Dixon May Fair 2013

View the world from upside down at the fair

What is a fair without the carnival rides and games of chance?

In the swirling, twirling neon of the Butler Amusements carnival, you will discover rides to entertain, or give you a rush, alongside the simple Merry-Go-Round. Who can resist tossing a ball into a basket on the Midway in hopes of winning one of those giant stuffed animals you see teenagers carrying around?

One of the first sights and sounds to greet you at the Dixon May Fair are the spectacular rides reaching high into the air, twisting clockwise, counter-clockwise, up and down, until they elicit bloodcurdling screams from thrill-seekers. Waves of giggles from children will rails each your ears as youngsters twirl, dip and bounce in their own special carnival adventure.

Butler Amusements is offering wristbands, which allow the rider unlimited rides on any one day, for $24 in advance, and coupon booklets for just $20 through Wednesday. Each ride takes three to five coupons.

Regular health and safety inspections at fairs and festivals ensure high quality for the estimated 350 million people who visit a carnival each year in the United States.

The generators that will run the Butler Amusement carnival are equipped to be quieter and more friendly to the environment than the older versions. The new electrical generation system not only emits less air pollutants, it also cuts drastically the noise level on the midway, providing a better experience for fairgoers.

Carnival Hours

  • 4 to 11 p.m. Thursday, May 9
  • Noon to 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday, May 10-12

Spectacular Rides

Raptor: The Raptor has a familiar look of the classic scrambler, but with a special kick that multiplies the fun and excitement. Four arms are connected to seats in pods of three. Each pod of seats spin counterclockwise while the entire arm turns counterclockwise, giving riders the feeling of being in the center of a crazy vortex. The Raptor has 18 seats each holding two adults per seat.

: Already a Midway favorite, the Nitro, from Italy, lifts riders high into the air, 20 at a time. As the main boom swings back and forth, the base of five groups of seats begin to spin, giving the passengers a feeling of weightlessness while they soar through the air with their feet swinging free. This ride creates a thrilling, unforgettable experience for its riders and provides a spectacular show.

Super Shot Drop Tower: 
The world-class Super Shot Drop Tower is one of Butler Amusements’ newest acquisitions. Unlike any other ride on the Midway, the new Super Shot will bring a new dimension of thrills to carnivalgoers. Twelve passengers are loaded into each circular passenger station. Over-the-shoulder harnesses secure patrons while they are gently lifted up the 90-foot tower. Once the passenger station reaches the top, it is released in an accelerated free fall and riders experience G-Forces in excess of 3½ times normal. Riders are then cushioned by a magnetic braking system, stopping the station before it reaches the base of the tower.

Yo Yo
: Passengers take their seats and then slowly rise into the air and they’re off on a variation of the swing, called the Yo Yo. As it turns the top leans, giving riders the thrill of “flying.” A family ride for youngsters, teens and adults.

Giant Wheel: 
A towering tradition of Butler Amusements, the majestic Giant Wheel dominates the Midway day and night, offering patrons a sweeping view from a height of nearly 100 feet. Passengers are seated in separate gondolas and then whisked smoothly up, around and down again, a motion reminiscent of the Ferris wheel. The Giant Wheel is a pleasant ride for the entire family.

The Century Carousel: 
For decades, audiences have been awed by the beautifully handcrafted majesty of the carousel. To witness The Century Carousel is to see this piece of Americana in all its glory. This 30-foot carousel with an Americana theme features 34 jumping horses and two chariots. Parents and children create memories while they enjoy the sights and sounds of this beautiful ride together.

Ring of Fire: Love of the Midway is a burnin’ thing, and in this case, it makes a fiery ring. On the Ring of Fire, passengers are firmly secured in their seats within a train of cars and are taken on a journey that circumnavigates the inside of a “ring of fire.” The train pauses only once at the top before cascading backward down the track. The Ring of Fire is a spectacular ride just for teens and adults.

: The Zipper has been one of the Midway’s most recognizable attractions for years, providing thrills to riders from teens to adults. There’s more spinning going on with the Zipper than an out-of-control top. While the “cages” holding two passengers each rise and descend on a tower boom, each spins independently and the entire boom turns, too. Three times the action, backed by spectacular lighting bringing them back for more.

1001 Nachts (Nights): 
Our European 1001 Nachts ride is a spectacular, bright ride on the Midway and is a thrill to fairgoers. It is a platform ride that goes completely up and over in a circular fashion as riders leave their stomaches behind.

Major Rides and Shows

The Gravitron: 
The lights and excitement of the Midway literally become a blur as The Gravitron sweeps you off of your feet. Spinning at 24 revolutions per minute, The Gravitron uses centrifugal force to float the passengers off the floor, giving them the feeling of weightlessness. All aboard on this 45-person-capacity Gravitron for one wild ride.

