Monday, July 20, 2009

Home-owned carnivals at county fairs

It's county fair time in Kansas -- a big week for rural Kansas. It's when pies and breads, cattle and sheep, quilts and fashions, and much more are studied and judged. It's a reunion week for families and friends and for those that share common bonds in the livestock barns or in the food booths. It's a rite of passage for some and just a great time for others.

Fourteen counties have gone a step further and have purchased, cleaned up, and re-tooled amusement rides. Then volunteers erect them and run them during fair week. Pictures below are of the early days of set-up for the Wallace County Fair. The seats aren't on the rides yet, that comes later. But when the rides come out of storage and start going up, it's the signal that it's almost fair time.

The fourteen counties with home-owned carnivals are Wichita, Decatur, Scott, Wallace, Norton, Logan, Sheridan, Ness, Rush, Thomas, Sherman, Lane, Cheyenne, and Greeley. Are there others? Kingman has just started "collecting" rides so their goal is also to have a home-owned carnival.

In Wichita County, tickets to all their home-owned rides are 25 cents and it's only one ticket per ride. Annually they sell about 110,000 tickets, bringing in $27,500. That means 110,000 riders! What a great value!

Go to a county fair and "Get Kansas!"

KE #2 Marci Penner


Unknown said...

I love county fairs! Kids and animals, corn dogs and funnel cakes - that's a recipe for good times. Wish there was a good place to find a list of them all online.

WenDee KE#36 said...

There is a place Frank! Here's the link:

Anonymous said...


Lane County also has a home-owned carnival. Of the eight counties in my legislative district, six of them (Wichita, Lane, Ness, RUsh, Wallace and Logan) have home-owned carnivals. Soe each summer when I make the rounds of the fair parades I get to experience plenty of these. The local folks always have a great deal of pride in their carnivals, and it is amazing to see whet they have developed.

--State Representative Don Hineman

Get Lyons said...

Cheyenne County also has a home owned carnival. My Mom is from St. Francis, where the fair is held. It was the only time when we kids had a chance to ride. Who can beat a nice looking ride held down by cement and ran by your uncle. Janel Cook