They climb into their vehicles and attempt to smash into other machinery in what essentially amounts to legalized road rage.

Yet, it's exactly that sudden burst of energy that makes demolition derbies such as those held Thursday at the Carbon County Fair a favorite attraction of many.

Fairgoers packed the bleachers to watch the derbies, which consisted of four- and six-cylinder compact cars and full-size cars that battled it out in a fight to the finish.

The derby marked the first time back at the fair in five years for John Ritter, of Emmaus.

Ritter, 31, entered his 99 Cavalier into the compact car portion of the derby.

Since the age of 16, Ritter estimates he's participated in about 100 demolition derby contests.

However, Ritter noted the process that's involved to compete in demo derbies can prove to be a bit of challenge.

He said the first thing is to find a car. From there, the car must be stripped out, Ritter said.

Ritter, who began prepping his car for the derby last week, said it took him several nights after work to get his car ready for the event.

"It's just the adrenaline rush," Ritter said. "Where else can you go smash into people?

Aside from the derbies, the midways were packed as well, thanks to a variety of activities geared toward both children and adults.

Other events Thursday included a Livestock show; 4-H and Open Poultry; the chance to visit alpacas in the livestock show ring; performances by the Rehrig Brothers; children's games in the agricultural arena; Sandy, Andy and Friends Ventriloquist; a bicycle give-away in the Kids Zone; as well as pony rides, Farmer for a Day, and zip line all day.

Jaycie Krebs, 3, of Kunkletown, was among the many who took a pony ride thanks to Horses 4 Hope.

Her mother, Jennifer Krebs, said she and her daughter come to the fair each year.

"It's just a nice local event," Jennifer said. "She (Jaycie) loves the rides, the entertainment."

Just across the midway, siblings Katelyn, Hunter, and Gabriella Green, all of Kunkletown, stayed occupied as they sat inside a miniature red Radio Flyer wagon put together by Todd H. Dreisbach, of Walnutport.

"I quadrupled the size for children and adults to sit in it for free," Dreisbach said. "Seeing the smiles on everybody's face makes it totally worth it."

There were indeed plenty of smiles to go around, as attendance continued to climb all throughout the week, much to the delight of Bob Silliman, fair president.

"We're looking to break the (attendance) record this year," Silliman said. "We didn't get everybody out from the county; come on out, have a great time."

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