Voyager: Step into the future with the Voyager. Riders board what looks like a spaceship and step into virtual reality. The Voyager has a movie for riders to watch while it rocks them back and forth.

Tornado: The Tornado is a thrilling ride that is enjoyed by kids, teens and families of all types. The Tornado has eight specially designed spherical passenger vessels, each with a capacity of four people. Each vessel includes a centrally located steering wheel that enables the passengers spin the cars themselves. The Tornado lifts 7½ feet into the air and tilts 20 degrees for a terrific ride sensation. This ride has just been retrofitted with brand new, bright, high-efficiency LED turbo lights. In addition to the bright new energy-efficient lighting, the Tornado has a brand new custom paint job featuring a “Wizard of Oz”-like theme.

Mardi-Gras: Celebrate one of America’s brightest and boldest holidays without having to travel far. The Mardi-Gras is a self-contained celebration of the famed New Orleans holiday. Two stories of exciting mirror mazes, moving escalators, music and lights combine for thrills, inside and out – day or night!

Merry Go Round: For decades, audiences have been awed by the beautifully handcrafted majesty of the carousel. To witness The Merry Go Round is to see this piece of Americana in all its glory. This 28-foot carousel with an Americana theme features 24 jumping horses and two chariots. Parents and children create memories while they enjoy the sights and sounds of this beautiful ride together!

Haywire: Zig and zag your way to an amazing time on the Haywire. Families delight as they spin in two directions at the same time. The Haywire has 12 seats, each seat capable of holding three people. The main frame spins as each arm of seats spins independently, creating a feeling of funky flight. The ride also features deluxe lighting and programmed incandescent “ultra lights.”

: Round and round they go and where they stop, nobody knows! An old favorite that has thrilled and excited patrons for generations, the Tilt-A-Whirl is a swirling experience for teens and adults. Separate cars rotate individually as the entire ride revolves up, down and around.

Giant Slide: The Dixon May Fair has been a playground for children of all ages for more than 135 years. And no playground would ever be complete without a slide! Kids of any age enjoy the thrill of this Giant Slide as they sail down the undulating path. Passengers climb a stairway, higher and higher to the top of the slide and then laugh and squeal with delight as they sail to the bottom.

Family Rides (rides that adults and children may ride together)

Wacky Worm
: The Wacky Worm coaster is designed for the whole family. This two-level family roller coaster is a great way for the entire family to enjoy the carnival. This brightly painted worm, surrounded by flower cup lights, is a charming addition to the Midway.

Looney Tooter Train: All aboard! This fun-filled train trip for the whole family takes place in train cars that boast a cartoon theme. Passengers board the train at the station and with merry music and bright scenery, the journey begins around a circular track. Fun for everyone is in store on the Looney Tooter Train.

Tea Cups: This family ride has a beautifully detailed teapot centerpiece and six teacups with four seats each for a total capacity of 24. Fiberglass vehicles are installed on a rotating platform. Each car is equipped with a steering wheel that controls the speed of its individual rotation. The Tea Cups is a hit with riders of all ages.

Bear Affair: On the Bear Affair, four jolly bears welcome children and parents aboard for a smooth ride. Passengers can move the ride at their own pace by turning a giant steering wheel inside the bear’s belly, spinning themselves round and round while the entire ride revolves as well.

Lolli Swing
: Enjoy all of the fun of the sweet colors and savory sensation of a lollipop without the calories and sugar. This brightly colored ride has 16 swings decorated with large swirl lollipops and lights. The centerpiece is a large clown complete with a red nose and floppy shoes.

Jump Around: The Jump Around is a first-of-its-kind, fully interactive family ride that is sure to be a hit with children of all ages. The Jump Around combines vehicles that sport dune buddy themes with a patent-pending interactive bouncing motion. Up to four children or one adult and two children can be accommodated in each vehicle for a capacity of 600 rides per hour.

Corvettes: Get your little motor runnin’ on this high-octane kiddy ride. The Corvettes are shaded under an umbrella and they travel in a 360-degree rotation. This ride will bring out the little grease monkey in any child!

Shrek: Everyone’s favorite ogre now has his own ride! Shrek the ride is sure to be an all-time favorite. Shrek features walk-through punching bags, a cargo net climb, covered super slide and many more features that will keep the littlest of visitors wanting to come back for more.

Airport 8: The Airport 8 is a great ride for the whole family. These crop dusters have a small steering wheel that allows the children to maneuver the ride up and down as if they are the ones flying the jet through the air. Parents and children can ride together on these colorful planes for a safe, fun experience.

Daily Republic staff


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