Favorites return for state fair

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Hair flys and nerves fray as fair patrons try out the "Top Spin" ride at the the 86th Georgia-Carolina State Fair Sunday afternoon October 19, 2008 in Augusta.  Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
Hair flys and nerves fray as fair patrons try out the "Top Spin" ride at the the 86th Georgia-Carolina State Fair Sunday afternoon October 19, 2008 in Augusta.

It's crisper, it's fresher, and if you close your eyes, you can almost smell funnel cake.

The Georgia-Carolina State Fair starts Friday, bringing with it the perennial fall favorites: candy apples, Polish sausage, vinegar fries.

But you may want to work up an appetite on the rides first.

There are 34 rides and attractions this year, provided by James E. Strates Shows.

One of them, the Top Spin, is so large it can't be transported by tractor-trailer, said fair manager Joe Taylor.

"The entire carnival comes in by train," he said. "It's over a mile long. It's awesome. It's like you never see the end of it."

Taylor called the ride itself "a 100 percent thrill ride." It can seat about 30 people in a rectangular carriage, which spins while the ride rotates like a ferris wheel.

The ride is not new to Augusta, but Best Buy's game competition is new this year.

The electronics store will take over the Exchange Club's 3,000-square-foot commercial building to host competitions of popular games like Madden, Halo and Call of Duty.

The store will also set up the new PlayStation Move on high definition TVs.

Competitions will be set up by age groups.

Customized vehicles display car audio equipment, and a mobile section will have cell phone displays.

"There will be something going on from every department," said Stacy Brewer, the store's business account manager.

Wambold's Circus Menagerie will return this year with animals from around the world, including tigers, camels, and the unusual liger, a cross-breed that looks like a tiger but is as big as a lion.

Live entertainment includes a clown show, Georgia-Carolina Clogging, Kicks 99 karaoke competition, and music by local artist Tony Howard.

Go to the fair

The Georgia-Carolina State Fair opens Friday and runs through Oct. 24 at the Augusta Exchange Club Fairgrounds on Hale Street.

HOURS: The fair will open at 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and noon on Saturdays and Sundays.

LEARN MORE: For details and a schedule of events, go to georgiacarolinastatefair.com.

GENERAL ADMISSION

- Gate admission: $6 adults, $2 children 5 and younger

- Unlimited rides: $17

- Individual ride tickets: $1, most rides take 3-4 tickets

ADMISSION SPECIALS

- Friday, opening day: 25 cents

- Saturday: family special noon to 2 p.m. -- $2 and $12 unlimited ride ticket per family member for children 12 and under and their parents or guardians

- Sunday: family special noon-2 p.m. -- $2 and $12 unlimited ride ticket per family member for children 12 and under and their parents or guardians; $2 for seniors 55 and older and others with a church bulletin

- Monday: 5-6 p.m., free admission and free rides; $2 for all federal, state and local government employees, including military and their families with employer ID

- Tuesday: The Augusta Chronicle night -- $2 with coupon from The Chronicle

- Wednesday: $2

- Oct. 21: Georgia Lottery Special, ages 18 and older admitted for $2 with any nonwinning lottery ticket

- Oct. 24: Family special, noon-2 p.m. -- $2 and $12 unlimited ride ticket per family member for children 12 and under and their parents or guardians


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