Watch: Inside the Wall of Death, a slice of Americana at LI FunFest


“We’re up there smiling. It’s a show. You have to smile the whole time.”

So says Ariell Flight, who’s in just her second year riding motorcycles within the Wall of Death, a featured attraction  at this year’s Long Island FunFest at the Suffolk County Community College Brentwood campus.

The old-school carnival attraction features a 30-foot diameter wooden cylindrical structure, inside which daredevil bikers perform tricks, fancy and acrobatic riding along a 14-foot-tall wall.  

According to Hobo Bill of the American Motor Drome Co., the company’s Wall of Death, once an American midway mainstay, is one of only three currently running full-time in the United States.

“We’re definitely scared doing it, but we’re not scared to do it. This is what we chose to do.” he told Greater Long Island. “The thrill and adrenaline you get from it, you cannot top it.”

JR Sparks, just 22 years old, is one of the three riders on this Long Island visit.

Sparks says riding the Wall of Death is a dream come true. 

“I’ve been seen the show since I was a kid and I’ve always dreamt about being a Wall of Death rider,” he said.

The only injury he’s suffered, he said, was when a woman dropped her cell phone from above, hitting Sparks in the face and cracking a tooth as he was performing.

He still ended the show with a smile, albeit with one less tooth, because he’s living his dream. One ride at a time.

Long Island FunFest runs through June 23.

— photos and video by Andrew Theodorakis of Yellow House Images.

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