Big roller coaster to wow fair 

Fair organizers have brought in some pretty heavy machinery to excite fairgoers this year: The 80-foot-wide Mark 1 roller coaster, one of the largest traveling roller coasters in the western United States, will be coming to town on the beds of four semitrailers.

The six-toboggan coaster is so huge, in fact, that it takes a full week just to set up.

"People will get a lot of joy out of watching the expressions on everyone’s faces as they ride along the corners of the Mark 1 roller coaster," Fair and Festival Manager Geoff Hinds said. "They can have a lot of fun riding it themselves, too.

The thrill ride can reach speeds of 30 to 40 mph. Wait times for rides are always under 15 minutes at the fair, Hinds said.

"We’ve had the same rides for so long. They’re fun but it will be really cool to have a new rollercoaster in," said 17-year-old Alyssa Arvin, a member of the Junior Fair Board, which helped bring in the new rides. "I’m really excited."

Also new this year will be the Roc’n Rapids water flume ride. Guests feeling a little warm can cool off by riding inside a mechanical log downhill into water during the ride’s two drops.

"The county fair is a community celebration. By bringing in new attractions, we’re continuing to please and excite fairgoers that we’ve had for years," fair spokeswoman Marie Franko said.

Returning this year will be fan favorites such as the eight-story ferris wheel and the 90-foot Drop Tower. The tower ride begins with a fantastic view of the county, Hinds said, and ends with a sudden halt at the ground after free falling.

Another carnival staple is the midway games. Water gun races, sport contests and more can net carnival visitors 4-foot tall stuffed animals, framed pictures and even live goldfish.

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Mike Rosenberg

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