Crowds up as West Alabama State Fair nears end
Marion R. Walding | Tuscaloosa News
Megan Escue, left, and Katelyn Vest, students at the University of Alabama, wait in line for food at the West Alabama State Fair at Sokol Park on Friday.
By Mark Hughes Cobb, Staff Writer
November 10, 2012
Numbers seemed to be picking up at the West Alabama State Fair on Friday night, perhaps because of slightly warmer, dry weather, said Brenda S. Ewart, development director of United Cerebral Palsy of West Alabama Inc., which organizes the annual event at Munny Sokol Park as a fundraiser. Some may have waited it out earlier in the week, hoping for more temperate nights, she said.
“The cold weather has hurt us,” she said. “I hate that because the rides company is so much nicer this year.”
For its fourth year at Sokol, the fair brought in Kissel Entertainment to provide rides and carnival games.
11-09-2012 -- Tuscaloosa, Ala. -- Fairgoers look on as others ride the Thunder Bolt at the West Alabama State Fair at Sokol Park Friday, Nov. 9, 2012.
(Marion R Walding | The Tuscaloosa News)
Many of the familiar, traditional rides are spread over the acreage around the Ray Jenkins Horse Arena at Sokol, including a merry-go-round, Ferris wheel and a plethora of children's ride-arounds in car, boat, motorcycle, train, dinosaur and other shiny models.
There are fun houses '50s auto style, as in the Infernal Combustion, and Mardi-Gras theme houses, with walls of illusions. Early rock pumps out of one ride, hip-hop from a mini-coaster, and pop hits out of the 90-foot free fall ride. Several — the blender-like Surge, the looping circular Fireball and free-fall Atmos-Fear — challenge hardier, older kids with twists seemingly evolved from astronaut training courses, testing resistance to zero-G, loss of orientation and centrifugal forces.
Visitors can pop balloons, pick ducks, roll Skee-Ball and go fish to win stuffed creatures ranging from a kid-dwarfing Winnie the Pooh to gorillas and Big Al lookalikes. And everywhere the smell of fried and otherwise tasty and probably un-diet-friendly foods assaults the senses: pizza, hot dogs, corn dogs, funnel cake, nachos, boiled peanuts and more.