The Central Florida area is home to eight major theme parks, multiple smaller parks, and that tax dodge over near Millenia. Having a fair would just be a ridiculous level of overkill, wouldn’t it? I mean, why on earth would anyone want to go to the fair when you’ve got Disney and Universal and Sea World and Busch and Legoland and Gatorland and Fun Spot and Magical Midway and the other Fun Spot and whatever the hell Dinosaur World is?
And yet central Florida is home to many different fairs and festivals, and they come one after another during February and March. It would be an act of extreme overkill to try to go to all of them.
You know me. I like overkill.
We went to four Central Florida Fairs, and found that there were massive variances between them. Sure, they all have the basics – your fair food, your twirl and hurl rides, your questionable clientele – but it was fascinating to see how each fair had its own very specific style. Before we get started, let’s lay a little background out.
This was our fair. The South Carolina State Fair is held every October in our former hometown of Columbia. It can be a hit or miss affair. You tend to be frustrated immediately upon arrival because for some reason they never have adequate coverage for traffic and parking (which is really insane, because the State Fair is held directly adjacent to Williams-Brice stadium, where 80,000 people can converge on any given Saturday).
We found that familiarity bred contempt with the SC State Fair. Every year we’d see the articles about the “new, exciting” thing at the fair and it would end up being an article about the latest deep-fried fad or Luther Burgers (yes, the donut burger thing has been around for ages. Quit pretending some lame fair booth “invented it”).
The biggest disappointment tended to be the rides. Sure, the fair had a decent amount of rides, but so many of them tended to just be clones of themselves. We would have three different Flying Bobs rides, two different Fire Ball rides, two Rainbow/1001 Nights, and three variations of Gravitrons (most of which would be Starship 3000, 4000 or whatever). So basically it was just a shit-ton of twirl and hurls.
We’re nerds, so we’d go do the art displays too. But every year that art displays seemed to get smaller and smaller. Sure, at first that was good because there was just too much stuff. But the last time we went, we were surprised to see that entire areas of the building were closed off. What gives?
Even the awful vendor areas changed. Gone were the informational displays – it was just people trying to sell shit. And seriously, has anyone really ever been at a fair and suddenly said “wait, I do want a hot tub!” If you’re going to sell stuff, at least make it something sensible like a Slap Chop (you’re gonna love Vince’s nuts).
So yeah, the long story short here is that we love going to fairs, but we were bored with our fair and wanted to expand our fair horizons…
Hence this Tale of Four Fairs.
Now, I’m not going to be a jerk and make you wade through ten pages. I’ve broken them out to individual entries. You don’t have to look at it all at once. That would be…what was the word? Oh yeah, overkill.