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state's 10-day affair
By GRANT PARSONS
G ETTA DIME. G ETTA DIME,
gettadime to play, gettadime to w in.
Tossadime in the red circles, winnyer
Banana, banana, banana; anyone
can win a banana.
You get 10 points each time you
clobber the little guy. Get 150 points
and win a bear.
wants to go FASTER?
. . . But I'm sure you will agree
that it 's educational. Have you ever
seen an animal with two heads? Now,
I don V mean a chick with an extra
lump of flesh hanging off its head.
I mean two real heads.
RALEIGH The sticky-sweet,
cotton-candy smell, the press of
people on the midway, the swish of
the rides swirling against the sky
that's the stuff of the 119th North
Carolina State Fair on opening day
On the midway, you hear buzzers,
bells, thumping rock music and
mechanical clicks that make a
ringing cacophony out of a simple
In one breath, you smell roasting
barbecue, frying dough, candied
apples, popcorn, corndogs.
Neon-bright colors, flashing lights
and the careening blur of the rides
demand your attention, overloading
"It's almost too much," says
Mayco Bigelow, a Burlington Parks
and Recreation worker with a huge
stuffed bear under one arm and a
bigger stuffed lion under the other.
"I love the fair. I come every year."
For him, the biggest attraction is
the midway games, and he's having
a lucky day. "I've won five of these
thfngs," Bigelow says, pointing with
his chin to the lion under his arm.
I don't know how I'm going to get
them home. They won't fit in my
He says he won them tossing
dimes into red circles painted on a
plywood sheet. The secret? "You just
thump it into the air and let it spin.
You either bump your dime or
someone else's. I've just been lucky."
A few steps down the midway,
Margreat Hatley doesn't look her
age. The weight guesser says 70.
That's way off, she tells the man.
"Don't be fooled by the cane; I broke
my leg last year."
She studies the weight guesser's
shelves, packed with novelty mirrors,
glasses and stuffed gimgaws, as if
unsure. Hatley chooses a stuffed
skunk and crams it in a plastic
garbage bag brimming with stuffed
She tells the weight guesser that
if he can't get her age, there's no way
he could get her weight.
He can't. Hatley trades the skunk
for two stuffed football players,
black and red, and shoves them into
her bag. Hatley and her friend. Eve
Bare, both from Siler City, say they
love the fair.
ealitty, ffamiltasy kaleidoscope at fair
"WeVe been here all day, and well
probably come next week too, if
Maggie don't clean the place out,"
Others see the fair as more of an ,
educational experience. The N.C.
State Fair means agriculture, and
fair-goers can test the newest herbi
cide, buy the latest tractor and sell
their best goat at the exhibits off the
In the livestock arena, Larry Seal
of Mebane is having an easier time
with his children's show goats than
with his children. He holds the five
goats by short yellow ropes; one
daughter stands near him, another
has gone to the bathroom, and he
wonders where his eight-year-old son
is. "He's supposed to be around here
somewhere," Seal says.
The care and feeding that comes
with showing a goat teaches his
children a sense of responsibility, he
says. "It also teaches them a little
bit about competition."
Behind Seal, youngsters between
the ages of 7 and 14 walk their goats,
female breeding stock, into the
arena. The judge, Calvin Alford, an
extension livestock officer from the
University of Georgia, watches
sternly and points directions to the
children. He frowns when a goat
"My kids enjoy it, and I enjoy it,
too," Seal says. "It's something 1 did
when I was 10 or 11 years old. I
got excited then doing it, and I get
excited now watching them."
Against the fence in the arena, 7-year-old
Dana Turnage, of Trenton,
watches the goings-on. She brought
a goat last year, but this time around
it's her brother who will have to
impress the judge. But when his goat
is judged, itU be sold.
"I'm glad I didn't bring a goat
because I get sad when he's gone,"
she says. Losing Daisy, her brother's
goat, will be bad enough, she says.
Back out on the midway, hawkers
compete with each other for your
attention and money. For just four
tickets ($2), claims the man in front
of the animal freak show, you can
see a sheep with four horns, assorted
two-headed animals and other
"You've read about it, you've
heard about it, now see the devil's
child," the voice bellows from the
loudspeaker. Inside the yellow- and
red-striped tent, animals graze lazily
at the hay lining their pens.
There's a goat born without ears
next to a "zonkey" half-zebra,
half-donkey. The midget cows
lounge in their pen, not giving the
half-dozen viewers in the tent a
second glance, while the Chinese
hairless dog with elephant skin
Floating in jars inside a display
case are preserved pigs with human
hands and feet, a pig with an
elephant trunk snout, and what the
sign calls "Twin cats born alive! One
head, two bodies, two tails, four ears
and eight legs!"
Other mutations abound, and for
T .v: A 1
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cuts family lines
By JO FLEISCHER
Assistant University Editor
Scott Stevens' whole family is
in show business, and has been
for four generations.
Now that his grandparents and
his parents have retired from the
fair circuit, Stevens travels with
his uncle's Ghost Train, an 11-year-old
spookhouse. They set up
and operate the ride, and Stevens
tries to scare its customers to
death as Jason, the maniacal
killer of "Friday the 13th."
