Every September, the annual St. John’s Applefest takes place in my home town. The biggest thrill for the kids is the carnival rides. Once the sun sets the rides light up; the midway is filled with festive music, screams from riders and the sweet aroma of cotton candy.

I love watching my grandkids run from ride to ride. “I want to ride this one!” That one is too scary!…” “Will this one make me sick?” Of course, being the person that I am, I surveyed my surroundings and thought, “There’s an unwritten story hiding in this midway; I just have to find it.”

It didn’t take long to notice how adults and kids gravitated to certain rides. They would stroll along the midway until a particular carnival ride caught their eye. Several rides appeared to be similar, but even a slight change in direction, motion or height could change the dynamics of each ride; sometimes noticeably so, but not always. I was curious about what particular ride characteristics prompted individuals to use their tickets?

For what it’s worth, here are my profound utterances on what I believe certain carnival rides tell us.  Which one are you?

Ferris wheel

The Ferris wheel is all about highs and lows. One minute you are up in the air, experiencing the world and it’s soon followed by a rock bottom low. If you are happy today, depressed tomorrow, plagued with mood-swings; then, step right up to the Ferris wheel line. If you board the ride feeling happy, then salute the top and enjoy the ride. If feeling low, hold on tight and gently rock your seat to the bottom of the wheel; if somewhere in between, take comfort in knowing you won’t have far to fall.


This is one of my favorite rides. It tends to emulate my tilt-a-whirl life. It has an up, down, spinning motion that is navigated by turning a wheel in any direction. If you find yourself turning wheels and spinning in every direction to get to where you want to be; get in the tilt-a-whirl line.


Round and round we go, where we stop, no one knows. I don’t know about you, but rotating in a never-ending circle in an up and down motion is never good. You think you are going somewhere only to find you are back where you started.

Bumper Cars

When one bumper car exerts a force on a second bumper car; you feel a jolt. The rubber bumpers diffuse the collision, but not the ramming motion. The drivers continue in the direction they were moving before the collision and seatbelts offer protection. If you live life in the safe zone, drive the posted speed limit and follow all the rules; put your bumper in a bumper car.


Yee-haw!  Now this is an unpredictable ride with free-flipping cars subject to the shifting of your weight. Those weight shifts can cause a sudden burst of speed; better known as ‘out of control’. If you live life by the seat of your pants, have no future plans or goals and give no thought to the outcome of your choices, then get onboard.

Free Fall

This ride drops without warning and requires a reverse brake. If supporting cables fail, you will plummet to the ground. I think of it as a death wish waiting to happen.  It’s like taking a nose dive from a bridge and hitting a rock bottom. There weren’t too many people standing in this carnival ride. If you purchased a ticket for this ride, reconsider. You might want to cash it in for one of the safer, kiddy rides.

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