Greeley County Fair:
An invaluable asset to the local community
By Christy Hopkins
Greeley County’s home-owned carnival is an invaluable asset to the local community. Each year during the Greeley County Fair, children and adults gather there, eager to take a ride on the Ferris wheel, enjoy a few loops on the roller coaster, or try their hands at Plinko or the duck pond. While children run freely from one experience to another, adults gather over a hamburger or cotton candy, catching up with old friends and remembering the days when they, too, romped at the carnival without a care. Local community members operate the carnival’s eight rides and concession counter, keeping an eye out for the safety and security of every child.
In the 1970s, local individuals came together to create this community-owned carnival that would entertain their children in a safe, friendly, well-maintained environment during fair time. They grew the carnival ride by ride, using available resources and volunteer labor. Now, in 2010, area volunteers and devoted Amusement Association board members are working devotedly to keep that vision, and the carnival, alive and active well into the future.
Two years ago, when the Greeley County Fair Board secured the funds to construct a new 4-H Pavilion on the fair grounds, they gave the old pavilion structure, a large metal shed, to the Amusement Association for the carnival. The building was moved approximately 100 yards from its previous location and was set near the roller coaster, where one day it was scheduled to serve as a concession stand, eating area, and storage space for the carnival.
This fall the Amusement Association began working in earnest to begin renovations on their new building. Concrete was paid for “by the yard” by area businesses and private donors, and local contractors, mechanics, as well as Unified Greeley County crews and equipment, helped pour nearly sixty yards of concrete in the new space. While working on the concrete, Amusement Association board members decided to apply for the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Small Community Improvement Program (SCIP) grant after seeing the program assist with renovations on Tribune’s Star Theater.
Board members were notified in late January that their grant request had been awarded. Now, with assistance of a $59,265 SCIP grant, members of the Greeley County Amusement Association and the local community will embark on a mission to update the carnival. In addition to purchasing an additional ride, grant dollars (to be matched with nearly $40,000 of in-kind labor and donations) will support finishing the previous 4-H Pavilion, which will be used for a kitchen, restrooms, a prize room, and storage; redoing the electrical connections to the rides; repainting all structures and equipment, demolishing two structures on the carnival grounds, and more.
Renovations are slated to begin around March 1. Volunteers of all skill levels and abilities are welcome to help complete the various projects associated with updating the carnival and ensuring that it provides a safe, warm, welcoming, carefree environment for youth for years to come.
For more information on the project or how you can help, please contact Jim Myers at (620) 376-4140.
Greeley County Fair, Greeley County Fairgrounds, August 4-8, 2010.