Fair Time is Fun Time

County fair a hit with local crowd

Assistant Editor-in-Chief Hannah Hawkins

2016 Hilo County Fair
2016 Hilo County Fair

“Lucky we live Hawai‘i” is a popular saying among locals, reminding kama‘āina and malihini alike of the many spectacular adventures these islands hold. At this year’s Hawai‘i County Fair, the phrase - though slightly tweaked - held the same truth throughout the festivities, which lasted four days this September.

“Lucky we live Big Island” was the formal name of the theme for the 2016 fair, as the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium and its adjacent grounds were transformed into a magical wonderland for both young and old.

Over 27,000 people were in attendance, from Thursday, Sept. 18 through Sunday, Sept. 21, likely including several attendees traveling from other parts of the island to get their first taste of the fair during its run in Hilo.

E.K. Fernandez Shows, Inc. was able to bring in many attractions - from food vendors to acrobatic entertainment and, of course, those iconic fair rides.

Among the most popular rides were “Fireball,” a circular roller coaster, the “Zipper,” a vertically spinning arm of free tumbling cages, and “Wave Swinger,” the familiar twirling chain-hanging swings. In addition to these, a new ride also caught fairgoers’ attention this year: “Area 51,” a centrifugal force-capturing saucer.

Fast-moving rides aside, other activities kept onlookers busy as well. One such attraction was the kid-friendly petting zoo, where lambs, goats, calves and rabbits, among other animals, could be viewed. Another draw was the “Amazing Anastasini Circus,” a travelling act that drew scores of onlookers, filling the arena to maximum capacity.

2016 Hilo County Fair

Among the many games under the activities tent, the Whack-A-Mole booth was one of the most popular, as winning a poop emoji hat seemed to be the coveted prize of the evening.

Author’s Note: In comparison...

With our county fair having come and gone, I decided to look up other carnivals and found something interesting: Rio de Janeiro recently hosted the 2016 Summer Olympics, but that’s not all the South American city is known for. Happening in early February, the Rio Carnival is often dubbed ‘The World’s Largest Party.’

According to brazillianexperience.com, “It is not a secret that Brazilian people love beer but during the carnival this love is even bigger: 10 million liters of beer are consumed every year in [the city of] Salvador only during the event.”

And in a TIME magazine article from February, it was noted how “authorities are clamping down on those who urinate in the street. This year, the fine has increased from [$]44 to [$]131 and the city says there will be more than 25,000 portable toilets.”

With that in mind, here are nine interesting facts from culturetown.org about the festivities that take place at “El Carnaval”...

  1. Along with all the other carnivals in historically Catholic Brazil, the Rio Carnival marks the beginning of Lent, the forty-day period of sacrifice and atonement before Easter.
  2. In 2011, 4.9 million people took part in the festivities in Rio. 400,000 of those were foreigners.
  3. The first Carnival dates back as far as 1723.
  4. There are more than two million people on the streets every day during the Carnival.
  5. More than 200 different samba schools from Rio participate.
  6. The main parades take place in the Sambadrome.
  7. The samba dance, originating from the Bahia region and influenced by African rhythms, came to Rio de Janeiro around 1920.
  8. El Carnaval is a national holiday in Brazil.
  9. It’s not uncommon for many Rio residents, not wanting to participate in the festival, to leave the city in droves during the festivities.