The gates are open, the grills are on and the grins are a mile wide. The pinnacle of summer entertainment in Regina arrived as thousands of people turned out to the Queen City Exhibition Wednesday.
The weather was warm and windy, but conveniently not rainy as it had been over the previous few days, which ultimately led to the cancellation of the parade and fireworks Tuesday evening.
Eager kids and teenagers lined up for the rides.
“I like the big boat,” said Danielle Christie, fully realizing that’s likely not what the name of the ride is.
“I like the Fire Ball. I don’t know if that’s what it’s actually called but it’s like a big claw,” her friend Rebecca Bzdell explained.
Screams could be heard from people being spun in all different directions on The Zipper or up and down on the Crazy Mouse Coaster.
For some who don’t like spinning on rides, they took a chance on their stomachs spinning by eating some of the deep-fried, greasy fair food. Corn dogs are a perennial favourite of many fair-goers. So too are mini donuts.
Jonathan Tapley knows a thing or two about the sweet treat. Born into the carnival as a third-generation carnival worker, he shared that his family owns the mini-donuts sold at the Queen City Ex.
“We’re known coast-to-coast, like butter on toast. We’re yummy yummy, a little donut in your tummy and I’m tellin’ you now if you want a teddy bear, you’re not ‘gonna have a frown cuz I’m gonna turn it upside down,” said the fast-talker.
As the self-proclaimed top agent among the travelling midway during the last show, he took a minute away from the dart game he was trying to get people to play to reveal his secret.
“I’m like sliced bread. Everybody wants a piece.”
While he uses the over-the-top approach, other workers project their voice with the help of a headset and speaker. Some, like Meagan Dorge, use a softer approach.
“I ask nicely. I don’t try and be really super aggressive cause a lot of people will do that,” she said at the front counter of her balloon game. “I coerce kindly.”
She explained how there’s a friendly competition among some of her fellow employees to attract the most customers, as both pride and an increased paycheque are on the line, admitting there are bonuses for getting more people to play.
Intoxicated by the promise of winning a giant stuffed animal, some simply can’t resist throwing a ball or dart to win their sweetheart a special something. Then again, no matter how great the pitch is, others realize the only thing they’re throwing is their money away.
Besides games, rides and food, a variety of musical performers will play on The Great Western Stage. That includes Magic!, Roadhammers & Doc Walker, Gin Blossoms, Daughtry and Shawn Mendes. The RCMP Musical Ride, a hypnotist and a reptile zoo are some of the other, indoor attractions.
The Queen City Ex is on until Sunday.