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This is a question Fairgrounds, theme parks, circuses and carnivals

Tell us about the time the fairground came to town and you were sick in a hedge; or when you went to a theme park or circus and were sick in a hedge

Suggested by mariam67

(, Thu 9 Jun 2011, 10:37)
Pages: Popular, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

"Pull your jumper up!"
My grandparents took me on holiday to Butlins twice, once to Barry Island in South Wales (now demolished) and then to Pwllheli in North Wales. On this second trip I took one of my friends from school, Paul, and we spent much of our time hurtling around the site on our suedette disco-style rollerboots which were all the rage at the time.

One afternoon my grandparents suggested that we all went to the fair on the site so we could have a go on all of the rides. We started on the roundabout (there is a picture of me somewhere with a stunning basin hair-cut and a revolting T-shirt looking absolutely terrified for some reason), then went onto what was called the “parachute ride” (a kind of roundabout where the seats hung down from a horizontal metal wheel, domed “parachutes” above the seat, and as the ride started to spin it would be lifted towards the vertical – you’ve seen them before), and finally headed for the waltzer.

Now I’ve never been a fan of the waltzer, especially when some slightly rough-looking character insists on standing behind you, wildly spinning your carriage in order to “heighten” the experience. We stood, watching the cars spin around, and noticed that one of the cars – the black one – seemed to be much faster than all of the others. Note to self: don’t get into the black car. The ride stopped, we all poured in, and sure enough the only car which was free for us to ride in was the black one.

My grandmother stood outside the ride holding onto bags and coats for us, and one of the assistants fastened Paul, my granddad and me into the black car. A few seconds later the ride began to spin, and true to form a rough-looking character appeared from nowhere, stood behind our car, and started to spin it violently as we whirled around.

I remember hearing my grandmother shouting “pull your jumper up! Pull your jumper up!” and wondered why she was making such a peculiar exclamation, especially as I wasn’t wearing a jumper at the time. I looked across towards Paul and my granddad and saw Paul laughing, but my granddad – sitting between us – looked a little peculiar, his head slumped forwards, and he was suddenly violently ill, a stream of vomit pouring from his mouth, but as we were spinning it sprayed us all like an evil mist. The character behind us stopped spinning the car and shouted “PUKE!” to somebody somewhere, and the ride finally slowed down. As we stopped we looked at ourselves and we were all equally covered with vomit, a good layer of it also covering the floor of the car, and the rest of the ride.

“Sorry,” we murmured as we walked from the ride, the massed crowds of Butlins holidaymakers giving us a wide berth as we headed off to get changed.
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 17:25, Reply)
Recipe for disaster
Next week I have volunteered to run a stall at my daughter's school summer fete.

I didn't get "splat the rat", or "guess the number of sweets in a jar", I didn't even get the refreshments stall.

Oh no, from 10am to 3pm I will be manning "The Sweeper", a school-made version of the popular event from Total Wipeout.

I'm no genius, but something tells me St.John's ambulance might have a busy day.
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 15:59, Reply)
I volunteered to be the guy to hold an apple in mouth while my initials were carved into it with a chainsaw.
But now I just tell people I have a harelip to avoid the long story.
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 15:35, Reply)
Much like Humpty was pushed
I wasn't sick in a hedge, but I threw up in a bush once.
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 15:30, 3 replies)
I avoid rides and rollercoasters like the plague....
Personally, I'd rather spend my time doing about a million other things rather than being strapped into a vehicle that takes me round in circles, whilst children ceaslessly scream their lungs out.

This kind of story from my local rollercoaster a few years back also doesn't help:

"In 2004 the Brighton Marine Palace Pier Company (owned by the Noble Organisation), admitted an offence of breaching public safety under the Health and Safety at Work Act and had to pay fines and costs of £37,000 after a fairground ride was operated with part of its track missing."

Part of the fucking track missing?! Seriously.

