Fair Warning 2013: Take a Dark Ride Diversion into the Cheap Thrill Trailer Rig Haunted Houses of the Kentucky State Fair!

Rinky-dink or retro-chic? Buy your ticket and take a ride on one of these Thrillway spook-house classics!

The third week of August means different things to different folks here in the greater Louisville region. To many it means the return of the deep fried buffet with a farm livestock sideshow known as the Kentucky State Fair. You can try a Sloppy Doughnut or some deep fried Girl Scout Cookies, and wash it down with some deep fried Kool-Aid before you head over to the various pavilions to get a good smell of the livestock on display. Then, finally, you can take a ride on the Hurl-a-Whirl over at the Thrillway.

For the rest of us, the third week of August means it’s still three weeks until the Halloween stuff finally gets stocked on the store shelves all over town. But never fear, this is the Phantom of the Ville coming to you from the smell of grease and sawdust at the Thrillway of the Kentucky State Fair to tell you how you can get a little taste of Halloween while Grandma and Aunt Edna check out the Conway Twitty cover band in the Country Music Tent.

First of all, when passing through the West Wing, don’t forget to check out the 4-H and FFA exhibits room to see Dwight Slone’s award winning 1,304 pound pumpkin! Next stop, the Thrillway.

Through this Sunday, August 25th, you can take a sixty second journey into darkness inside one of the traveling trailer rig dark rides that pass this way once a year. Last year I wrote about the haunted dark rides and funhouses of the 2012 Kentucky State Fair, and most of those same attractions are back this year. Funhouse fans will find Pan’s Royal Palace of Fun, the Silly Seas and the Glass House.

This year also sees the return of the House That Can Not Be Named, which you can read about in the previous article here: http://www.louisvillehalloween.com/fair-warning-take-a-ride-to-the-dark-side-of-the-fair/.

New this year is a dark ride called Fear Factory. I really enjoyed gawking at the garish carny artwork adorning the façade. Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein Monster and Christopher Lee’s Dracula melt into a hallucinatory metal tapestry filled with demons, devils and werewolves. You’ll see Chucky from “Child’s Play” and Benicio Del Toro’sWolfman” alongside a pseudo-Linda BlairExorcist” and a sort-of “Evil Dead” deadite. Hundreds of hours were likely spent painting this lurid wall of horror, and in true carnival tradition, about fifteen minutes were probably spent designing the interior.

Inside you won’t see anything you couldn’t buy at Horner’s, Caufield’s or Target during the Halloween season. Actually, most of the props were likely picked up at the Dollar Tree and hit with a coat of day-glow paint. There are a few rubber bats and spiders and one of those lenticular paintings that changes into a scary face as you pass by. There’s a pop-up, gnarly head with its eyeballs hanging out that is so cheap and cheesy looking that it goes all the way around 180 degrees to being kind of disturbing. Mostly, it’s just dark.

Granted, I’ve never seen a carnival dark ride as elaborate as the one in Tobe Hopper’sThe Funhouse” (1981), or the one Johnny Depp and Patricia Arquette ride in Tim Burton’sEd Wood” (1994). When it comes to façade-meets-interior, the best dark ride experience I’ve had in years was at Beech Bend in Bowling Green, KY, but that’s a permanent attraction not meant to be folded up and driven to the next town on an 18 wheeler.

So sit back and slam through the painting of Freddy Krueger on the “crash doors,” and take spin on Fear Factory for a (very) cheap thrill at the Fair this year. I’ll be back soon with new movie reviews, haunt news and an update on a possible zombie outbreak brewing in the near future.

The Phantom of The Ville

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