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By WENDY HUNDLEY / The Dallas Morning News

Picture-perfect weather played a key role in pushing the State Fair of Texas into the record books this year. While fair officials didn’t have attendance figures, they said fairgoers spent a record $37 million on food and amusement rides.

That tops the previous record of $29.2 million spent in 2007 on midway attractions, cotton candy, corny dogs, fried foods, and other Fair Park confections that prompted fair patrons to loosen their wallets.

The fair, which started Sept. 24, ended Sunday when temperatures reached a high of 81 degrees.

“We’ve just had incredibly beautiful weather,” said Sue Gooding, a fair spokeswoman. “We had great exhibits, and all the interest in the food was just huge.

“We’ve had worldwide interest in our Big Tex Choice Awards held every Labor Day.”

Food sales, pushed by the new Texas Fried Frito Pie and other deep-fried temptations, produced a single-day sales record of $3.6 million on Oct. 2.

A single-day record was also set on Columbus Day, Oct. 11, when thrill-seekers spent $1 million on midway rides.

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Source: Seth Putnam – The Dispatch

The carnival is gone almost before you know it was here. Every year, it rolls into town at the beginning of the week like a band of gypsies in the night. By the next evening, the rides and games are set up, and the flashing neon lights beckon. As you get closer, the pop music acts as a siren’s song, an audio preview of the prizes, food and fun. The carnival always means one of two things: Summer is finally here, or it’s on its way out.

This summer’s end is being heralded by Mississippi Delta Shows’ back-to-school carnival, which is in full force behind Leigh Mall through Saturday. On Thursday, however, fair-goes overcame a few early evening sprinkles to enjoy the atmosphere.

“That was awesome!” said Daniel Skelton, 7, as he got off the Octopus, an eight-armed twirling ride. “The spinning took my stomach away!”

Daniel and his sisters, Daphne, 8, and Gabby, 11, are from North Carolina and were visiting their father, Rob Skelton, who works as an instructor pilot at Columbus Air Force Base.

“It’s a nice end to the summer before school starts for them,” Skelton said. “We’re giving Mom a break.”

One of the main attractions at any fun-fair is the carousel, which Steve Young calls the “key to the midway.”

“If you go to a carnival, and there’s no carousel, it’s not a real carnival,” he said.

A carny’s life

Young, 30, joined the show four months ago as a way to get out of his hometown, Sikeston, Mo.

“I’m from the Show Me State,” he said. “Show me the way out.”

After a few weeks working the carousel, Young’s coworkers started calling him Pony Boy.

“It stuck with me ever since,” Pony boy said.

When you’re a carnival worker, real names aren’t that important. There’s Pappy, Gypsy, Red Dog, Stony and about five Michaels: Big M, Big Mike, Mikey, Mike Mike and Snowball. Then there are those who haven’t been around long enough to be known by anything other than, “Hey, you.”

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Source: Shaun Hittle – LJWorld.Com (*Click link for Slide show and Commentary*)

His life is a carnival; it pretty much always has been.

And when you ask the work crew to see the man in charge of all the rides at the Douglas County Fair, they direct you to Ricky Moore, the man in the Hawaiian shirt.

Every year, Moore and his crew of about 70 carnival workers roll into Lawrence. They’re always coming from a fair, and heading to another one, after a five-day stint in Douglas County.

When Moore, 53, says he operates a “family business,” he’s backed by a mountain of evidence. The carnival life stretches across six generations of the Moore family. His grandfather started the business — Moore’s Greater Show — in 1930, handed it down to his son, who in turn handed it Moore.

It’s a cycle that was all but guaranteed to continue after Moore met his wife, Janie.

“I made her a carnival woman,” he said. The couple then proceeded to create yet another Moore carnival family, which today includes two sons, a daughter, grandchildren and cousins.

All told, “there’s about 20 Moores out there,” Ricky said. At nearly any time, and at any spot at the Douglas County Fair, a Moore family member is in sight, operating a game booth, making funnel cakes, fixing a ride or taking tickets.

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Source:Connie Whiteley – The Southwest Times

The Seward County 5-State Fair is in full swing today. The carnival started Tuesday evening and runs through Sunday.

The Pride of Texas Carnival has been part of the 5-State Fair since 1971. The carnival opens at 6 p.m. and runs through 11 p.m. today, Thursday and Sunday. The carnival will be open until midnight on Friday and Saturday.

The carnival has 21 rides, including the zipper and the ferris wheel. Setting up the carnival rides usually takes two days, ride supervisor and safety coordinator Tim Harris said. This year however, the carnival pushed to set up in a day and half. The carnival rides were at Garden City through Sunday night then had a quick turnaround for Tuesday’s local opening, Harris said.

Ride admissions are paid through $1 tickets or carnival goers may buy a $20 bracelet for an unlimited number of rides. Most rides require more than one ticket.

Pride of Texas owner Doug Barton feels the bracelets are a better deal than the tickets. On average the cost for a person to ride all rides one time is around $65.
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