Friday, September 02, 2016

Fair: Alaska State Fair

When researching the trip I found out that the Alaska State Fair would be running whilst I was there and further digging revealed a couple of rollercoasters would be in attendance. This was pretty pleasing news as to date there had been no known rollercoasters in Alaska, at least not on the coaster-count website we enthusiasts all use to track what we've ridden. I had tried to help some Norwegian friends who were here a few years ago but the time of year was wrong and nothing was operating. So this was going to be a bit of coup!

The fair is located, not in Anchorage, but in the next town north of Palmer. This meant I got to ride the famous Alaskan railway even if it was only for a couple of hours.

The fair is such a popular draw that it has its own station, making this one of the easiest US state fairs for a non-driver like me to reach. If you're going to repeat this I suggest getting the ticket online before you get here, it does get popular!

Golden Wheel Amusements are the showmen who run this fair. Ignore the sponsor!

The first coaster was an Orient Express kids coaster, but one that they were ok with adults riding. The first tick of the day and I'm officially the only person on the coaster community to have ridden a coaster in Alaska; Chuffed!

The second coaster was just a wacky worm, but a wacky worm in Alaska!!

An ice hockey challenge game, which seemed fairly straightforward when you saw the keeper you had to shoot past.

Interesting! I hadn't realised there was a music festival on during the fair and tonight's band was Volbeat, who a friend is a fan of. I'll admit to not knowing their stuff but I do like a gig. Something to consider for later in the day.

The fair was pretty popular, I guess being such an empty state when things like this come around they're instantly a go-to attraction for the people who live here.

It wouldn't be a state fair without a jacuzzi.

Interesting! There was quite a lot of Trump support here. I saw people wearing his campaign t-shirt on the train and the fair had a campaign stand. Whether you despise the man or not you can't fault his ability to have gotten a presence at grass roots.

As well as there being a Trump presence the NRA were also there with a raffle where for every 100 tickets sold someone could win a gun of their choice, and the selection of weapons looked like something from a Call of Duty DLC pack. I had a chat with the people running the stand who were very pleasant and they made it clear that checks would still be done before the prizes were handed over.

Kids go-karting were more like off-roaders.

These were being made here. Skills!

For lunch I had, yep, more stew this time made to a recipe of local native folk.

Being a state fair there are farm animals and optional hand gel dispensers as you leave.

The animals all looked to be really healthy, but then that's to be expected given they're here to be entered in competitions.

That's a pretty big squash! The fair prides itself on its giant vegetable competition with many record breakers being crowned here. Well they do say everything is bigger in America.

There was no room on the tables for any suggestive innuendos or theories around they like to grow them big here.

Back outside and there was a tractor pull competition. It wasn't quite as exciting as on the telly, which admittedly isn't that exciting either.

One businessman had seen an opportunity for offering well priced helicopter tours, but it kept coming back every 10 minutes or so making it not that viable a proposition, although I did think about it.

A science school display using video games and VR to attract people to its stand.

This part of the fair was given over to the indigenous folk of this part who brought their culture to the crowd. I did enjoy listening to some of their recitings of ghost stories they were told as kids, I wasn't so enamoured with the dancing though.

An animatronic dinosaur display and reptile house exhibition.

On some of the smaller stages local musicians were playing, and on another a local majorette club did a display with some of their better performers "entertaining" the crowd. 

The fair was popular, and had a good selection of rides.

I bought a ticket to watch the demolition derby, but left early as it got a bit boring whilst they removed the trashed cars off the track. The plan was to have 8 heats I think then a final. I made it through 2 heats before giving up.

I got told off for taking this as apparently I wasn't allowed close to the fence even though I was a good 20 metres away from the derby.

On other days they have monster trucks!

I did 

 I did buy a ticket for the Volbeat show and it was ok. I hung around at the back with the beer drinkers whilst the pure fans tried to get their confidence up to mosh down the front. They finished their gig by inviting all the kids up on stage to dance; some kids were more into this than others it should be said.

and that was the fair. Having spent most of the day here I had to wait for the last train to get me home, and I guess everyone had a good day as most crashed on the journey back.

So, that was the Alaskan State Fair which I'm so glad I got to experience. There was plenty to keep me entertained, not just the new coasters.

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