Carnival

21 09 2008

I had one of the funnest days today that I have ever had with my family.

A traveling carnival came to town. I didn’t even realize that those things still existed. It’s a total throwback to the days of gypsies and tent circuses. This whole crew of people live in trailers and travel around the country all year long with their transportable carnival. Their show, the Frazier Carnival, was set up this weekend in the parking lot of the Rio Grande Mall here in Gallup.

The original plan was to go yesterday, which was Saturday. When we got there, I was overwhelmed by the price. I know that things like carnivals aren’t really known for being a great value, but I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so over-the-top. Most of the rides cost 5 or 6 tickets, and tickets are $1 each. Plus, most rides require that an adult accompany younger children. That meant we were looking at roughly 20 bucks per ride, and I just don’t have money like that.

Then, thankfully, we discovered that if we came back today, Sunday, they would be running a deal from 3 to 6pm where a $15 wristband gets one person unlimited rides for that three-hour window. Much better. So yesterday, we played a few carnival games and the kids won prizes, and we ate some cotton candy and went home. Today we came back after the church potluck, and in that three hour window, I’m estimating that we rode about 30 rides each (which would have cost about $600 in tickets, but cost $60 in wristbands instead, much easier on my wallet). It was money well spent. My kids thought it was about the best day of their lives.

My poor wife couldn’t ride anything, even the slow rides. Something about the carnival company’s insurance policy preventing them from allowing pregnant woman to ride anything. She therefore became the official photographer of this event, and she got some great shots. I’ll post the link to the album on Flickr at the end of this blog.

Oh my goodness, though. When it comes to rides, my kids are animals, a fact which makes me one of the proudest papas in the world. We were on the Dragon Wagon, a miniature roller coaster, when some boy of about seven or eight freaked out, and they had to stop the coaster. Kaylynn, meanwhile, thought it was the greatest ride ever and rode it with me twice.

Ryan and I had a special moment. There was a ride called Cliffhanger that was kind of like hang-gliding. Ryan was tall enough, but Aidan was about two inches two short, so just Ryan and I rode it together. Once it started to take off, Ryan shouted to me, “Dad, this is amazing! We’re FLYING together!” I thought it was pretty amazing myself. Every time it would swoop back down, she would squeal with excitement. After a few minutes, she said, “Daddy, sorry I’m screaming so much, it’s just that this is such an AWESOME RIDE!”

Aidan’s favorite was a ride called the Star Ship. It’s a centrifuge ride that spins so fast you stick to the wall. We rode it twice. We also did the outdoor equivalent, called Zero Gravity, which spins fast enough to keep you held in by centrifugal force but then tilts to an 80-degree angle, which is quite a trip.

I used to be such an amusement park junkie. When I was a teenager, there were years that we bought season passes to Elitch Gardens in Denver and would go nearly every weekend. Today, I discovered I don’t have quite the stomach for spinning rides that I used to. But the kids were just so excited to keep going, and I was so excited about that fact that I shook off the vertigo and plodded on.

Kaylynn was hilarious on almost everything she rode, which included some pretty big rides like the spinning Tornado. She was technically tall enough, but I don’t think a normal two-year old would want to ride it. Kaylynn is obviously not a normal two-year old because she loved it.

All the kids were still young enough to enjoy the just-for-kids rides like the Speedway cars and the Farm Train. It made me glad to know that it doesn’t all have to be speed and craziness, but that they can still appreciate things like the Fun House or the House of Glass.

They were still too short for some of the biggest rides, including all of the upside-down rides. I’m glad, because that gives us more to look forward to. But they had fun, they nearly ate themselves sick on cotton candy, and by the time our three hours were up, we were all exhausted.

You know it’s been a good day when on the drive home, the kids all thank you for such a fun day, and though they seemed ready to be done when we left, they all said they can’t wait until the carnival comes back to town next year.

Here’s a link to a slideshow so you can enjoy the day we had, too, courtesy of Liesl and the camera:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/87532634@N00/sets/72157607420711512/show/

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17 responses

21 09 2008
Mom2

It made me so homesick to read this……oh wait a minute – I am home!

22 09 2008
Terri

Sounds like you all had a really awesome and fun day filled with lots of memories. Thanks for sharing.

22 09 2008
blythewhite

i had fun just reading this and looking at the pictures. vicarious fun, i guess. 🙂 your kids are awesome.

22 09 2008
Edie C.

I remember days like this when the kids were younger – at Elitch’s. The pictures are great!

22 09 2008
Emily Straw

Wow this truly looked like an amazing day!!! Thanks so much for posting the pictures too. 🙂 Love you guys!

22 09 2008
Granny

I love the pictures of the kids with their Dad at the carnival, taken by their Mom. It was almost like being there with them. That must have been what Nana meant, I mean Mom 2 – – – She’s homesick to be with them, wherever home is!!

23 09 2008
Aunty Penn

I relate to this kind of entertainment like gazelles relate to lions: I run, sweating profusely and breathing with great difficulty. But I’m glad it was such a hit with your kids….poor, twisted little cretins…. If God had meant us to ride roller coasters–and LIKE it!–He would have WAIT! God would never do that! You’re all twisted cretins! But cute, loveable twisted cretins…. Liesl’s pictures are amazing, BTW. And Mom2: I thought home was where the grandkids are….maybe you really AREN’T ‘home’….. check with John….

23 09 2008
Granny

When I read Rob’s blog, my first thought was: I am the MOST unfun person to be at a carnival with. Now I read Aunty Penn’s comment and realize the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!! A. P. got it right when she said home is where the grandkids are – so Will you all please pack up and move to Gallup, New Mexico?

23 09 2008
Rob in Gallup

Have I ever mentioned that I love when you all have whole conversations in the blog comments? It seriously cracks me up.

23 09 2008
Mom2

Yeah, but if too many of us old Turpen women end up down there together, the kids will all leave! P.S. I hate roller coasters too, but I sure like going to amusement parks and the likes with the little kids!

23 09 2008
justspeaz

You should ask Mom2 about the time Sgt Turpen and I got her on the “Spider” at Lakeside 😀

24 09 2008
Janna

Oh how fun… the photos are gorgeous and the smiles on the faces of your children are priceless. I took Trev to Elitch’s this summer and he wouldn’t go on any of the big rides, even though he’s tall enough. *sigh* I’ll just have to kidnap Kaylynn when she’s a little taller. 😉

24 09 2008
Mom2

That dreaded “spider” caused more trauma than any of the spiders at the “strob” have caused you, including the one that rose from the dead in three days! My stomach gets queasy just thinking about it…You wait some years and try it when you’re too old to be doing such nonsense.

27 09 2008
Aunty Penn

Hahahaha, Mom2! I’m worried that if all the fam moves near us, WE’LL have to move again…. OK…that really isn’t so funny…..

27 09 2008
Aunty Penn

No, Granny, you actually are the most unfun person at a carnival…… And, by the way, my bags have been packed for eight years…..

27 09 2008
Aunty Penn

Hi, Rob. I didn’t know you were in this blog. Oh, it’s YOUR blog. Heh, heh… Way to rally the troops!

27 09 2008
Aunty Penn

Hi, Janna–Maybe Trev’s sane.

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