Every year, our town held an annual fair, and it was a time for sickly sweet fairy floss, sideshow alley clowns and classic carnival rides. Our fair used to transform ordinary acreage into an extravaganza of bright lights and festivities. Classic carnival rides churned out a production of laughter and joy, drenching the atmosphere for miles. Many of us have fond memories of our local fair, especially of the classic carnival rides.
The house of mirrors is one of the oldest of the classic carnival rides. The creator drew inspiration from the hall of mirrors in the Palace of Versailles in Paris. A maze of mirrors is enough to confuse the best of us, but it's a lot of fun to run around and do each year. I pitied the poor carney folk who had to clean those mirrors at the end of each day.
There's something mystical and enchanting about the carousel. The carousel is the centrepiece of a good carnival. It was always a pleasure to children perched up proudly on a horse as their mom or dad accompanied them on the carousel. Their squeals of laughter and joy chimed as they rode on their statuette horse that slowly moved up and down in rhythm with the carousel music.
The Zipper is the equivalent to a cage of motion. Each cage on the Zipper spins regularly and unpredictably, making the entire experience very squeamish-inducing for those onboard. If you are the type to suffer from sea or car sickness, the Zipper is not a ride for you. I’ve seen lots of people emerge from this ride slightly green around the gills so make sure you do not arrive at this classic carnival ride on a full stomach.
Dodgem cars (or bumper cars in the States) are the safest form of road rage! It was always fun to chase down your friends and ram them across the floor and watch them ricochet off the rubber edge. Dodgem cars tend to attract pile-ups, making it similar to peak hour traffic. The difference of course is dodgem cars are heaps more fun and don’t cost the earth like a normal car. Plus when you get up and walk away, everyone is laughing and joking about the twenty car pile up.
The Ferris Wheel is the beacon of every carnival. This classic carnival ride is the perfect setting for the hopeless romantics amongst us. Imagine, sitting there with your crush overlooking the bright lights and excitement of a pop-up carnival of festivities. It's the perfect moment to seal with a kiss!
For young children, this train journey is terrifying. For teenagers, this train trip will barely conjure up any feeling of fear. The last time I went on the Horror Train, I was four years old. I remember coming out of the ride with tears of sheer fear streaming down my face. Whatever the memory, a carnival would be incomplete without an age old horror train filled with ghosts and ghouls designed to terrify you.
This retro sci-fi spaceship used to land once a year in our town’s back paddock. I have memories of only the bravest amongst us embarking on the Gravitron journey. Once inside the spacecraft there was no turning back, it was time to grab a piece of wall and prepare for take off. My greatest fear was my own sick landing in my face. It was always entertaining to watch people spin upside-down during this ride.
The Tilt-a-Whirl is another unpredictable spinning ride. Tilt-a-Whirl is a flat ride, meaning there are not vertical flips, unlike the Zipper. This classic carnival ride is not as intense at the Zipper and it may make you feel giddy but is unlikely to make you ill. Tilt-a-Whirl is one of the tamer rides you will find at your local carnival.
This list of classic carnival rides focuses on rides our carney folk can quickly assemble and pull apart. Can you think of any other classical carnival rides missing on this list? What’s your favourite carnival ride? What else do you love about a good carnival or fair?
Please rate this article