Tag Archives: county fairs

Trip Report: 2013 Middlesex County Fair

Ferris Wheel - Middlesex County Fair 2013Middlesex County Fair, celebrating it’s 75th year now, is exactly what it says on the tin: the county fair of Middlesex. Aside from the New Jersey State Fair, this is probably the most all around agricultural fair I’ve been to with a good mix of rides and things to do and see. My friend and I had so much fun last year, that we decided to meet up at the fair again this year on August 10th .

I arrived at about 2:30pm after getting caught in some traffic and taking a wrong turn. Let’s face it, Route 18 is almost as bad as Route 22. Admission was $7 and the midway was done by Skelly’s Amusements; the fair had:

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Trip Report: 2012 Middlesex County Fair

Last year when I attempted to attend this fair I got stuck in a gnarly traffic jam extending down Cranbury Road, the road directly in front of the fairgrounds. I eventually ended up turning around since by the time I arrived it would have been about an hour until closing. This year was much different luckily, one of my friends and I arranged to meet up at the fair on the first day, August 6th to check out the festivities. The midway was brought in by Skelly’s Amusements and the fair had…

  • Zipper
  • Cliff Hanger
  • Typhoon (ARM Ali Baba)
  • Xtreme (Wisdom Super Sizzler)
  • Tilt-a-Whirl
  • Pharaoh’s Fury
  • Round Up
  • Ferris Wheel
  • Euro-Bungee
  • Mardi Gras funhouse
  • A selection of kiddie rides
  • A plethora of foodstuffs
  • Multiple shows (including pro wrestling, farmer show, crazy German man on unicycle, etc.)
  • Animals and 4H stuff

I got to the fair at around 6:30pm, my friend getting there at like 6; it wasn’t nearly as bad on Cranbury Road this time around but I was still fighting rush hour traffic until I got around the Rutgers University area. Admission was $6 bucks and I eventually met my friend after a few minutes of being confused with the layout. We checked out some of the animal barns first which seemed to be divided into larger animals like cows, sheep, goats and smaller ones like guinea pigs, chickens and reptiles.

Next we headed towards the midway but not before stopping to see Hilby the Skinny German Juggle Boy, a street performer style show featuring a lanky German man that spewed out an endless chain of jokes and puns while performing. At one point he asked for a kid to volunteer and his stream of teasing caused one potential volunteer to turn around and run back to his parents. I’ll admit, I laughed a bit…I’m terrible. His act was so good (check that, his humor was so ridiculous) that my friend purchased his DVD, which we’ll have to view on an upcoming bad movie night.

Next we watched some pro-wrestling going on in a tented area. The first match was a tag team match between two generic babyface’s who happened to be the tag-team champions versus a couple of heels, one of which having an angry businessman gimmick…or something like that. The second bout was a confusing tornado tag team match where everybody seemed to be fighting everybody, no matter whose side they were on. It was just complete bedlam; I don’t even know who the hell won in the end. We stopped by a blacksmithing demo next to check out some  smithing.  It looked like they were making tools for a fireplace set or something of the like; see I was kind of hoping they’d be making Griswold’s Edge or possibly the Shadowfang demon blade.

We headed down to the midway next which was actually surprisingly crowded for a Monday night. Skelly’s seemed to run a pretty nice looking show with some sharp looking rides, a few of which having been outfitted with LEDs. Typhoon, an ARM pendulum ride, was one of these LED clad rides and practically lit up the midway with its excessive lighting. Pharaoh’s Fury sat on the edge of the midway; I’m still unsure of why Chance decided to give a swinging ship an Egyptian theme, but hey I guess it works. Xtreme, a Super Sizzler, was a ride I haven’t seen in some time now; the last time I rode a Super Sizzler was probably back in the late 90s. The ride actually looked really nice with a mix of neon colors and a back flash with some random 80s-esque designs. The ride itself spun forwards and backwards with the outer sweeps spinning markedly faster than the main sweeps.

Zipper sat in the middle of the midway and actually had rows of fencing set up to queue riders into some semblance of a line; the rides that didn’t have this luxury all had masses of people that spilled onto the midway thoroughfares. By the way this was the eighth different Zipper I’ve seen this year. Across from Zipper was a Dartron Cliff Hanger which seemed to be pretty stock looking with the usual green, yellow and purple color scheme; I don’t think I’ve ever seen one with another color variation. Gravitron and Round Up sat next to each other off to the right of the midway. Gravitron looked like it had LEDs with flame designs on the flash. Round Up had green, blue and yellow lighting along with small flags spread out around the top of the cages. Definitely a nice looking ride, only beaten by Blue Sky’s swag looking Round Up with the old school florescent tubes.


After milling around the midway we walked around some of the exhibit buildings. One of which housed all the arts and crafts sent into the fair to be judged. Oddly they were all secured behind chicken wire fencing, possibly in reaction to an incident that occurred in the past that warranted the addition of these obtrusive barriers. It’s fun to think that maybe someone attempted to maim a rivals entry but the real reason probably isn’t as exciting. As always there was a lot of good artwork and also a lot of laughably bad attempts at artwork that were most likely showcased out of pity.