I can't think of much worse than soggy chips, then a disapointing roller coaster experience, followed by a slow death of drowning after plummetting into the sea and being strapped into the ride. Super smashing great.
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 15:07, Reply)
I once rode the Big One
I.e - your mum.
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 14:58, 2 replies)
Janice this hurts
No Story will come close to this

www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1L4v6lEWCQ
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 14:27, 4 replies)
Disney land is the devil of all theme parks,
Not only is Disney a cancerous lump on the arsehole of culture, but those creepy fucking men dressed up as characters in animal suits playing with the kids. When they ever approached me as a kid Id take much pleasure in giving em a fair old wack in the shins. Repugnant bastards go get a proper job !
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 13:47, 7 replies)
Blizzard Beach
Last year, we took a family trip to Walt Disney World. After the best part of two weeks' spent at the main parks, we decided to try the water park, "Disney's Blizzard Beach". Great fun, and home to the (second) highest water slide in the world, "Summit Plummet". The operator told me that the fastest she'd seen anyone go down it was 89 mph.

Anyway, there's a sign at the top "advising" patrons to cross their ankles on the way down. In my opinion, it wasn't emphatic enough. In the excitement and thrill of jumping from a rickety tower 120ft off the ground, I forgot.

Without crossing your ankles, the inside of your legs form a rudimentary funnel, blasting tepid chlorinated water/urine solution into the lower gastrointestinal tract at around 90mph.

I have been anally violated by the Disney Corporation, and I enjoyed it.
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 13:46, 4 replies)
Clay County Fair
Typical country fair here in Florida - a week or so of overpriced, unsafe rides, heart attack inducing foods, a pavilion with the products of the local artists, sewing people, cake makers, etc; another big pavilion with pigs, goats, ducks, and other assorted livestock.

However, the best thing was one of the "funnel cake" booths. Spotty teenager was bored out of his skull, so we ended up with the world's largest funnel cake. Three of us couldn't eat it all. I have a photo that once I discover how, I will post.
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 13:33, Reply)
I can handle
Nemisis, I can handle the corkscrew, rita, 13, infact pretty much any ride.

I love them, the adreniline rush is amazing.

However, I cannot handle Hex.

THats right, the ride which simply rolls slightly from side to side.

The only ride ive come off nearly barfing at the exit.
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 13:12, 4 replies)
My daughters school summer fair
I was roped in to help on a stall, and got 'the wheel of fortune'.

£2 a go. You spin the wheel, and if it stops on one of the places with a star, you win a prize. Some of the prizes were pretty good - £100 vouchers, Bundles with bottles of champagne and DVD's etc.

However, something made me really uncomfortble. It was really busy, and there was a constant stream of people coughing up their £2 for a go. Probably 1 in 12 would win.

Among all the players were the kids. There were a few who were absolutely gripped by it, and kept coming back to play again, and again. They'd pay the first go with a £2 coin, then come back with a £1 coin, and 2 50ps. Then they come back with a big fistful of silver - obviously scraping together the last few pennies they (or their parents) had.

I know it was for their school and all that, but I felt really bad to be taking £10 off of 9 year old kids so they could gamble, and win fuck all.

Saving grace, we had a pot of lollipops. I gave all the losers one. Stupid little bastards seemed just as happy with that as they did with a £120 Picnic hamper.
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 13:10, 4 replies)
The spinning disc ride...
You know the one, spins so fast that you are pinned by the g-force against the side as it slowly works it way from horizontal to a near vertical position.

If you are lucky enough to know the operator who doesn't care about health & safety (or quick enough to move after the ride starts) then give it a try when doing a handstand.

It truly is an awesome experience that can only be appreciated by those who have tried it.
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 12:54, 9 replies)
Bagatelle

Many years ago - when I was a young school'un. I went on a school trip to France.

Part of the trip was a trip to Bagatelle. Full of fun rides and attractions.

