I just made my mom laugh so hard that she nearly fell down.
We were on the phone and in the background I could hear the TV. She tells me that the commercial for the Dade County Youth Fair is on and that she always thinks of me when she sees it.
So I'm like, "wait, when does it end? I gotta see if I can get a flight out there!" She starts laughing like a lunatic. I start seriously checking fares.
She thinks of me because the Dade County Youth Fair was probably my biggest childhood obsession. This fair would come once a year, last for about two weeks and had two components: an expo and an amusement park. School kids would participate in the fair by submitting artwork, poetry, or do an assortment of agriculture-related projects. Part of the fun was finding out that you won ribbons and going in and seeing your stuff displayed with your name on it and your ribbons.
The amusement park was the best. We would do the expo part first and hit the amusement park after dark. Every ride imaginable was there along with funnel cakes, cinnamon rolls, and roasted corn dipped in huge vats of butter. All the kids would hang next to the Himalaya ride, which blasted loud, bass-heavy music, used strobe lights and loud wailing sirens while it asked you if you wanted to go faster!!!! (and we all screamed) or if you wanted to go backwards!!! (and we all screamed some more). It also had sleigh-shaped angled cars which were perfect for smashing right into your crush and getting stuck there for the duration of the ride (super cute video btw).
The fair also had these giant slides. You'd sit on a sack and inevitably get a burn by the time you got to the bottom.
When I was twelve, the Dopple Looping rollercoaster came to the fair. And I did not like rollercoasters. I was terrified of them, of being upside down, of possibly falling out of one. And this thing was massive and had not one loop but two. And it was fast. Our fair had the Superloop and the Mark I, but this was the real deal. This also might have been the first major rollercoaster that I've ever seen.
I loved standing next to it and hearing the noise it made as it rushed on by. I remember looking up and watching as it made it's decline and then swoop into the first loop in complete fascination. That's probably when I worked up my courage and made the decision that I really wanted to be on it, despite my fear.
I know I must have been scared getting on for the first time but I don't remember that. What I remember is getting off, jumping up and down and telling my parents that I wanted to ride it again. I remember feeling the adrenalin rush and feeling like a champion for conquering my fear. I rode it several more times that night. Every year after that I'd purposefully walk into the fair and go directly to Doppel Looping.
The fair ends next week and I couldn't find a cheap enough fare. Which is alright I guess as I found out that the Doppel Looping is no longer there. It was retired last year and sent overseas. It would have been nice to give it one more ride. The nice thing though about thinking about all of this is I had some really good fair memories, I was a pretty awesome kid for getting on that ride, and it also reminded me how much I love rollercoasters and how I really should become one of those people who travel the country to ride them!