Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Fairs, Festivals and Carnivals, oh my.

It's the summer, and that means one thing: It's fair, festival, and carnival season.

I hate fairs, festivals, and carnivals.

This is the main reason -- kids run wild at these things, and bad things happen. On Sunday, a six-year-old died when he fell out of a ferris wheel:
Ruben Castillo was riding alone in his gondola, which was near the top of the 100-foot Giant Wheel when he fell Sunday afternoon, authorities said. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Gee, I don't know, maybe instead of watching from below, a parent or other adult-type figure ought to have gone with the kid to make sure he didn't climb out in mid-air. I mean, ferris wheels are dangerous. Maybe not as dangerous as being Saddam Hussein's lawyer, but still.

The other reason: I get motion sickness on carnival rides. I'm okay with big permanent structures like at Disney, but the flimsy little carnival rides make me puke. Literally.

Stop reading here if you get grossed out easily.

Eight or nine years ago -- and yes, I was theoretically an adult then -- my friends convinced me to go on some swirling thing, and I puked up my turkey sandwich, funnel cake, and cotton candy. While we were still on the ride. All over the place. It was like The Exorcist.

The worst part was that the carnival worker running the ride felt very sorry for me. He gave me a little stuffed animal, the kind that are used as prizes if you managed to toss rings around bottles, or break enough balloons with darts, or whatever.

My friends thought it was very funny. Of course I was very embarrassed, and just wanted to go home and change clothes.

Actually, that's not true. My friends still think it was very funny. It occasionally comes up in conversation. Sometimes they ask me if I still have the stuffed animal. (Yes.) Other times, they just tell their children about it, as a cautionary tale.


Justin S. said...

Come on Dara. Everyone knows that the puke in The Exorcist was pea soup, not turkey and funnel cakes.

Miss Scarlet said...

I can't ride anything that goes in a circle without feeling sick. I HATE the swings. I can't even look at them.

Dara said...

I actually know how the boy who fell out of the ferris wheel must have felt. I wanted to jump out of the ride, before, during, and after the puking.

At least I was smart enough to turn my head and puke away from my friend Jessica. I don't think we'd be friends anymore if I vomited on her.

DSL said...

I like festivals--no rides. Thanks for the tragic example of people who are woefully unprepared to be parents. The mother's explanation is that her 6 year old was supposed to be placed with a group of random strangers?

Anonymous said...

screw all you hippies who hate on carnies and carnival rides. its not there fault that other people couldn't control their children!!the carnies work damn hard to make thousands of people happy who get on there rides and they work extremely hard on keeping them up and running properly...i think that you people are judging the carnies toaly wrong.

sincerly, kayli

Anonymous said...

also if you cant handle the ride then dont go on them!!! X...kayli

Dara said...

Hey wait a second! No one here is judging the carnies. All of the judgment has been reserved for the parents who don't control or supervise their their kids at fairs, therefore making them less enjoyable for others.

And I generally don't go on rides. Except Gravitron. I like the feeling of no gravity.

Anonymous said...

I hate carnies. You f'ing freaks!!! Ohh, lets go see the elephant man, maybe I'll see him and puke my guts out.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I am the blogger who is running the site at
It is obvious to me that you were being critical about the parent, not the ride jock who was running the ride. It actually is a complicated issue since both parties, the parent and the ride jock are really not at fault. Of course, common sense tells you that you should not let a six year old on a ride, alone. That said, as a parent, I know my kids want to go on rides and I won't. Hey a lot of them are held together with a ten pin...about the size of a large bobby pin. They could be pretty persuasive about going on the ride alone...I know. A ferris wheel looks so innocent but some are as high up as a five story building. Perhaps the Mother was wrong to allow the child on alone. Who knows. There are no rules how to act as a parent, are there?
As to the ride jock. They have signs that say that a child under (normally) 42 to 46 inches are not allowed to ride alone, but what about the child that is big for his/her age? From what I understand, in this case, the child passed the requirements laid down by the states ride safety laws.
As I said complicated but maybe everybody here made some bad judgement calls.
Lots of carnies read your post and they didn't complain because you were not coming down on them. Just try to stay away from the stereotypes of the tootless carnie that smells of cabbage (Austin Powers, damn that movie) and everything is ok with us.
Tom Hoey

Dara said...

Tom: Thanks for presenting both sides of the issue articulately and intelligently. I always like it when there's a good debate on the blog.
I agree with your point about kids and there being no rules about how to parent. But, sometimes it should entail knowing that your kid might meet the height requirement, but is only 6, and therefore, you need to say no.
I'll have to disagree with you about the Austin Powers bit, though. I think it's funny.