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Carnival will be back during 2010 fair

Thrill seekers can get strapped into the Sizzler and ride down a Magic Carpet slide when the carnival returns to the midway at the 2010 Wadena County Fair.

The carnival has been absent from the fair for the past two years. Inflatables provided fun for the younger children, but the older kids were left without a ride.

"Most of the community feels a fair isn't the fair without the carnival," Ag Society President Sheldon Monson said.

Minnesota Magic Midway will bring about 16 rides, half of which will appeal to younger kids and half to older kids, said Barb Butler, an Ag Society board member. This is the same carnival the Crow Wing County Fair has, only smaller.

There will also be three food vendors and at least eight game concessions, Monson said.

Monson has known the owner of the carnival for 10 or 12 years, he said. He puts on a good show. Monson gets around to all the county fairs because of his work with the Department of Labor and Industry where he supervises electric inspectors in north central Minnesota, he said.

The Ag Society signed a one-year contract with the carnival for $15,000, Monson said. They will give the carnival owner their first $5,000 payment at the Minnesota Federation of County Fair's meeting in January.

The Ag society requested and received an early disbursement of $5,000 from their 2010 county allocation so they would have it available in January. County commissioners have offered invaluable support, Monson said. The county has proposed allocating $28,000 to the Ag Society in 2010 for the fair and maintenance of the fairground buildings.

When the Ag Society makes the $5,000 payment they will get $15,000 advanced sale tickets, Monson said. After the January MFCF meeting the Ag Society will begin making the tickets available, he said. They're hoping local businesses will buy tickets and use them in promotions. The Ag Society is still brainstorming ways to market $15,000 worth of tickets before fair time, Monson said.

"I think it's doable," he said.

They think they have a pretty good deal, Butler said, but it's still expensive.

"We're excited and we're hoping the community will rally around and buy tickets," she said.

Monson said there are more and more carnivals that go out of business each year. Some of the reasons include the decline of some county fairs and the rise in expenses for the carnivals, he said.

Minnesota Magic Midway has been in business for more than 20 years, he said.

The 2010 fair will take place July 29-31. A "sneak peek" of the carnival will offer reduced prices for rides during a limited opening on July 28, Monson said. Those rides will not have advanced tickets.

Monson has been involved with the Wadena County Ag Society for just over a year, he said. He was elected president this fall.

The Ag Society has nine board members and around 50 paid members, Butler said. They are all volunteers.