Who doesn’t love to torment a taunting adversary? That’s the fun mindset that has made the dunk tank a carnival favorite for decades, dropping a person into a tub of water after a target is hit with a thrown ball. But now, thanks to the crazy masterminds from Two Bit Circus, that classic has a new, diabolical extreme.
Meet Flambé, the fireball dunk tank.
The project, made for Two Bit Circus‘ inaugural STEAM Carnival last year and seen at Maker Faire Kansas City this past weekend, puts a firesuit-wearing attendee inside a steel-and-plexiglass chamber containing fifteen propane-spewing burners. External participants line up to throw balls at a target on the left side of the booth, which is connected to a hinged mechanism that, when swung forward, allows the pressurized flaming gasses to burst into the booth on all sides and fully engulf the person inside. Two flame towers on either side of the chamber accompany the ensuing mushroom cloud with further blasts of fire into the sky.
The booth was one of the standouts at a Faire full of incredible exhibits and projects. And the most impressive part may have been the pitching skills of the attendees — everyone, including the very youngest of throwers, had no problem smacking the circular target and causing continuous balls of fire to billow over the Union Station parking lot. Those flames, by the way, are really hot, even from 40 or 50 feet away.
Despite its terrifying presence, the Two Bit Circus team ensured that the most safe procedures were adhered to in its construction and operation. Kenny, the builder of the project, is a licensed pyrotechnics specialist, working on television and movie projects in Hollywood. The Kansas City fire department was on hand to make sure that the set up and performance was done according to their guidelines (although I imagine this may not be the type of thing they see regularly). The flame retardant suit, from my few minutes in the booth, seemed to be more than capable for the environment it was subjected to.
In addition to Flambé, the Los Angeles-based Two Bit Circus had a great presence in Kansas City at the Faire. They brought a life-size foosball booth, drone obstacle course, and virtual group game called Kings. The group specializes in creating carnival-esque games and interactive exhibits laden with technology. From Kansas City, they’ll be headed to the Marin County Fair in California, then gearing up for their second STEAM carnival. Look for them, and the clouds of flames, soon.