I may not have lost my heart on the Ferris Wheel, but I nearly lost my lunch on the Puppy Roll.
On Friday evening, as I sat in awkward silence across from a guy who was more interested in spinning the brightly coloured puppy-shaped car off its axis than engaging in conversation, I closed my eyes and tried not to watch the world whip by to avoid motion sickness.
The two minutes spent with the gentleman - who I may have given a less-than-flattering nickname in my head - provided ample time to reflect on how I came to be in this situation.
My first experience at the Prince George Exhibition happened to coincide with both the fair's 100th anniversary and the introduction of a brand new promotion by radio station 101.3 The River - Ferris Wheel Speed Dating.
I don't often begrudge the fact that I'm the newsroom's youngest and most-unattached occupant, but this time I wished for a modicum of competition for what all my married (or just as well) co-workers deemed such a plum assignment.
But, never one to back down from a challenge - and a potentially funny anecdote - I gamely filled out the application for the event that would have me taking spins around a Ferris Wheel with 10 strange men.
I only really had one major issue with the idea and that's my pretty intense dislike of Ferris Wheels. I'm not typically scared of heights and I love roller coasters, but the last time I set foot in the carnival staple was probably about 20 years ago. While it wasn't a particularly traumatizing experience, it wasn't one I was eager to repeat.
So, imagine my elation when I arrived at the fairgrounds prior to the event's 6 p.m. start time only to find out the Ferris Wheel was in less-than-working order. On the downside, cue the "puppy love" puns (gag me) and the consecutive rides on the kiddie-version of the Tilt-A-Whirl.
"Be open to the experience," one of my co-workers told me as I psyched myself up. "Be receptive." She received one of my trademark, less-than-receptive glares.
But much like when I jumped into Ness Lake in February, I held my nose and plunged into the experience feet first - and found I was in good company. My fellow daters were there for a variety of reasons ranging from blackmail, being dared by friends, the adventure of trying something new and wanting to jump back into the dating pool.
There was no cattiness among the girls - we were comrades instead of competition - and the guys were mostly willing to carry on conversation that wasn't confined to the fiberglass puppy's interior. The general good spirit meant I was less inclined to attempt to sabotage my experience with intentionally cheesy pick-up lines or blatant social awkwardness.
The speed aspect of speed dating meant conversation was kept to a surface level - name, occupation, place of origin, etc. Try to be witty, appear interested, ferret out the information that would raise a red flag. The result was a circled Y or N next to the date's name on the scorecard hanging from our necks.
And although we were all a bit nauseous by the time the event wrapped up nearly two hours later, most were in good spirits and good sports about the whole thing and eagerly accepted the promised ride wristbands - wisely held until after all was over and done with.
"I peeked at a few people's cards and there definitely were a lot of 'yeses'," said Kharah Black, who facilitated the event for the Jim Pattinson Broadcast Group.
Black said her ultimate vision for the promotion was to see a real connection. "I wanted to see one couple get together - that's all I cared about," she said.
Those potential connections will be sorted out today, as Black combs through the cards and sends those who showed mutual interest each other's contact information.
So who knows? Maybe something other than these printed words will come out of my speed-dating experience. But if not, I'll chalk it up to another uniquely Prince George tale.