Well. It was bound to happen sometime. My streak of county fair-happiness officially came to a screeching halt on Saturday pretty much the moment Henry, Chooch, Alisha and I pulled into the field-cum-parking lot. $9 got us into the fair and I kept going on about how good it was that the rides were included in the admission.
Then I saw the rides and immediately wanted a refund.
There was no Zipper. No Freak Out. Nothing that looked new and daring.
Chooch found one of those obstacle course things and spent most of the day bounding to his feet at the bottom of the slide and getting right back into line. We kept trying to get him on rides that would do all the work for him, but he enjoys working for his entertainment. I did, however, get him to ride this little dragon coaster with me, but it was no Caterpillar, I’ll tell you that right now. Although it was pretty exciting that a carny was WORKING ON THE RIDE while we were on it. And half of the seats were broken so Alisha unfortunately couldn’t get on the same ride as us. I could tell she was sad by the way Henry was holding a discarded tub of Skoal under her face to catch her tears.
The only ride there that was semi-thrilling was 1001 Arabian Nights. When I saw it in the distance, it looked like the kind of the ride that swings up into the air vertically, while flipping the seats upside down. But all it did was swing to the side and over the top a few times, then if we were lucky, the dickhead carny would make it change directions.
The first time we rode it, after the safety bar went over our heads, Alisha warned me not to lift the bar in the middle. “It hurts,” she said. But I thought she was saying, “You have got to lift this thing right here, it gives you such a fantastic sensation,” so I did it. Right as the carny was stomping past.
“DON’T DO THAT,” he growled. Then he SHOOK HIS HEAD, like he’s so sick of assholes like me or something. I didn’t really understand what I did wrong. I was merely inspecting my safety. Something comes down over my head, I want to know about it. I had a huge beef with him after that.
Of course, we rode it again. This time, we sat in the back and he kept making threatening eyes at me. So I kept pointing at him. Then, just as the ride was gaining momentum, he made it stop! I honestly thought it was because I was antagonizing him, but evidently there was some kid in the front row who kept putting her legs out or something? This is according to Alisha, and she does have a crystal ball so we should just believe her.
With the ride at a stand still, he hulked his way over to the kid who dared defy him and began to yell. I’d love to tell you what he yelled but I unfortunately haven’t collected enough Pabst tabs to send away for my carny decoding ring.
He eventually started the ride back up again, but only let it swing around one direction so the ride was only half as long as it should have been.
“That guy’s such a bully,” Alisha cried in disgust.
“I’ll handle it,” I said. And when I walked past him after the ride was over, I blasted him with my best third grade cough-insult.
“Mmmm-BULLY!” I coughed loudly when he was right in front of me. He just kept his lips pulled back into a tight smirk and I wanted to coldcock him.
I caught up with Alisha and excitedly said, “I did it! I did it for you!”
“You didn’t do that for me,” she schooled. “You did it because this fair sucks and you’re bored, so you’re trying to cause drama with the carnies.”
She is so fucking right, too.
He’s no Kirk, I’ll tell you that much. He is no Kirk.
There was no organization to anything. The rides were just strewn about in this desolate field, and the “midway,” if you could even call it that, wasn’t level and had thick hoses and wires snaking about in no particular fashion. I had to make sure I looked down at all times while walking. The food choices were dismal, so I just didn’t eat at all. There were no real vendors like at the Big Butler Fair, so there was nothing really to keep us busy once we rode all the broken down rides, and I do mean broken down.
We were standing next to the Tilt-a-Whirl while Chooch was on some spinny kid ride and overheard the carny say, “FUCK. This is the sixth time today it overheated” as we watched all the riders exit post-haste.
The Hurricane was broken down when Alisha and I attempted to get in line. The dragon roller coaster was broken down later in the day once my sister got there and Chooch wanted to ride with Brooke. We attempted to go on the Paratroopers, but it was temporarily closed because someone puked on it. “Unless you want to help us clean it!” laughed a carny approaching with a bucket. It was a horrific scene.
We did end up riding the Paratroopers later in the day, after it had been disinfected. Standing in line, I watched as all the umbrellas swung past and it made me sad to see how faded and chipped they were. And while on the ride, I looked down at the rest of the fair and was honestly overcome with sadness. It was such a depressing sight. Litter all over the dead grass, tattered awnings covering the game booths. None of the rides looked like they were taken care of; most of them had cars that were practically Caution-taped. Even the Paratroopers had umbrellas that were out of commission.
It was like going to a battered woman shelter and taking them out for a ride. That’s how broke-down and depressing the entire atmosphere of the Washington County Fair was. I felt horrible that I suggested my sister meet us there.
But at least Chooch and Brooke got to ride things together.
Brooke originally wanted no part of Chooch’s obstacle course obsession, but he finally convinced her to try it and she quickly became a believer. If it hadn’t started pouring down rain, they probably would have stayed on it all night.
My sister Amy, Chooch, Brooke and I were in line to ride the Tilt-a-Whirl. It was almost our turn and of course it broke down. We tried again after spending 47 hours in the petting farm. This time, we made it on the ride! As the carny opened the gate for us, he smiled real proudly and boasted, “I just had my first puker of the day!” That probably should have concerned us more than it did, but we shrugged and picked a car.
The fucker only went around 2 or 3 times before breaking down. “It overheated again,” the carny said sadly. “Come back in 20 minutes!” Yeah, no thanks. Riding the Tilt-a-Whirl was like trying to fuck a flaccid dick.
This was the only ride that looked nice. Unless you hate clowns.
Let me try and make it easy for to get a feel for where we were. When we were standing in line to get in, we couldn’t help but eavesdrop on the conversation a family was having behind us. The man sounded like he’s on the King of the Hill voice over pay roll. Then I turned around and saw that the voice belonged to the body in the picture above and I was actually startled. Henry even at one point said, “I feel like we’re in the backwoods of Kentucky, not Washington, PA” and Henry never judges!
Even the balloons look dejected! Like saggy grandma hobo boobs. It’s 2010 but this is a NEW GAME AT THE FAIR. The president of J&J Amusements surely had to have sold his collection of raccoon hats to afford such lavish entertainment. None of the game carnies even bothered to entice us to play. Let’s get one thing straight here, I go to fairs to feel good about myself, to have a carny ogle my tits and try to wrangle me over to his game table with a lasso of filthy flirtations and cliched lines. Neither of these things happened there! They were too busy hating their lives.
At least I got to see my sister, if only for a little while. And Chooch had fun, even though judging by his feet it looks like he spent the day trying to cross the border.