Ninjas have invaded the 2019 Superior Plumbing North Georgia State Fair.
One of the four new main attractions at this year’s fair, Ninja Experience features a team of performers jumping, flipping and clambering over an obstacle course live on the fairground.
Above the stage are a series of hanging obstacles, ropes, bars and other contraptions the competitors must climb across without touching the ground.
As the competitors partake in their high-flying stunts, announcer Nick Walters narrates the action, throwing in a few jokes every now and then. At the end of each show, the audience decides on the winner by applause.
Walters said it’s not easy putting together a live show similar to the ninja sports popular on TV, but audiences really enjoy the production.
“It takes a lot of trial and error, trying new obstacles and seeing that, OK, you had an idea and it didn’t work and then trying it again, in a different way, different aspects to make it look good as well as be safe.”
Walters said the show evolved from a previous version where martial artists broke boards and bricks with karate chops. This is the third year the Ninja Experience has been touring in its current form and its first at the North Georgia State Fair.
The sport of ninja, as it is known, has exploded in recent years with shows like “American Ninja Warrior,” in which athletes compete to finish punishing obstacle courses that put their strength and endurance to the test.
Ninja gyms have sprung up across the country to help people learn the sport. One local gym, Ninja Quest Fitness on Canton Road in north Cobb, hosted the 2018 world finals of the National Ninja League.
One ninja, Zak Self of Beverly Hills, said kids who are interested in the sport should find a place like that to learn the ropes.
“Practice, practice, practice,” he said. “Find a local gym, somewhere that teaches fundamentals, cheerleading, gymnastics, parkour, anything like that in a nice, safe environment when you’re first learning.”
Another ninja, Gabriel Payne of southwest Atlanta, said the sport is all about learning to overcome obstacles.
“Make sure you find a jungle gym and just swing on the bars as much as possible, get your hands and arms strong, and above all else, if you ever face a problem, don’t give up,” he said. “Try and push through, you can always make it.”
The Ninja Experience will perform at the fair weekdays at 5, 7 and 9:30 p.m. and weekends at 2, 5, 8 and 10 p.m. After the fair leaves town, their next stop is the Georgia National Fair in Perry.
Sunday at the fair is the Fish 104.7 Family and Kids day, where children 12 and under get free admission all day and adults can get $1 off their admission price with a church bulletin.
In addition, students ride free from 12:30 to 2 p.m. with a special ticket that was distributed in schools.