Scary carnival rides: A time-honored Wisconsin rite of passage


All across Wisconsin, children are flocking to state and county fairs to test themselves on scary carnival rides.

Here at the Wisconsin Valley Fair there are big name national recording artists every night in the grandstand, hundreds of animals raised by 4H kids, and lots of fair food. But on wrist band day, there's only one reason to be on the midway: to go on all the rides you want for one price.

David Walls is a nurse at Aspirus Hospital, and his training may have come in handy for his seven-year-old son Teryn, who just got off a ride called the Himalaya.

"Oh, [I'm] really dizzy. When you get off, you walk like you're about to throw up."

As the cars on the Himalaya race around a tight circle, the metallic roar of wheels on rails almost drowns out the screams. Seven-year-old Seth Delikowski and his nine-year-old sister Joelle take it in stride.

"It wasn't very scary. And it's not as fast as it looks."

"It goes really high, back and forth, and it spins around. A lot of people think, 'Oh, the scary rides aren't gonna be very fun; I'm gonna throw up.' I'm here to prove them wrong!"

Like other young kids on the midway, Joelle and Seth are here to prove their mettle in this summer rite of passage. Their parents, Dorey and Jamie Delikowski, have a different agenda: "We're here for the animals and the cheese curds. They're here for the rides."

At county fairs all across Wisconsin, there's something for everybody, in a tradition that's almost as old as the state itself.