Linda Bourgeois stood by the fence of the Bumble Bee Bop carnival ride Sunday as her two granddaughters hopped on the small, carousel-like attraction during the opening weekend of the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair.
Bourgeois, 61, captured the event on video, and as soon as the Bumble Bee Bop stopped, the girls were ready to move to the next attraction.
“They want to ride every ride, even things they cannot ride,” Bourgeois said.
Bourgeois and her granddaughters were among the hundreds of people who went to the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair at BREC’s Airline Highway Park over the weekend.
The fair, which began Thursday and runs through Nov. 6, featured more than just rides, but the carnival midway — ferris wheels, tilt-a-whirls, carousels and roller coasters — still dominated much of the landscape.
Jacob Myers, 21, and his girlfriend, Caitlin Melancon, 19, took a chance on the “Spin Out,” which spun them up, down, left and right.
Myers said he usually enjoys amusement park rides, but he didn’t like this one.
“I was going upside down too much,” Myers said. “It made all the blood go to my head.”
Still, Myers and Melancon seemed to be having a good time, especially after Myers won a stuffed animal — a pirate penguin — for his girlfriend at a dart toss game.
Carnival games lined the alleyway leading to the rides. Prizes ranged from stuffed animals to throwback sports jerseys.
Carnival worker Chris Reeves demonstrated a ball toss game to people who passed his booth.
The object of the game was to gently throw a whiffle ball into a wooden board and knock it into a basket below.
People who threw the featherweight ball too hard watched it fall to the ground.
“It’s all in the finger roll,” Reeves said as he flipped a ball onto a board and into a basket.
The smell of carnival treats — especially cotton candy and funnel cakes — wafted through the air and down from the fair’s food court, not far from the coasters and carousels.
Near the food court was “Ag-venture Land,” which featured the “Great American Petting Zoo.”
Chris Campbell, 38, brought his daughters — Keri, 10, and Hayley, 6 — to the petting zoo.
The Campbells tried to pet all of the animals in the zoo, including the goats, llamas and kangaroos.
“The kids loved it,” Campbell said. “I think the kangaroos were the coolest thing.”
Kids weren’t just petting the animals at the fair; They were also riding them.
A few yards away from the petting zoo was a rodeo ring where a crowd of people gathered to watch children ride sheep.
The sheep, though, didn’t seem to be as friendly as their petting zoo brethren.
As soon as they were let out, the sheep, from the Flying S Bucking Bulls ranch in Livingston, would race into the main ring.
Children wore helmets and padded vests as they rode the bucking sheep.
Ranch hands ran beside the animals and held onto the children.
“We don’t want anyone to fall off and hurt themselves,” announcer Freddy Woods told the crowd.
The fair began in 1965 as a fundraising project of the Baton Rouge Jaycees, a leadership-teaching organization for young men, fair chairman Cliff Barton said.
It began as a trade show, then added a carnival midway in 1966, Barton said.
The fair moved to Airline Highway after the fair’s board of directors purchased the land in the early 1970s, Barton said.
BREC, which eventually bought the Airline Highway property in the mid-1980s, now rents it out to the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair, Barton said.
The fair’s nine-person board of directors works on a volunteer basis, Barton said.
“The board works year-round,” he said.