Those that brave the Ghost
Train travel through the dark
interior passages of the 48-foot
trailer, confronted at every turn
by mechanical ghosts and grem1
lins popping out from the shad
ows. The car reaches the end of
this onslaught of horror, banging
back the double doors into day
light and the relative safety of the
Just as the riders breathe a sigh
of relief, Stevens in full Jason
regalia complete with hockey
mask jumps down onto their
car from the roof behind them,
pulling his three-quarter horsep
ower McCollouch chainsaw, sans
chain, to life. Passengers cower
in their seats as he draws the blade ,
across the back of their heads and
necks with the motor racing at
It's enough to scare a person
half to death, but responses varyi
"1 get hit a few times but it's
nothing major," he said. "Some
guys with their girlfriends get mad
and try to scare you back."
His best scare happened in
Miami, he said. "A lady stated
screaming in Spanish, 'Oh Jesus!
It's taking my baby,' then these
two guys come up and start trying
to jump on me," he said.
Sometimes it gets a little dan
gerous. "I got maced in Winston
Salem by these two teenage girls,"
a quarter you can feed them grain
pellets. "Change your luck, feed a
duck," says one sign.
Over at the grandstand for $4,
Jake Plumstead and his auto thrill
show will amaze you with "spine
tingling, death-defying feats of hell
Dave Merrifield performs the
Hangman's neck twist, the toe-hang
and the single knee-drop while
hanging from a trapeze underneath
a helicopter. Doug Danger and
Duane Senegal hurl 90 feet through
the air on motorcycles side by side
at 50 mph.
You also see two- and four-car hell
driving, the Slide for Life and the
Motorcycle Wall of Death. And then
Crash Monroe speeds around the
track, cruising at what the announcer
calls "the secret speed." With the
engine roaring, he slams the crash
car into a junker standing on its rear
bumper and flips it 180 degrees so
it lands on its front end before it
crashes to the dirt track.
Ever cavalier, Monroe escapes
unscathed, sliding his car to a
precision stop in front of the grand
stand to wave at the crowd.
Terry Sanford, U.S. Senate can
didate and former N.C. governor,
enjoyed a ride of a different kind,
flying to the fair in a helicopter as
part of his "two-day barnstorming
tour" of North Carolina. He had
hoped to have an opportunity to
speak at the fair, but instead he
spends more than two hours greeting
fair-goers at Dorton Arena.
As it becomes dark, the rides light
up, creating a dazzle of blurring
brightness above the midway.
More people have come, packed
against you on the midway. It's hard
to move, hard to breathe.
The voices of the hawkers, which
had been getting lower as the day
wore on, intensify. It's impossible to
give any one of them undivided
The cotton-candy smell that was
so new earlier is stale. The smell is
in your clothes. You can wear it
home, a free souvenir that will be
::..-:.Y..t-- ..---.-7-- '-W-'- '
he said. Stevens was performing
in a werewolf mask when he
surprised the girls, and they
surprised him back with mace.
"The mask just sorta melted on
my face," he recalled.
Although he said he enjoys
people's reaction to his perfor
mances, he enjoys the money
more, he said. Stevens hopes to
save enough from his seven
month tours of the eastern United
States with his uncle's ride to buy
a ride of his own. "One with
holograms; that way I won't have
to sweat to death all day with a
chainsaw," he said.
Stevens' uncle, Mike Scott,
enjoys people's reactions to Ste
vens' chainsaw act, too. Business
picks up 50 percent when Jason
fires up the saw, he said.
Stevens' whole family has been
in "show business," and if he
starts up his own ride it would
be a fourth generation added to
the tradition that stretches back
to when Stevens' great
grandparents operated a ride
similar to the Ghost Train. Back
then, the trains were pulled by
mules, Scott said.
Today, Stevens, his uncle and
his brother travel up and down
the East Coast seven to eight
months a year. They travel with
Scott's wife, Rosie, their 18-month-old
baby and Stevens'
fiancee. An 18-wheeler that tows
the Ghost Train, and a 40-foot
Country Air house trailer are
home, along with a smaller trailer
for Scott's two daughters.
Scott has been traveling the
same circuit for 1 1 years, he said.
"There's a lot of things that you
have to put up with that folks that
live in town don't have to like
getting parts for the ride, and just
hooking up water and electricity
for the trailers," he said. "But
really it's like a town that moves.
1 know most everybody that
travels with Strates, and have for
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years, and 1 know some people
in every town we stop in, so it's
not that different," he said.
Stevens said he likes the road,
too. "The drag is staying at home
all the time," he said. "It's like
a neighborhood here, except you
take everything you have at home
with you," he said.
It's not for everybody, he
admits, so when he met his wife
in high school, he didn't marry
her until she "came out on the
road so she could see what it was
like before got into it."
Steven's fiancee is currently
undergoing her initiation into the
show-business life, and is holding
up fairly well, he said.
And another sequel is being
added to the four-generation
storv of "Jason's" familv.
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Heel Monday, October 20, 19865
by Grant Parsons
P- r .r n i i i 1 1 i T M1 I fei -