MADISON — Bright lights, loud music and junk food always attract a crowd of both the young and young-at-heart to the Madison County Fair carnival.
This year, 22 rides, concessions and games of skill and chance lined the midway at the fairgrounds.
Traditional crowd pleasers always include the giant Ferris wheel, a full merry-go-round and small rides for young children.
But others would rather get their blood pumping than relax and take in the sights.
For those — mostly younger fairgoers — the thrill rides are the main attraction.
One such ride is the Super Shot, a lighted vertical tower with passengers seated around the outside. The interconnected seats slowly ascend to a height of 90 feet before being dropped in a free fall back toward the ground.
Another ride providing a symphony of screams is the Fire Ball — essentially a rollercoaster-style ride that runs along a track in a complete vertical circle.
Riders are flipped upside down a number of times as loud music and flashing lights work to overwhelm the senses.
The two-minute ride feels much longer, and it’s one of the most popular at the fair this year.
Payton Frederick, 16, of Battle Creek said he had fun riding the Fire Ball with his group of friends.
“You get to chill upside down a little bit. I may or may not have cussed a little bit, but I didn’t scream,” Payton said.
On the other end of the carnival spectrum, crowds of children may be found flocking to several simple rides running on a circular track, merry-go-round style.
Beth Ray of Madison said her four children, ages 1½ to 12, had ridden multiple times on a ride where they could sit on a variety of plastic animals and vehicles.
“My 12-year-old is riding in the smallest car and keeps finding the weirdest thing to ride,” Ray said with a laugh. “They’re all having fun.
The carnival at the fair will continue to run each afternoon and evening through the weekend. Hours are 4-11 p.m. on Saturday and 4-10 p.m. on Sunday.
Wristbands for unlimited rides are available for purchase at the carnival ticket stand. They will cost $30 on Saturday and $25 on Sunday.
Other weekend fair attractions include a Brett Young concert on Saturday and a Chris Janson concert on Sunday.