Who doesn’t love a carnival? The rides! The food! The games!

The 2013 Bloomin’ Temple Festival will give Central Texas plenty of opportunities to pig out on funnel cake and make themselves sick on the tilt-a-whirl with a carnival for young and old alike. Yes, Spring is probably the best time for a good carnival, but have you ever wondered where your favorite carnival rides and games originated? No? Well I have, and you obviously have a little time to kill. Join me for a closer look at some our favorite carnival attractions.

THE FERRIS WHEEL

We’ll start with the first thing you spot when approaching any carnival: The Ferris wheel. That big, shining wheel has become as symbolic of America as apple pie, bald eagles and Snuggies!

Star Wars Fans Train As Jedis In Lightsaber Class In San Francisco | Getty Images
Star Wars Fans Train As Jedis In Lightsaber Class In San Francisco | Getty Images

Face it: We’ll all be casually wearing them like Jedi robes in a few years.

There are few joys so sweet and simple as a Ferris wheel ride with your sweetheart. So where did they come from?

The first historical encounter with the “pleasure wheel” was recorded by the unfortunately named English traveler Peter Munday in the 17th century. Munday observed the wheel at a Balkan festival. Believing it to be a large rotisserie for cooking up plump children, he inquired about the recipe being used and learned that the contraption was actually intended to be a fun ride. Chairs were suspended from large wooden rings, and the strongest guy in town would turn the wheel manually.

Conan the Barbarian - YouTube
Conan the Barbarian - YouTube

Said strong guy would later carve out a career beheading wizards.

The idea caught on and spread like the plague!

Basle Plague | Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Basle Plague | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Too soon?

The first modern-style Ferris wheel was constructed in 1893 for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Its designer, George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. (say it five times fast),intended it to rival the Eiffel Tower. In true American fashion, he built something bigger, better and explosionyer! Seriously: The thing was a monster and had to be destroyed with dynamite!

1893 World's Fair Ferris Wheel | Getty Images
1893 World's Fair Ferris Wheel | Getty Images

Some say it was not destroyed, but bides its time in the darkest depths of the sea…

Today, the world’s largest Ferris wheel is the Singapore Flyer located in Marina Bay, Singapore. It’s perhaps the most noticeable feature of the city skyline and is just daring you to ride.

Singapore Skyline | Getty Images
Singapore Skyline | Getty Images

 

COTTON CANDY

Light, fluffy and oh-so-sweet, cotton candy is perhaps the chief staple of the carnival diet. Ironically enough, the cotton candy we know and love today was invented by a dentist, presumably to drum up more business.

Girls eat large swirls of cotton candy | National Geographic/Getty Images
Girls eat large swirls of cotton candy | National Geographic/Getty Images

Support your local D.D.S.

Tooth wrangler William Morrison and confectioner John C. Wharton invented a machine-spun “candy floss” in 1897. The two introduced the world to the treat at the 1904 World’s Fair, but another dentist, Joseph Lascaux, invented a more efficient machine in 1921 and patented the name “cotton candy”. I can only assume Lascaux didn’t want to be quite so obvious with the whole “get ‘em in the chair” conspiracy.

Healthcare and Wellness - Dental floss | De Agostini/Getty Images
Healthcare and Wellness - Dental floss | De Agostini/Getty Images

Be sure to get the back teeth , too! Heh heh heh…

Today’s cotton candy is mostly made up of air. Granulated sugar is heated until it melts and then forced through small holes in the cotton candy machine by centrifugal force. The connectionist then twirls a stick or cone around to catch the fluffy strands and your nutritious snack is served!

Girl waits for a serving of cotton candy - Getty Images
Girl waits for a serving of cotton candy - Getty Images

Now with Vitamin Hyper!

THE FISHBOWL GAME

I’m not sure that this game has an official name, but we’ve all driven ourselves crazy playing at some point.

Rob Mattingley/Getty Images
Rob Mattingley/Getty Images

Gah! The bouncing and the clinking and the RAAAAAGE!

The object of this game is to toss a Ping-Pong or other small ball into a bowl or cup for a prize. This simple premise results in more heartache and frustration than anything else, but that’s really what makes it fun. Once you’ve started playing, you HAVE to beat it. There’s no walking away. There’s no, “Well get ‘em next time”. No; you shell out more cash because that giant Tweety Bird plush is so obviously mocking you.

Tweety Bird plush | Amazon.com
Tweety Bird plush | Amazon.com

I t’ought I t’aw a sore loser!

I can’t think of any other game that can solicit such varied and strong emotions from across the spectrum. There’s the initial cockiness, followed by the mild embarrassment of your first try, moving into the frustration and rage fifty dollars later and ultimately the pure elation at having FINALLY put that smug ball in its place.

 

Jon Schulte/Getty Images
Jon Schulte/Getty Images

So worth it!

The game’s origins are lost to history, but I like to think that bored carnival workers invented it to mess with the customers. Beautiful!

Don't forget to tune in here on Monday morning for a big announcement regarding the festival's music lineup!

I hope you and your family will join us for the 2013 Temple Bloomin’ Festival beginning Friday, May 10. I’ll see you on the Ferris wheel!