We had been on a couple of rides by the time we arrived at the log flume. There was about 5 lads, me being one. and there was a group 5 girls with us aswell. Queuing up for the log flume, we realised ( a bit too late) it was 4 to a boat. Well, me being slow, ended up being person number 5 of our lads group Meaning I had to get on a boat on my own. There was also a geeky skinny girl in the group of girls in front that had already jumped on a LogBoat - leaving her. So to save time, and to avoid a confused argument with the ride attendant, i ended up getting in a boat with her. She went in the front. I went in the back... as far away from the uncool girl as possible. There was about a 1.5 - 2 metre space between us.

As she was the uncool one, we didnt speak, and what followed was 5 minutes of excruciating silence. boat goes up, boat comes down, splash, silence.... I could hear the logs in front and behind, screams and yelps as they hit the water.. they were enjoying themselves, laughing... I was stuck with her. In silence.

Then the big flume came up. For some reason, having seen pictures of the flume all over the park with people in freefall with the arms in the air - i decided to do the same...

Log goes up, my arms go up - log goes down - splash... forgetting that my arms were needed to hold on instead of feel the breeze between my fingers, I was thrown full speed into the back of this girl.. my head - still with plenty of momentum, then proceeded to slide down her side, my nose now in excruciating pain, I find my self soaking wet, and in the footwell next to the uncool girls feet.

She didnt say a word, I got off, and tried to explain to my mates why my eyes were streaming and bloodshot, and why I had scratches down my arms and back.
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 12:38, 4 replies)
Forbidden Fruit
Wandering around in the small hours of the morning, my brain completely pan-fried on magic mushrooms, I decided it would be fun to go and look at the ocean as the sun came up. Oooh, look at the pretty colours! I'm sure sunrises aren't usually purple and green, but whatever. Now I'm just wandering around the beach, giggling at my inability to cope with ground that moves when I step on it.

I round the corner of a building at the edge of the beach. And stop dead, entirely unable to cope with what I'm seeing.

I'd wandered up to the back of a fairground, and was confronted with a very realistic red and yellow apple, which was completely normal apart from being six metres high. From the other side, I later discovered, a caterpillar-themed kiddie roller coaster weaved in and out of holes in the apple; but at that moment I simply stood and stared, probably for quite some time, at this unfeasably large fruit.*

* Actually, since this was near Dukes Mound in Brighton, there were probably quite a few unfeasably large fruits around...
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 12:32, Reply)
I was once...
...urged to 'go on the rides' at a local fun fair. Imagine my surprise when, after handing over my hard-earned £3, I was instucted to urinate over eight young men dressed as and imitating an Oxford-based shoegaze band from the early 1990s...
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 11:19, 2 replies)
I went on a ride once
but it made me feel icky so I never did it again.
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 10:37, 2 replies)
So do some people actually decide to be ride operators then?
At mobile funfairs I mean, not theme parks. Judging from some of the stories this week it would certainly seem so. I always thought that fairground ride operators were the toothless, malnourished inbred offspring of the older ride operators, forced at a young age to learn the family 'trade' instead of doing things like going to school until after a few years it's all they know and they have no choice but to fuck their sister and continue the cycle.
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 9:32, 3 replies)
They're in safe hands alright!
Last one – I think the rest should come under a ‘work QOTW’

It’s the summer of 1996 – I’m a ride operator at Flamingoland on the ‘Go-Gater’ children’s roller coaster and generally having a laugh with the kiddies and ogling the mothers.

One day my beloved go-gater comes of the track slightly and I have to close it. It turns out one of the wheels (the little jumbo skateboard looking ones you get underneath the track to hold the car on) has worn out and allowed the back end to ‘step out’ a bit – whoops made a good screeching noise though!

I help the fixer man mend my little baby and we’re under way again.

Children loving it – some parents pleased for them and some just glad to be rid of them for a couple of mins.

