Carnival returns to the fair, parade route to change

It?s been four years since Marion County fairgoers were treated to a carnival, and up until last week, it appeared the dry spell might have continued again this year.

But because of logistics and complications in another community, Pride Amusements from Galena will be setting up in Hillsboro July 28 through July 31.

?This was not planned,? said Marion County Fair Manager Stephanie Richmond. ?(The carnival) just miraculously happened.?

Carnival owners Ed and Betty Bulingame, contacted Richmond and asked if the county was still looking for a carnival.

Richmond said the carnival was a lucky break for Marion County.

?It was an unfortunate situation for another community, but a fortunate one for us,? she said.

For the Bulingames, the carnival stopping in Hillsboro just made sense because they will be playing in Abilene the first weekend of August.

The plans for setting up the rides will be the same as in 2007 when they were put in the parking lot north of Memorial Field.

?With the limited space now available, that really is the only viable option,? Richmond said.

?Depending on how much space they?ll need, it may overlap to the old Dariette parking area as well.?

Fair board members know parking will be tight this year as a result of the carnival, but they also hope it will be an enjoyable addition to this year?s activities.

?This could very well be the last time any of us see (a carnival) in Hillsboro,? Richmond said.

?We really need everyone to come out and support the fair and the carnival.?

In talking with the carnival owners Monday, Ed Bulingame said he will be splitting the rides this week.

?At this time he isn?t sure what will be sent our way, but there should be 10 to 12 rides and some games,? she said.

Chuck McLinden, president of the Marion County Fair Board, also wanted to encourage people to attend this year?s event.

?If the community does not support this carnival, the opportunity will never present itself again,? he said, ?due to the word spreading throughout the carnival business community that it is not worth their while to play at our fair.?

Other board members were also pleased a carnival will be here.

?After fielding complaints about the lack of a carnival for the last two years,? Richmond said, ?the MCFA is ecstatic about this opportunity.?

Richmond and board members are hoping fairgoers will show enough support to keep amusement companies coming back.

?This is our chance to show the carnival industry that our community is prepared to make the financial commitment it will take to bring them back year after year,? she said.

Parade route changes

The Ash Street project has resulted in changes to this year?s parade route.

According to fair officials, the parade route will be from East Grand, travel west to Elm; to Floral Drive and then to the fairgrounds.

?This is the route the parade used to take prior to being changed to running down Main Street,? Richmond said.

Meeting locations for the parade entrants include:

Color Guard, police, city and county officials, 100 South Jefferson; politicians, Grand Avenue; bands, Hillsboro High School; antiques and novelty: Grand; demolition cars, east parking lot; machinery dealers, 100 block of North Jefferson; 4-H and commercial floats, Grand; commercial equipment and floats, Grand, and horses and livestock, 100 N. Madison.

For more information, call the MCFA at 620-381-0109.

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