It's time once again for the Arizona State Fair. Everyone has their favorite part. Lots of people (including yours truly) enjoy corn dogs as big as your forearm. The pig races are irresistible. And there's the temptation of trying to win an enormous stuffed animal that you have no room for at home.
For me, the big draw is thrill rides. Since Six Flags Magic Mountain is a few hundred miles away, I look forward to the Arizona State Fair for easy access to a dose of adrenaline. Here are the five craziest attractions at the Fair this year.
5: Sky Flyer The Sky Flyer is an evolution of classic chair-swing rides like the Wave Swinger and the Yo-Yo. It's just like the old favorites, only faster, and much, much taller. It's funny, I'd never thought about those little chains that hold up your chair until Sky Flyer. Seems... awfully minimal for something so fast. It turns out the Sky Flyer is most intimidating in its looks. Once you're spinning around high above the midway, any thoughts about one's sanity (or lack thereof) and (dis)trust in ride design give way to an endorphin rush from the wind in your hair and the amazing view. As soon as the ride ended I was *this* close to getting right back in line, something I can't say about any other ride at the Fair. At least, that was my experience. Acrophobes will think I'm out of my mind.
4: G-Force Everyone knows and loves the swinging pirate ship ride. The G-Force is what happens when you take one of those for a spin... literally. The boat is replaced by a giant ring of seats. The seats slowly spin in a big circle, while the whole thing swings back and forth, higher... and higher... until it goes up past ninety degrees, providing serious hang time.
3: Experience I had no idea that the Dutch were capable of such evil things as Experience. At its core, it's similar to the old Scrambler rides. But, the folks at Netherlands-based ride maker KMG made it more intense by at least an order of magnitude. All they did was make the central arms raise up, and make the seats so they flip end-over-end. This turns it from a harmless family ride into a vicious beast like I've never experienced. It felt like I was getting flung in every possible direction at the same time. The only way I knew which direction I was facing was if I could see blue sky or not. If any ride is going to make you revisit lunch in the worst way possible, this is it.
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2: Speed Speed is another fine ride from the sadists at KMG. It's simple, just a big rotating boom arm with four seats at each end. The thing that makes it interesting is that this arm is about 120 feet tall, and the arm whips you around at about 60 miles an hour. Oh yeah, and the seats freely spin end-over-end. Sometimes you find yourself upside down, other times doing a nose-dive. You won't need your morning coffee after this.
1: Zipper The granddaddy of today's high-tech thrills still rules the midway. The Zipper has been around since 1968, and most models I've seen look like they've been operating since shortly after then. Those claustrophobic rider capsules with just a little lap bar to hold you in place, freely spinning every which way as they go around their little track on the rotating boom... Friends, I've been on some of the biggest, baddest roller coasters this country has to offer. When it comes to the Zipper, I have just three words: Count. Me. Out.