It arrives every year on the second weekend of May. Along with dandelions decorating the lawns along Schoenherr road, there is no surer sign of Spring than the Warren Woods Spring Carnival. Last year, as I was driving home from work one night, I spotted a multi-colored tower in the distance. It foretold the annual arrival of the fair and hopefully warmer weather. This carnival is not for the faint of heart. Mid-May temperatures in suburban Detroit can still be pretty brisk. This can result in rather severe wind chills on some of the faster rides. You might have some bright red ears for a few hours afterwards. However, there is something special about trying to spot your house from the top of the Ferris Wheel.
This sight caused me to instantly flash back on all of the good times our family had at the carnival when my boys were young. We used to spend ridiculous amounts of money on games, rides, and food whenever we went. Specifically, I remember one year, when my son Jeff had been begging to go to the fair all week. Unfortunately, I got stuck working that weekend. When I was finally able to drag myself home, after an emergency in the computer room, all I wanted to do was collapse into my recliner. Even my plan of cracking open a nice cold one was shot to hell. The screaming headache that accompanied me on the ride home from work was a literal buzzkill.
So after eating a rushed dinner, and downing a dangerous amount of Tylenol, Jeff and I headed over to the carnival. This was the first year they had instituted a wristband policy, so you didn’t have to keep buying extra tickets for the rides. Ride all you want, for a price that rivaled Cedar Point! After emptying my wallet, we made our rounds on the Midway. I was hanging in there until Jeff spotted the Gravitron. If you haven’t experienced this nightmare, picture being stuck to the wall of a clothes dryer. Just when you can’t take another second, the floor drops out! It felt like my brains were leaking out of my eyes and ears, and then being stomped on by a rather large elephant. I didn’t win The Father of the Year Award for surviving that ride, but hey, at least I didn’t wind up in the hospital with an aneurysm! The things we do for our kids. I think I’ll pass on the carnival this year, but I’ll remember it fondly as I drive past.
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