Now at this point we were going to watch the Farmer John show at my friends urging after catching some of his antics prior to my arrival. Before the show Farmer John released three goats into the crowd to be fed by a few kid volunteers. It kind of worked, one goat drank milk from a bottle held by a kid, another attempted to eat the fries off some guy’s plate and the final goat ran around the hay bales set up as seating. This all came to an abrupt end as the fireworks show started, interrupting poor Farmer John’s exposition of animal wonders. The fireworks were actually pretty good with a lot of loud, punchy sounding salutes. I took the time to take some strange fireworks photos (aka. focus on infinity and then shake the camera around) after seeing a similar photo in the photography competition.

Cliffhanger and Zipper

Farmer John started after the fireworks ended. We stayed long enough to see him do tricks with his adorable Border Collie and then show off a goat, spraying goat milk right into the audience at one point. We walked over to the pig races next which was just about wrapping up with the final race when we arrived. Afterwards I went to take some more photos of the rides while my friend went to check out some more of Hilby. We left shortly afterwards as it was nearing the 11pm closing. Nice fair overall with quite a lot of stuff to do, reminded me of a mini NJ State Fair.


Trip Report: Warren County Farmers Fair 2011

As the first week of August rolled around I decided on either going to the Middlesex County Fair or the Warren County Farmers’ Fair as both were happening the same week. On Thursday night I made the decision to head down to the Middlesex County Fair as I had been to the fair in Warren last year. Well as luck would have it, I hit a disgusting traffic jam caused by fair congestion; I mean, people walking on the sidewalk were moving faster, no joke. Being the short fused driver that I am and the fact that it was nearing 8:30pm and I was only halfway through the mess (with the fair closing at 10) I decided to just turn around. Needless to say I don’t think I’ll be heading to that one again.

I was still eager to put my new camera to the test so the next night I decided to check out the Warren County Farmers’ Fair which was a longer drive but at least with no traffic tie-ups or excessive back road travel. I arrived at about 8:15pm and quickly found a spot in the parking area (aka a field.) Admission was $6 and the fair had:

  • Fireball (Larson)
  • Hurricane
  • Pharaoh’s Fury
  • Spider
  • Scrambler
  • Scooter
  • Ferris Wheel
  • Mini Himalaya
  • Fun Slide
  • A myriad of kiddie rides
  • An incredible amount of greasy treats
  • Animals, vegetables, art, tractors
  • Vendors. Vendors everywhere.
  • Demolition derby

This was basically your classic county fair, bigger than the Morris County 4H Fair but smaller than the NJ State Fair. The rides were provided by Valley Amusements who don’t seem to have a website unfortunately. Fireball was the lone looping ride at the fair and ran on a one direction cycle with lengthy pauses upsidedown (like 15-20 seconds of hang time.) Hurricane, an older Hrubetz model, got some new green tube lights or something because it gave off this extremely vivid green glow, much brighter than the last time I saw it. It kind of looked like it had been irradiated by radioactive waste and was glowing as a result. The thing was attracting moths like crazy as well. Those poor ride ops must have had their cornea’s burnt by the lighting, it was just intense.

Spider looked very nice with a black paint scheme (really is there any Spider ride that isn’t black?)  along with yellow turbo lights and green florescent tubes. It also had a white globe in the center with multi-colored lights. Scrambler was an Eli Bridge model with long, gaudy yellow light tubes on the sweeps and multi colored banners on the arms. Not exactly the most visually pleasing Scrambler ever but it works (hell, it’s better than ones with no lighting at all.) Pharaoh’s Fury seemed pretty stock looking with alternating red and blue lights on the supports and some lighting on the boat itself. The Ferris Wheel had some yellow light tubes, albeit not all lit, and the Scooters had a mostly pink lighting scheme.

The fair also had four animal stables with each housing different livestock such as horses, pigs, alpacas, and goats among other things. On the opposite side were more buildings and stables featuring antique tractors, vegetables and plants, artwork and vendors. The entire back portion of the fair surrounding the arena also had numerous vendors and foodstuffs. Speaking of the arena, they had a demolition derby that night which was a separate admission. The fair also doubles as a hot air balloon festival and featured hot air balloon rides in both tethered and non-tethered flavors along with a mass balloon launches at 6:30pm (which needless to say I missed.)

After making the rounds a few times I left the fair at close to 10pm. Nice fair with a lot of stuff to do and see, too bad I couldn’t make it down there earlier for the hot air balloons though!

Also, I took some video to test out the HD video function. Better use manual focus next time (which it has for video surprisingly!)

Warren County Farmers Fair 2011 from The DoD3 on Vimeo.

New Jersey and Surrounding Area Carnivals 2010

Click here for the 2013 list!

It’s that time of the year again! Here’s a list of medium to large fairs and carnivals in and around New Jersey for 2010. If you know about a medium to large carnival (ie. with adult thrill rides and not just kiddie rides/inflatable attractions) that isn’t listed here that’s within the area, please drop a comment about it and I’ll try to add it. I’ve also added a map this time with the fairs plotted out so that you can quickly get directions if you plan on checking it out. This list will be updated throughout the spring and summer, so make sure to check back!

New Jersey

Southern New York

Eastern Pennsylvania