Kittson County Fair Board secures carnival for 2023
By Anna Jauhola
The Kittson County Fair midway will once again be lit up with a traditional carnival this summer.
Fair board members recently booked Family Fun Shows, a family-owned carnival based in Mankato, Minn., during the Minnesota Federation of County Fairs convention in Minneapolis. President Taylor Lindegard signed the contract with Greg and Gail Hughes as Vice President Noel Peterson beamed with excitement and pride.
“It was a big relief,” Lindegard said. “I know everybody’s wanted it, and we’ve tried and tried. But we got it and we just want everyone to show up. Come support the fair.”
To secure a carnival, the board was willing to work with the company’s schedule so this year’s fair is set for July 26-30. Because of the later date, Peterson came up with the theme, “Bash before the Thrash.”
The last time a carnival made an appearance at the Kittson County Fair was in 2018. In that year and years before it, there were roadblocks and difficulties – the cost, weather, rides not showing up and others. Since then, the fairgrounds have looked different with interactive inflatables in 2019, 2021 and 2022. Of course, there was no fair in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Despite these issues, the fair board has continued working toward the public’s overwhelming request to bring back a carnival.
“There’s a shortage of carnivals,” Lindegard said. “And a shortage of carnivals that will come up to us. We’re so far removed. So when we went to convention this year, that was our goal to find a carnival.”
Family Fun Shows has guaranteed 10 rides, plus food trucks and six to eight games to line the midway. The company’s ticketing for rides will look a little different than in years past.
Only Thursday, July 26 will allow for unlimited rides with a wristband from 6 to 10 p.m. Otherwise, the carnival will sell tickets for rides Friday through Sunday. Each ride is one ticket. Advance ticket sales will be available at area businesses, Lindegard said, with value packs of 7 tickets for $20 and 20 tickets for $50.
“They said a lot of carnivals are going away from wristbands and just using tickets,” Lindegard said. “If we’re going to make it work, we have to do whatever works for them. And we have a great community to do that.”
She added the fair finances are in good standing right now, but they don’t want to be in a deficit. To offset the $50,000 price tag of securing Family Fun Shows, the board has started a Carnival Partnership Program. People, businesses and organizations can sponsor the fair through different levels. A Grand Champion partner, for example, gives $5,000 or more, which gains the donor additional signage on the fairgrounds, a single vendor booth space, two grandstand passes for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and four strips of 10 ride tickets for the midway.
The Reserve Champion status is $2,500 or more; a Blue Ribbon partner pays $1,000 or more; Red Ribbon partner pays $500 or more; and a White Ribbon partner pays $100 or more.
“And these perks can be changed,” Lindegard said. “Like, if someone doesn’t want a booth, we can make a different arrangement.”
Anyone interested in being a part of the Carnival Partnership Program can contact any fair board member, or Lindegard directly at 701-270-1785.
Although these changes will be different, Lindegard said she is optimistic the 2023 fair will be a great event.
Kittson County Fair Board Members