“We are scrambling like wild people trying to find a carnival to either replace it, or do bounce houses or something on that line,” said Roxane Kathrein, the volunteer fair coordinator, just one of many volunteers who works to put the Morrison County Fair together.
Crescent City Carnival is the same company that has brought amusement rides, food booths and games to the fair for the past five or six years, Kathrein said.
This year, however, with the change in the federal government’s attitude toward work visas, the company said it couldn’t find enough workers, Kathrein said.
“The carnival said with the change in visas, they were unable to get enough workers to fill all the fairs they had contracted out,” she said. “This carnival is huge and they usually split the rides between two fairs. Because the other fair makes 10 times as much money as we do, they had to choose to go that route, because obviously they have to make money.”
After last year’s fair ended, Crescent City Carnival had agreed to come back in 2017. The contract was actually signed in January at the fair convention, Kathrein said.
“This was out of our control,” she said. “We’re trying our hardest to get other rides or activities for the kids.”
While the carnival is a draw to the Morrison County Fair, Kathrein said everything else will go on as planned. All entertainment will continue, the nightly cash drawing, every animal barn will have more displays than ever, fireworks, the demolition derby and tuff truck competition will go on and food vendors will be on hand to offer fair favorites.
“Normally the carnival says vendors cannot sell those items (corn dogs, cheese curds), but we contacted those people who normally sell those and they will bring them,” Kathrein said. The 4-H Food Building will be open, where people can sit down and enjoy a meal, and the American Dairy Association will have its malt stand.
“It’s just the rides and maybe some of the food that won’t be there,” she said.
Kathrein said many people have contacted the Fair Board with ideas on how to fill the void.
“We’ve had the best community support,” Kathrein said. “It’s been the best that we have seen our community rally toward us in a long time — it’s been super stressful, but we’ve had some good support.”
The Fair Board has worked all year to update many of the buildings, the track for the demolition derby and all the bathrooms have been redone.
“We will still have tons and tons of stuff for people to enjoy,” Kathrein said. “The fair will go on.”