As the car goes round I notice something in the other side of the track. I wait for the car to go through the station – and give the kids a high five as they pass me – then leap over the track into the ‘no-mans land’ in the centre of the ride.

The parents look on wondering what started this mystical behaviour.

Imagine their joy when I pop back onto the station platform with the broken wheel the fixer left behind in my hand like the heart of a conquered savage!
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 7:43, Reply)
Disneyworld ....Too many burgers?
Some friends of mine took their kids to Disneyworld and while they were there they stopped somewhere to put their feet up , have a coke and a bite to eat. Sitting opposite them was an American family including " One of the fattest men I have ever seen in my life " to use one of my friend's words. After a while this other family got up to go , well all but one that is, the big guy could not get up at all as his arse was firmly wedged into the chair . One of the other members of his family went to get help and apparently they had to cut the chair into pieces with a hacksaw before Mr. Heffalump could escape. My friend said it was the funniest thing they had seen in a long time
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 5:26, 3 replies)
well it wasn't that long ago
but had an experience of getting home from uni at 2am after an 8 hour train journey and a quick jaunt in a cab, and the next morning going to a fair.
my friend bullied me into smoking pretty shitty hash or something, and the rides were deathtraps. I was so knackered and spun out that after going on one of those rides where you spin around while it alters your perception of "up", I spent ten minutes afterwards looking for my bloody wallet in the bloody grass around the bloody ride, holding it in my bloody hand.
later, in the afternoon, I fell asleep on a bench outside and my friend left without me.
this is a travesty of a post. I was all enthusiastic until I wrote it.
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 2:16, Reply)
Thame Fair Again
I went on a waltzer at the notorious "Thame Fair" in south Oxfordshire many moons back.

Imagine my surprise, after handing over a steep £3 each, Mrs AeroClub and I were instructed to sit ourselves upon a giant model of Austrian composer Johan Strauss II for five minutes...
(, Sun 12 Jun 2011, 21:59, 2 replies)
We First Met at the Fair
I met the missus the first time ever at the county fair on my 14th birthday. I fancied a girl I'd met at camp, and knew my crush would be at the fair showing their horses. This lass didn't fancy me, no matter how smitten I was (I don't blame her, I was weird). When I showed up unexpectedly, flush with my birthday monies, offering an evening of carnival rides, she dragooned her friend (now my wife) as an escort.

While pretty enough, her friend was decidedly cramping my style, so I devised a plan to be rid of her. I took them both on increasingly thrilling rides, until the one-two combination of the "Tip-top" followed by the "Round-up" precipitated a serously sick stomach. Unfortunatelt my crush used this as an excuse for both of them to elude me.

2 years on I meet this great girl, and when we realize that we'd actually met before she immediately begins conspiring to pay me back. One night on a date she demands we stop at a roadside carnival, and proceeds to "eggbeater" me half to death. Still, from inauspicious beginnings it's been 38 amazing years.
(, Sun 12 Jun 2011, 21:14, 7 replies)
I worked as a ride operator too for about 6 months
No jobs in that part of Cornwall at the time so all I could do was get a job at the theme park when it got to the season start.

What I will say is, anecdotes notwithstanding, when you see how a responsible static park with fairground rides conducts daily maintenance and regular servicing, you start to lose faith in the mobile ones who take them apart and put them back together 52 times a year. I've done various repair jobs on cars / engines / PCs / domestic appliances and nearly always end up with 'bonus parts' after you've supposedly put it back together.

