The Herald Bulletin

July 18, 2012

Midway rides thrill fairgoers

45 vendors fill out event; welcomed rain sends everyone running for cover

By Tyler Dague
For The Herald Bulletin

ALEXANDRIA, Ind. — Bradley Mason, a Summitville youngster, was thrilled Wednesday as he recapped his rides in the midway at the Madison County 4-H Fair.

“My favorite ride was the boat one,” referring to the Hurricane, a lift-and-spin ride, “’cause it was goin’ super-fast.”

It wasn’t long though that Mason and fair attendees were not running from a hurricane but a downpour that sent everyone scampering for cover until the rain ceased about 5:30 p.m. Rides were temporarily shut down.

Fairgoers soon went back to tasty food stands and dizzying ride attractions.

As he walked through the fairgrounds, the Rev. Warren Brown of Alexandria, an attendee of the fair for over a decade, said, “The heat really does slow (the fair) down, but people love to be a part of it. I think the fair’s been real good for Madison County.”

Despite the heat and the storms, the midway has a lot to offer for Alexandria and the rest of Madison County. Between classic fair food and new and returning rides, the Madison County 4-H fair has delivered another carnival for the entire area to come and see.  

Robert “Butch” Lewis, chairman of the midway for the Kiwanis Club, said there are 45 food and souvenir vendors. Three of them are new this year: a shaved ice stand, a trailer serving soft-serve ice cream, and a stand offering Wild West soft drinks such as sarsaparilla. Lewis also noted the number of specialty vendors included a seller of hats, sunglasses and jewelry and an airbrush art trailer from Florida.

“They can airbrush anything on anything you want,” Lewis said.

Lewis also touted the cleanliness of the midway compared to other similar fairs, spraying the midway twice a day and having regular waste disposal.

Fair organizers installed water misting fans to relieve guests from temperatures rising into the mid-90s.

After 26 years of helping the Alexandria Kiwanis Club put out a successful midway, Lewis is still proud of the event, saying, “We have excellent entertainment on stage every night. Please come and enjoy the fair. It’s for everyone in the county.”

As for the star draws, the rides, Family Attractions Ltd. is back for its third year at the 4-H fair. Although many rides are old favorites, there is a new gondola-styled Ferris wheel, complete with flashing LED lighting to add to the mix and a kiddie ride based on Pixar’s “Cars” franchise called The Truckstop. Unfortunately, another new ride, the Ali Baba, styled like a flying carpet, broke down and will not be used this year.

However, the most popular ride, the Music Fest is back again, to take guests on a looped track at fast speeds while Top 40 radio hits play around them. For the little children, the popular Squadron ride, with rising and sinking jet plane design, and the Chinese-themed Orient Express roller track, has also returned to give them a fun experience while easing parents’ worries.  

Jack Armstrong, liaison between the Alexandria Kiwanis Club and the ride company, said, “We have rides for both adults and children. The (ride) bracelets are good from the time you buy them until we close.”

Armstrong also stressed the option of purchasing tickets if one is only going to ride a few times; otherwise, he believes the bracelet is an affordable option. Armstrong, noting the weather, emphasized, “We want to thank all the people who have come out and hope we’ll see more of them.”

The 4-H fair continues through Saturday at the fairgrounds adjacent to Beulah Park.