Bigger and Better: Nebraska State Fair returns with new attractions

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Kathryn O’Connor
News Editor

“The Wade Shows Carnival at the Nebraska State Fair will truly have something for everyone.”
Photo courtesy of Jack Sheard

Nebraska’s fan favorite fair is back, bringing new attractions to cater to the taste of daring thrill seekers. 

Returning Aug. 26 to Sept. 5, the Nebraska State Fair takes fairgoers where no fairgoers have gone before — at least according to Frank Zaitshik, president of Wade Shows and the fair’s long-time carnival provider.

“We are bringing attractions that you just don’t see at a county fair or even most state fairs,” Zaitshik said. “We have all struggled during the pandemic and wanted the carnival to be better than ever, a return to normal — and beyond.”

While the Nebraska State Fair traditionally celebrates the state’s agriculture production, the Wade Shows Carnival always grabs guests’ attention, said Bill Ogg, Nebraska State Fair executive director.

The Wade Shows Carnival 2022 will have three new attractions: the Enterprise, the Mega Drop and the Cliff Hanger.

Named after the USS Enterprise from the “Star Trek” TV show, the Enterprise is one of the largest rides of the carnival, holding 40 people at a time, with two people in each gondola. 

With high speeds, extreme height and breathtaking lights, the ride is a fair favorite. The ride begins in a clockwise rotation before being lifted in the air by a hydraulic arm to an 87 degree angle. On the Enterprise, ride-goers experience everything from going around and around like a merry-go-round to almost straight up and down like a Ferris wheel.

Rising 120 feet in the air, The Mega Drop is the largest portable drop tower in the country. 

The Mega Drop’s car raises guests to the tower’s full height before free falling back to a safe stop below. The feeling of weightlessness, coupled with the anticipation of the drop, is a thrill ride lovers keep coming back for, time and time again.

For those with a taste for more moderate thrill-level rides, the Cliff Hanger is making its Nebraska State Fair debut. Made to simulate the motion and sensation of hang gliding, this ride gives just enough thrills for adventurers of all ages. By lying face down on the cars, ride-goers move around before tilting and flying higher in the air.

The Nebraska State Fair carnival will also have plenty of family-friendly rides and old-time favorites such as the Spider, the Swings and the bumper cars, Zaitshik said.

“We try to bring plenty of amusements for all ages,” Zaitshik said. “From the most spectacular thrill rides, such as our Crazy Mouse coaster and Mega Drop, to rides for the entire family. The Wade Shows Carnival at the Nebraska State Fair will truly have something for everyone.”

Each ride requires between three and five tickets purchased at the carnival. Prices are five for $6, 25 for $25, or 55 for $50. Unlimited access wristbands are available for $26 before the Aug. 26 start or $30 at the Fair.

“The wristbands are among the most popular items we sell,” Ogg said.

For more information and to purchase Nebraska State Fair carnival wristbands, visit statefair.org

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