting busy on the midway. The group we got moved in with indicated that we "Had better like going FAST!" Is that a warning, an invitation, or a challenge? We were seated and while the dad eagerly joined us in spinning the tub into oblivion, the son didn't look quite so sure..... No harm, no foul, another fine ride.

Ticketometer: 6 - 3 = 3

Well, Jerry scrounged his pockets and came up with 0 more tickets, he must have been ticket bankrupt (more side effects from inheriting those tickets from Cameron). We also decided that there was not enough time to make purchasing additional ticket sheets worthwhile.

I took my final 3 tickets to Storm, and had a wonderful spin-fest ride. (There was a long line, but then Storm takes 32 people a cycle)

Ticketometer: 3 - 3 = 0 (Yeouch! Ticket Bankruptcy!)

We then started heading back to the parking lot, where we made one last stop past the ATMYCDS for a few more 12 oz. servings of milk. We then exited out to the car. We also noted that the wind had pcked up considerably and was wisking papers and stuff all around, a results of a huge plush spill were being blown around, and it looked not unlike a snow. Lastly an unsuspecting fairgoer had they baseball cap blown off from the wind, unfortunately the guest was corssing the bridge, and the hat landed on the major road below. We then got in Jerry's car, and Jerry returned me to the MSP airport. In fact Jerry got stuck in a corner in that drop off lot and may still be there today. MSP airport does win the distinction of being the easiest trip trhough airport security since 9/11.


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