Fair Rides Where We Had Thrills, Spills, and Handjobs in Our Youth

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Bob B. Brown via flickr
Good ole family fun? Not so much.
No wonder they nixed the "youth" from the title of the Miami-Dade County Fair. That puppy turns 60 years old this year. It's too bad really. Much of what we remember about the fair and its good old-fashioned family fun is gone forever. Okay, so it wasn't all family fun. Many of its rides were houses of ill repute chock full of teen lust and other fluids. We'd bet that the Himalaya ride has seen more handjobs than a Bang Bros. production.

Whether you liked the fair rides or getting a ride at the fair, thinking back brings some good memories for most locally produced Miamians. In that spirit, we're hopping on board the nostalgia express to look back at some rides we liked most from our younger days. Some are gone while others are still around with a different name or slight twists. In any case, thinking about them is a whole lot better than making the lines to actually get on board.



5. Doppel Looping
This was the main attraction at the fair for many years. You could practically see it at the southeast corner of the Tamiami fairgrounds from downtown. The gigantic rollercoaster held upright by what looked like a collection of toothpicks (kind of like that bridge you built for the Science Fair - which was on display in the fair's exhibition hall) didn't exactly inspire confidence,  especially with carnies at the helm. Still, getting on board marked one of the many rites of passage for adolescents in Miami. When they de-commissioned it from the Miami fair a part of us died, even though many future kids were probably saved.

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Stig Nygaard via flckr.
Swings work best for swingers.
4. Swings
Ordinarily, a ride whose basic concept is repeated across playgrounds all over the world is not exactly worthy of comment. But the swings, which were always popular at fairs, and still are today, got even more exciting when news spread that some of the chains holding the swings let go and kids were sent hurling to their demise. We're not sure that actually ever happened but urban myths make for exciting rides. Plus, you could play bumper cars on the swings if you were a real badass and try to rub up on your middle school crush.



3. Gravitron
This ride was most likely to make you throw up the elephant ears or turkey legs you wolfed down. The Gravitron spun around like a giant sized top only with dozens of pimple faced teens inside. It should have been named the Gagitron. Sure it was cool to climb the walls when that thing got spinning, but you were always too concerned with dodging vomit to have a great time.

2. Haunted Houses
Before the Halloween amusement parks became all the rage, it was fun to get a little scare on the haunted house rides that used to be popular at the fair. Waiting to see what carnie would jump out and scare the bejeezus out of you presented the perfect opportunity to "put the moves" on your crushes. Plus if you happened to be kissing when the cart hit open air on the second floor of the ride and all your friends could see you get to first base...well, that was even better than a sloppy teen make-out.

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Emilio Labrador via flickr.
The Big Wheel at Miami-Dade County Fair.
1. Big Wheel
We couldn't have a post about fair rides without the ferris wheel, the biggest of which is called the Big Wheel at the Miami fair. Sure, it's slow, doesn't do much, and will always be around, but it's still a favorite of girls around the world, which makes it a favorite of boys also. If you're truly lucky, you'll get stuck on a ferris wheel with somebody you dig, and they'll have no choice but focus all their attention on you. Or you can get stuck with your dream girl and your best friend, who was better looking than you, and watch the two of them suck face for twenty minutes. Trust us, not so great!

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