So I don't trust the unqualified grease monkeys that do the same job on the mobile ones, especially if it's a choice between safety and spending a few bob, especially when the last time I dared to go on one of these rides I looked down to see the hydraulic lines being held together with bent coathangers and jubilee clips. Every time I read about an accident at a fairground I feel justified in not touching them with someone elses' barge pole.
(, Sun 12 Jun 2011, 20:15, 4 replies)
Funniest thing that ever happened at a fairground?
Not having my own story, another's will have to do. Still makes me howl like a loon
www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wwPeSDCCAs
(, Sun 12 Jun 2011, 19:21, 5 replies)
Woburn Wild Animal Kingdom
My first job after leaving school in 1986 was on the Sky Ride at Woburn Park, and even though the wages were awful, I fucking loved it. I did my stints on all the rides in the park; the crap kiddies roundabouts (known, inexplicably as the “Dobbies”), the Ghost Train, the Rainbow Ride (the one big decent fairground thrill ride in the park, and responsible for at least 3 deaths), the Carousel (a genuine Victorian wooden, hand painted affair with a player organ driven by reams of thick punched card, it was one of only a few left in the world), the boats and the train, but it was the Sky Ride that I worked on most of the time.

The Sky Ride was a mile long cable car ride through the beautiful Woburn woods and over Drakelow Lake. In the old days, the lake had gorillas on an island, and tropical birds on another island (called, imaginatively, Gorilla Island and Bird Island respectively) and you could get off the Sky Ride at the lake end and take a pleasure boat around the lake. One particularly bad winter, the lake froze over, and the gorillas simply walked to freedom. One of them was captured walking along Woburn High Street. By the time I worked there, the birds, gorillas and pleasure boat were long gone, and the Sky Ride was a round trip only, with the customers, known by all staff as ‘punters’, not allowed to get off at the lake end anymore. (Unless they were attractive young ladies, in which case it was positively encouraged, but rarely achieved!)

Working at the lake end of the Sky Ride was referred to as being “down Drakelow” and it was by far the best place to work. There would always be two people working down Drakelow, and the time could really drag if you were working with someone boring, but most of the time I was working with my mates and it was just one long laugh. We regarded the punters as our personal playthings, there simply to provide us with entertainment. The cabs came through the station at intervals of between 20 seconds and 1 minute, depending on how busy we were. That’s a lot of people to fuck with during an 8 hour day!

Here are some of the things we would get up to:

The cigarette scrounge

This was common practice throughout the park, but Drakelow was by far the best place to get away with it. Most of us were smokers, so we used to have competitions for who could scrounge the most fags during a day. Basically, if a punter was smoking in the cab when they came through Drakelow, the cab monkey would say “‘scuse me mate, I couldn’t pinch a smoke off you could I? Only I forgot to go to the shop this morning, and we’re not allowed to leave site during the day”. This would work almost every time, and you could go home at the end of the day with 40 or 60 cigarettes in your pocket. Occasionally you’d get caught out when a punter went on the ride twice, but you could usually just make a joke out of it. Sometimes someone would take pity on you and give you half their packet. Occasionally you’d get really lucky and get someone who was smoking a joint.

The fake fight

This was a regular one, and we got really good at it after a while. I would be pulling the cab round and my mate would be waiting just around the corner. As I came round, I would let go of the cab, walk over to my mate and smack him one in the face. This was of course a stage punch. He would raise his hand to defend himself and at the last second we both opened our hands and my palm struck his making a loud smacking sound. He would then spin round and fall to the floor, apparently out cold. I would grab the cab again and carry on pulling it round as if nothing had happened. This produced a variety of responses from the punters, some would ask me why I did that, to which I would just shrug and reply “he’s been getting on my tits all day”. Most would just nervously look at one another and go quiet.

The fake accident

This was a favourite of mine and I did it all the time. As the cabs left the station, they would rise sharply up to the first tower. Just outside the end of the station was a small grass area. I would amble about on this grass area, idly kicking a ball about or something, and as the cab left the station I would be standing in just the right spot so it would just clear my head, at which point I would smack the bottom of the cab with my fist, and drop to the ground like a sack of shit. The punters would just hear the thud, and then see me lying motionless on the grass. I would remain there until the cab went over the hill and out of sight. Sometimes the punters would come round again and ask if I was alright “yeah, but I got a banging headache now”. One chap said to me “you don’t learn, do you boy”, “I’m sorry?” I replied. “We came on here a couple of months ago and you got hit by our cab then too”! Oops.

