Sunday, September 9, 2012

Week 34 of 2012 - Local carnivals and other things...

Probably the largest ferris wheel I've ever seen
The Ferris Wheel at Niagara Falls, Ontario

Whats the matter, Aunt Sha
"Local" Romeo, Imlay City, Harbor Beach, Bad Axe and even Cedar Point.  I remember as a child being intrigued with them and yet knowing that we wouldn't have very much money to spend on  the event.  It was usually a couple of carnival games...Games of Chance they called them.  Maybe a horserace, ring toss, darts, basketball toss, even the fish or duck pond or bowling...anything to win one of the large, stuffed animals.  That was the envy of every kid on the grounds.  I would watch someone carrying one and wonder what they did to win it and how much money they spent.  I also remember as a teenager pitching coins into the center of the booth.  The object of the game was to get so many into the glass dishes in the center.  The coins just kept bouncing out...those darn stuffed animals were still enticing!  Rides were the ferris wheel, tilt a whirl, scrambler and the dreaded salt and pepper shaker.  I remember being talked into riding it with Bianca Banash.  Her older sisters kept after us and we finally gave in and climbed aboard.  We both screamed our heads off...and I really was scared and didn't like it at all....the older sisters stood on the ground and laughed themselves silly.  Being best friends with Bianca was a great thing...except on the salt and pepper shaker ride.  My husband Mike says he NEVER did ride it.

I remember only a couple of small carnivals set up in Harbor Beach, with most of the "carnival" action taking place at the Huron County Fair at the fairgrounds in Bad Axe.  Fair Week is always the first week in August and is a big event for the whole county.  4H involves raising farm animals, showing them at the fair and then selling them.  There are also 4H exhibits of craft projects, sewing, cooking and equestrian exhibits and shows.  There is a substantial midway of rides and quite an assortment of carnival food...corn dogs, elephant ears, caramel corn, lemonade and snowcones, cotton candy and of course, Gibby's fries!  Attending the county fair was something that I tried to do once the boys were a little older.  We'd do a little budgeting so that we'd have money to go on "one price" day.  After paying $3-5 for parking the van full of boys...for $6-8 each, a wristband was worn and you could ride and ride and ride.  The boys would run from one ride to the next, over and over.  Occasionally, Mom would have to ride with them on one of the bigger rides.  If there was money left for a treat, they was extra...but everyone went home tired and happy.  Not being a "lifer" or part of the farming community, the fair was a new experience...but only for a few hours.  The locals sometimes camp in their RV's or campers to be close to the animals and give them the attention needed.  They would spend the whole week at the fair.

Pretty soon, Brad, Greg, Derek and Kevin (Brad's friend and our 4th son) and Jason (Derek's best buddy and our 5th son) would all beg for a trip to Cedar Point each summer.  We would get up at 4, leave by 4:30am and pull into the parking lot at Sandusky, Ohio just before the park opened at 10pm.  Kevin's mom, Marge, went a couple of times and she and I would see multiple shows in the air conditioned buildings while the boys stood in line and waited for the next adventurous ride.  We'd have a time to gather and make sure everyone was doing fine and then they'd run to the ride.  Marge and I would go to the next show.  We might see 6 shows during the time we were there.  The boys might ride the summer's "latest and greatest" 6, 8 or 10 times.  Occasionally, they would beg Mom to ride something.  When the boys were younger, I would ride right along with them.  My undoing....the last time I rode with them at Cedar Point...was the Iron Dragon.  It's a coaster ride that you have an individual seat and it is suspended from the top.  You kind of hang in the air and fly around the track.  For some reason, I got off that with my neck, shoulders and back totally out of whack...and that was my last coaster ride at Cedar Point.
Aunt Sue, Madison and even Aunt Sharon enjoying the great view!
Ashley and Greg on Ferris Wheel at Niagara Falls, April 2010

I have been to Disney in Orlando with the grandkids, recently ridden the huge ferris wheel at Niagara Falls and enjoyed every minute of it.  Would I make a vacation out of an amusement park?  No...but there's lots of fun memories that last a lifetime!

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