10 Reasons to Think Twice About Heading to Local Carnivals

by Emma Roberts

feria de marbella

feria de marbella

There’s something about a local feria that just goes hand-in-hand with summer vacation. The rides, shows, games and attractions are an iconic part of summer, and are infinitely attractive to youngsters. Before you head to the carnival set up at your local fairgrounds, however, there are a few things that you might want to think carefully about to ensure that you’re making the safest, smartest and most economically sound decision.

High Prices – If there’s one thing that is almost universally true when it comes to Ferias/Carnivals, it’s that they’re not cheap, especially if you have a large group in tow. Before you pack up and head to the carnival, realize that many of the rides will require more than one ticket per rider, and that wristbands that offer unlimited rides are usually quite expensive.

The Games are Too Hard – Feria are designed to provide fun distractions for their visitors, but they’re also built to make as much money as possible in a relatively short amount of time. As a result, games can be a bit pricey to play and very difficult to win. No carnival owner wants to surrender the prizes that will have to be replaced before the next stop, so be prepared to have a disappointed child in tow when you leave a game booth with empty hands.

Low Quality Prizes – Should you be so skilled or so fortunate as to win a carnival game or two, you can rest assured that you almost certainly paid far more to play the game than the owners paid for your prizes. As such, they’re often low quality and will fall apart, break or die in short order.

Barkers – The workers scattered around the midway that try to talk you into playing games, taking rides or buying food are placed there because they’re particularly persuasive and good at their jobs. Even if you have a firmly fixed budget, a smooth barker can talk you into spending more than you planned before you realize it.

Food is Expensive and Unhealthy – Funnel cakes, syrupy soft drinks and deep-fried everything are par for the culinary course at the carnival, and they’re all terrible for you. Furthermore, mobile concession stands may not always have the most advanced food storage or preparation equipment, which can open you up to the possibility of food-borne illnesses.

Equipment Can Be in Poor Repair – Technically, most states require that carnival rides be inspected before opening for business. In practice, however, this simply isn’t always the case. You’re relying upon a carnival owner’s compliance with those regulations with your safety, and there’s just no guarantee that the rides are actually in safe condition.

Apathetic Workers – Feria workers see the same thing every night, and like anyone else, will eventually become bored with their jobs. When the safety and mechanical soundness of fast-moving equipment is left in the hands of bored or distracted operators, disaster can strike.

No Federal Regulation – Each state governs traveling carnivals differently, and there’s no federal oversight or regulation when it comes to operations or equipment safety. That means that a large carnival may be traveling through several states, trying to comply with a different set of rules at every stop.

Transient Feria Mean Transient Workers – ferias may be held at your local fairgrounds, but the people who own and operate the carnival itself are almost always of the transient variety. With no real ties to your community comes a sense of anonymity, which means that an unscrupulous owner or operator will be less likely to face any real fallout as a result of customer dissatisfaction. By the time your negative feedback circulates through your community, the carnival and those responsible for it will almost certainly be long gone.

You Have Very Young Children – The flashing lights, appetizing smells and exciting sights of a carnival are irresistible for small kids, but the things that they can actually do at a carnival tend to be limited to a couple of kiddie rides and plenty of eating. If you have very small kids in tow, they’re more likely to be frustrated by the lack of concession to their age group than excited about the experience.

While these reasons are definitely worthy of a moment’s pause for consideration, it’s important to remember that not all carnivals are alike, nor are all inherently dangerous. It’s just wise to give careful consideration to certain things before buying your ticket and taking the ride.

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