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Advertisement Pulse-pounding rides at the state fair will take our minds off daily worries
by Dan Brawner Columnist · June 29th, 2017


The new slogan for the Iowa State Fair (Aug. 10-20) is "Nothing compares to State Fair Thrills," and the ride areas are now being called "thrill parks."

I guess "amusement park" just sounds too low-energy. Who wants to ride on a hand-carved horse as the merry-go-round revolves sedately like the hands of a clock when you could strap into the Gravitron, your hair blowing back, your stomach heaving, spinning like a centrifuge as your body fluids are separated by density and your soft tissues flattened against the back of your seat? I mean, how do you know you're having a good time unless you're simultaneously screaming, crying and vomiting? (And so are the two kids next to you.) Now that is thrilling.

Then there's the Drop Zone ride. The cool part is that it takes you 100 feet in the air, where you can see the whole park. Then it suddenly drops you like a rock. It's like getting to fall off a tall building, but without the splat at the end. What could be more thrilling than the sensation of almost dying?

For a little less terror, you could try the Rock 'n Roll. It's basically a big swing that goes back and forth. But before you condemn this for lack of thrill factor, one essential quality of the ride for those couples who wish to become better acquainted, but who are too shy to make the first move, is that this ride will squish you together. Yes!

If you think you have the right stuff to make it as an astronaut, be sure to try the Power Surge. It's this huge yellow and purple egg beater thing that spins you upside down and gyrates - sure to make you lose your lunch and your spare change. If the Power Surge doesn't thrill you, have the person next to you check to see if you still have a pulse.

Why do we seek out thrills and danger? Isn't life scary enough already? Why do we like haunted houses, horror movies, jumping off the high dive? Do you know there is a new invasive plant in Iowa called the "poison parsnip?" It is yellow and looks like dill weed. But if you touch it, your skin burns and bubbles and sunlight fries you like in those vampire movies. How's that for thrilling?

The polar ice caps are melting. We could all be drowned in a few hundred years. Meteors - big meteors - whiz by Earth all the time. If one of them hits us - pow! The last time that happened, it killed all the dinosaurs. (But the dinosaurs are already dead, so I guess we're okay there.) North Korea could bomb us. Flesh-eating bacteria could eat us. Earthquakes are on the rise. There are predictions of a worldwide chocolate shortage!

If only there was something that could, even for a minute, take our minds off all these terrible things ...
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