Hemet thrill seekers rise to new heights

The 2017 Hemet Valley Fair provided fun and games at affordable prices

Photo by Corey Evan/The Valley Chronicle
The “Century Wheel” was high enough to cause vertigo for some at the Hemet Valley Fair.

■ By Corey Evan / Reporter

The economy has been rough on Hemet and San Jacinto over the past decade, but people still want to have fun every now and again. And with a median income of just $42,200 between them (vs. $64,500 statewide), we want value for what little disposable income we do have. The Hemet Valley Fair tackled that challenge last weekend.
While the former Kmart parking lot once again played host to the fair, some changes included a fresh assortment of carnival games thanks to a new game provider, which helped to provide a proper “fair” feel. New rides also came to this year’s fair, including a roller coaster called The Orient Express, a yo-yo ride that rises 90 feet above ground named Vertigo, and a much-needed fair-time favorite… a Ferris wheel!
For meal time, burgers, fries, tacos and nachos were abundant. And because every diet needs a little wiggle room, traditional carnival treats such as funnel cakes, popcorn, pretzels, and caramel-covered apples were within easy reach.
For fair operator Dale Razer, value for money remains at the heart of the fair: “Can’t beat $12 to get in, and the rides are free! They can ride as many times as they want. They just get off the ride, get back in line if they want to go again.”
Compare that against what the San Jacinto Valley’s 129,000 residents could drive more than an hour to go to: At the 2016 Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona, admission alone started at $12, and an unlimited ride wristband cost an extra $50. Coupled with fuel costs, the value-for-money that the Hemet fair brings each year suddenly becomes irresistible. And with an ongoing shortage of local entertainment options, it’s a welcome arrival when it comes to town.

Photo by Corey Evan/The Valley Chronicle
The “Century Wheel” was high enough to cause vertigo for some at the Hemet Valley Fair.

Overall, locals seemed to be largely satisfied if not totally thrilled with the punch the fair packed into a $12 admission. Although Razer did not have official data available, he says attendance was up over last year. Friday night alone, he says more than 500 people were still there at closing time! “We’re doing better on this side than we did on Florida Avenue (at the now-Burlington shopping center).”
The fair was put together by Razer’s razor sharp team at Cardinal Midway in Orange, so it’s no small wonder how they were able to provide value to valley thrill-seekers.
Now that the 2017 Hemet Valley Fair has rolled out of town, locals can hardly wait for the 2018 fair to roll in. Until then, it’s back to school and back to work.

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