Lifestyle

Whidbey Island Area Fair changes carnival provider

The Whidbey Island Area Fair will have a new carnival provider this year.

The fair board has hired Davis Amusement Cascadia rides to replace Paradise Amusements after years of complaints about subpar service, according to Sandey Brandon, treasurer and fair administrator.

Attendees had expressed displeasure with the rides and ticket value, and although a formal warning was issued last year, the 2013 fair did not improve. Brandon said there were incidents of inoperative rides and a lack of ticket value for purchasers who “bought a wristband and had no rides to ride.”

For example, she said there were no rides available for teens to ride at last year’s carnival until Saturday afternoon due to malfunctioning equipment.

“[Fairgoers] were very unhappy; we had a lot of Facebook commentary,” she said.

According to Brandon, last year was the “most disappointing year that we had with [Paradise].”

Paradise Amusements could not be reached for comment by press time.

This year, the fair is employing a new carnival provider in hopes of reining in more attendees and increasing the fun factor for carnival-goers of all ages.

Featured rides include the traditional favorite Ferris Wheel, the Typhoon, Sizzler and Zipper among others such as a roller coaster and mirror maze.

This year’s fair dates were changed in part due to the change in provider. Davis Amusement Cascadia’s carnival equipment is used at the Lynden Fair during the former Whidbey Island Area Fair dates. Oak Harbor’s Holland Happening and 4th of July carnival also use Davis Amusement Cascadia rides. Brandon said she and other fair board members ensured the change in dates was something community members and probably fairgoers agreed to, noting that “all players [were] on the same team” in the decision-making process.

Brandon said this year will prove to be a “much better value to fairgoers.” While last year’s fairgoers paid $25 for a wristband that was good for five hours, or $35 to ride for 10 hours, this year’s attendees will pay $24 for a wrist band that affords them the opportunity to ride from noon until half an hour after the fair closes.

 

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