by Talia Honikman
If you’re a student, you probably know that the fair came to Earl Warren Showgrounds over the weekend. If you’re a parent, you’re just as likely to be aware of its presence. I love any kind of amusement park ride normally, but I tend to be more cautious when I’m at the fair because none of the rides are permanent and because they’re so quickly constructed. However, by the end of my visit on Saturday, April 30th, not as much of the caution for these swiftly built rides remained. I went on rides that I thought I’d never have the guts to go on.
Probably the most terrifying for me of these was a ride called Starship 3000. Watching it from the outside, I found it pretty intimidating. It’s modeled after a spacecraft (hence the name) and it just spins. Before I rode it, I was convinced that you were belted into a seat and simply spun in circles at a ridiculous rate. I thought that if I went on it, I would get too dizzy to recover from it, and I wouldn’t be able to go on any other rides. In the end, though, I let myself get dragged onto it, telling myself that I was not going to like it. When we got inside, I found that instead you just leaned against the walls. I was immediately more wary and I planted my feet firmly on the ground, but maybe fifteen seconds after we started to spin the floor dropped. I was freaking out internally until I realized that the spinning was fast enough that it was keeping me glued on the wall (thank you, centrifugal force!) It was a nice surprise and a really enjoyable ride.
One of the most obvious rides at the fair, from the outside looking in, is definitely Footloose. After boarding the heavily secured, cagey seat, you get swung back and forth until you’re upside down一and then you’re held there for a few seconds before you’re released. I personally enjoy this ride a lot because it’s more controlled and there’s less of that stomach-dropping feeling you get when you’re falling. Eighth grader Hailey Zheng likes it as well, saying that it’s “an easy, relaxing way to get out of your comfort zone and go upside down. It’s just fun.”
Among my friends, the swings (or “wave swingers”) are always a favorite. It’s an amazing ride if you don’t want to go upside down or if you’re not a fan of big drops or flips, and the spinning is actually pretty relaxing. It’s fun to go on with a group of friends or on your own. You get a good view of the fair and the surrounding areas. One of my friends likes to use it to scope out what rides she’ll go on next.
The Music Express looks pretty harmless from an outsider’s perspective, but once you’re actually on the ride your opinion tends to change. When the ride began to increase in speed, I let go of the bar and put up my hands…and flew sideways into the person I was riding with. We were laughing too hard and having way too much fun to care, and we both continued the rest of the ride with no hands (despite the feeling that we might fly out of our seats).
“The music express is a lot of fun! At first it goes slow and then the pace picks up and it goes super fast around and around. They have the biggest person sit on the outside because the ride is on a slant, so the people on the outside get squished by the other person. Overall I loved the ride,” says seventh grade student Jubilee Lettieri.
Pole Position is the only roller-coaster-like ride at the fair. It’s pretty slow at first, but eventually it speeds up and spins around every time you turn a corner. Last year I rode it alone, but this year I rode it with a group of people I knew and it was a lot more fun. If you can, definitely try to ride Pole Position with a group of two to three other friends, since you’re more comfortable showing your emotions around people you know well and it feels kind of awkward to scream with people you’ve never met before.
The ferris wheel is a good finale for fair visits. It’s just a ferris wheel, but the views from the top of the ride are spectacular and you can just sit and chat with friends about anything you want to. It’s pretty relaxing despite its height, and when you look down you can get pretty cool pictures of the entire fair (these are helpful for social media) or just enjoy looking at all the rides.
If you didn’t get a chance to visit the fair this year, you should definitely think about going next year. It’s definitely worth it!