Stop/start or walking down

This was our way of dealing with rude or aggressive punters, old school friends who were visiting the park or anyone else who we thought deserved it, and it was really fucking dangerous. Stop/start, as you might imagine, involved rapidly stopping and restarting the ride. After a few times, this would set up some major oscillations in the wire rope, causing the cabs to bounce about like fuck. Utterly terrifying if you were in one of them at the time and stupidly dangerous when you consider that the wire rope only went over rollers on top of the towers – it wasn’t actually held on with anything. Walking down was similar, but only affected the one cab. Basically, the cabs were released from a trap, and rolled down a ramp onto the rope at which point cab and rope were travelling at the same speed. The weight of the cab would then cause a clamp to close over the rope, and away you go. Walking down was where you held onto the back of the cab when it was released from the trap, and walked it down the ramp making it much slower than the moving rope. The moment the clamp gripped onto the rope, the cab would suddenly and violently lurch forwards and would be swinging wildly for several frightening minutes of its journey. It still amazes me that these practices didn’t result in a major catastrophe.

The pissy bonfire

We would often build bonfires outside the station. Then we would spend all day drinking Happy Shopper lemonade and peeing into a mop bucket. When the bucket was full and the wind just right, over the fire it would go, the resulting cloud of foul-smelling piss-steam billowing up and over the unlucky punters on the ride. Have you ever pissed on a fire? If you have, you’ll know that it’s one of the most unpleasant smells known to man. This one drew a number of complaints.


Which brings me onto the subject of complaint letters. I’ve still got some of the good ones, including the one about the staff member (me) riding his motorbike, without a helmet, through the rhino section of the safari park. This was one of the few that I actually got into trouble about, mainly because the complaint went to the safari park, who were different management to us on the amusement park. You see, our ‘management’ were, basically, a family of pikeys. Very nice and very funny people but pikeys none the less. They didn’t give a fuck. Complaints were seen as badges of honour. My boss would read them out in the staff room in the morning, all the while pissing himself laughing.

““And then the staff member ran onto the jetty and pushed my son into the boating lake““ (pauses while everyone laughs) “no listen to this bit, listen “and some of the lake water went into his mouth and he was sick and bilious in the car on the way home”“. Boss and entire staff collapse in hysterics. Eventually, when everyone recovers “seriously now, don’t push the punters in the lake”

There’s one other story I want to include. As I lived in Woburn, my journey to work in the morning involved climbing over the wall behind Drakelow station and getting a cable car up to the other end. There was no phone installed in the Sky Ride, and this was long before mobiles, so the only means of communication between the two ends of the ride was with an intercom and a buzzer. So one morning, I arrive in the station and buzz the other end, expecting the line to start up so I can go to work. But there’s no reply. I keep buzzing and trying the intercom, but there’s just no answer. I settle down on the grass outside to read the paper, assuming that there's been a fault with the comms system, and eventually, after about 2 hours, a voice crackles over the intercom. When I respond, my boss tells me to make sure the station door is shut and to shut myself in one of the cabs, as 2 tigers have escaped from the safari park and “they’re on their way down to you”!

Even though I suspected this was a piss-take, I did as I was told. It wasn’t a joke, 2 tigers had indeed escaped and were heading down towards the Drakelow station. The safari park had 2 people who were qualified to handle tranquilizer guns. One was on holiday, the other was off sick. So the tigers were shot dead. This still upsets me. Bastards.

I worked there for 5 years, and it was the best job I’ve ever had or ever will have. I could fill page after page with the stories from my time at Woburn, and many of the friendships I formed there have become life long friends. Sadly, they dismantled the Sky Ride a few years ago. I shed a few tears as I watched it coming down.

Length? A mile long and up to 90 ft high.
(, Sun 12 Jun 2011, 19:07, 16 replies)

This question is now closed.

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