Britney Spear-Ribs rounds the bend with the rest of the porkers, their little pink curlicueÂ tails bopping down the sun-baked racetrack with all the fury of a team of Wilburs.Â
But it is she who inches a snout ahead to claimÂ victory, she who has earned the shrieks and “woos” of the crowd. HerÂ real prize: first dibs at the food that sits at theÂ finish line. Â
Ms. Spear-RibsÂ is part of the troupe known as Rosaire’s Royal Racers, a porcine attraction that has been a fixture of State Fair Meadowlands for 27 years. The fair, which spans 17 days, opened its gates for the season Friday night.Â
The swift swine areÂ as much a part of the East Rutherford fair as thick, eye-stinging meat smoke, and paper plates coated in fried dough greaseÂ andÂ white driftsÂ of powdered sugar. PlusÂ MetLife Stadium itself, the fixed backdrop to all these signs of carnival-happy summer.
Surrounded by highways, this New Jersey fair is not your old-fashioned country fair.
Sure, it has animals, butÂ this jaunt isÂ less about agriculture thanÂ shake-you-up rides like the churning, melodic “Musik-Express” and “The Zipper,” which is like a reallyÂ twisted Ferris wheel. And because you’ll need something that can stick to your ribs, there are alwaysÂ variousÂ feats of the deep-fryer â€” not just Oreos, either. There’s deep-fried pecan pie, Twinkies, grilled cheese, Snickers and cream cheese … with larva.
“Tiny Tina â€” she’s the world’s smallest woman!” announces a voice in a loudspeaker, as throwback carnival scenes mingle with teens carrying selfie sticks. (On June 27, tick another box for vintage fair fare as Cousin Brucie brings doo-wop and sounds from the ’60s back for his third Palisades Park Reunion show.)
MORE: 30 N.J. summer fairs bring fast rides, farm animals and fried food
“AIIIIIICY cold fresh-squeezed lemonade!” another voice on loop reminds visitors, at The Big Squeeze lemonade stand. “There’s no reason to be thirsty today!”
Of course, as the June heat cooksÂ the pavement, the sales pitch is working.
Over at the bumper cars, which are not called bumper cars, kids scrunch up their faces trying to maneuver their electricÂ vehicles â€” some to no avail.Â
“Little man, press the pedal with your right foot!” aÂ ride operator shouts at one young driver.
By the time he figures out what to do, the lesson in hitting things will be done and gone.