By Martin J. Kidston
With a tour schedule as rigorous as the Beatles and a cargo load as bulky as a military convoy, it doesnt hurt to let off a little steam once in a while when you travel with the fair.
In the carnival office, Office Manager Gwen Schleicher listened to the patter of rain on the cold tin roof of the trailer. Next door the Kamakazi rushed by in somersaulting loops, throwing off water with each pass. A bucket next to her desk caught the drip that seeped though the ceiling. By 1 p.m., it was half full, the rain continued to fall and Schleicher shook her head.
Every day it rains we loose money, she said. Would you want to bring your kids here when its like this?
Hoping for sunny days, Schleicher began telling stories about the ghost of fair-days past. Looking back on them now, she found them full of humor although she would rather not see them repeated.
One time, Schleicher began, a drunk woman chased her husband into the Zipper.
It should be pointed out that two objects cannot occupy the same point in space at the same instant in time. Chances are, the Zipper won the battle between man and machine.
Once, in Riverton, Wyo., Schleicher continued, a group of kids called the sheriff and said that one of the buckets came off on the Zipper.
Schleicher said when the emergency crews arrived for the fateful rescue, which included police, fire and ambulance, everyone went to the far end of the fairgrounds to see what the commotion was about. Pulling a heist, the kids then went and stole all the teddy bears from the game booths. They made their getaway and remain on the lam to this day.
We never caught them, she said. Other people have gotten married on the rides. Weve done a lot of those. And Ive even done a carnival in the snow in spring in fact, that was here.
Rain, snow, desert heat one can never be certain what to expect at the Great Northern Fair. But if the weather keeps fairgoers guessing, try to guess which ride was used by Michael Jackson?
Answer Schleicher said he used the Kamakazi for an attraction at his own private playground.
We had to wait until Michael Jackson was finished using it, she said, adding that the ride itself came from Italy. If you want some real stories, talk to Bob McVain about the sea lion and the three nuns.
Perhaps we will.