MARIETTA — The 87th annual North Georgia State Fair returned to Jim R. Miller Park on Thursday afternoon — a staple for Cobb County residents — and tradition for many families.

Robyn and David Tackas have been coming to the fair for over 40 years. Their fondest memories are from when they used to bring their kids and now their grandchildren are joining in on the fun. Robyn Tackas, a Marietta native, smiled as she spoke about when the fair used to be on Powder Springs Street.

“This is something I have always done since I was a little girl. It’s surreal to think that now we are coming with our grandkids. They look forward to cotton candy, the little games and riding the ponies.”

Food, doughnuts and Italian sausage are what Bama Funderburk said brought her family out to the fair three years ago and they have been coming every year since. However, this time around they are looking forward to something a bit different.

“We are really excited because this year we are hoping our son is tall enough to ride some more rides. He really wants to get on the swings that go all the way up and we’re hoping he can finally do so today.”

The Zoogvogel is a ride that goes up to a staggering 60 feet in the air and swings. It also has a height requirement of 48 inches. And while Funderburk’s son was dreaming of getting on — there were others who did not.

Romaris Sumlin, 16, recalled the time when he blacked out on a ride last year because he was so scared. He said he was on the Pirate ride when he passed out and doesn’t remember a thing that happened. However, he said that didn’t stop him from coming out to the fair a second time.

“I don’t usually go to amusement parks because I have an irrational fear of heights but I come out here to have a good time with my friends,” said Sumlin. “Today I’m with my family but Saturday I’ll be coming back with my friends so I’ll definitely be coming back twice.”

While Thursday was a tradition for most, there was one woman who had never experienced a state fair — Georgia style. Darlene Quiles is from Florida and is in Atlanta awaiting the arrival of her grandchild. Her daughter, Darmary Quiles, said she is due at any moment but that didn’t stop her from coming out to the fair.

“I am currently 39 weeks pregnant,” Darmary Quiles said. “I plan on giving birth by Sunday and I will definitely be back the following Sunday so that I can finally get on and enjoy the rides.”

The fun continues Friday for Senior Citizens and Heroes Day with free admission all day for seniors 55 and older, as well as active, Reserve, or retired military veterans, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and first responders. Valid identification is required.

Want to get on unlimited rides? The fair is doing a pay-one-price deal for $25 per person. Also, get ready to party because Friday will also be the 19th annual FISH Birthday Bash with a live performance by Jeremy Camp starting at 8 p.m.

Don’t forget to stay hydrated Friday because fairgoers can expect a sunny day with a high of 83 degrees. Also, be prepared to bring a light sweater because the temperature is expected to drop to as low as 63 degrees at night.

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