Again this year the Elk Grove Western Festival, taking place the weekend of May 1, will feature a top line carnival.
Johnston Amusements is headquartered in Elk Grove, and is the oldest operating carnival company in California.
In addition to this year’s Elk Grove appearance, Johnston Amusements has just been signed to be the featured carnival at this year’s San Joaquin County Fair. The choice was based on the firm’s outstanding safety record.
Ken Johnston, who is also General Chairman of this year’s Western Festival, owns the firm.
“Some really outstanding rides will be featured at this year’s Western Festival Carnival,” said Johnston, “One of these is the historic Hammer, which is legendary.” Variations are also known by such names as Rock-O-Plane and Loop-O-Plane. The creator of the Hammer was Eyerly Aircraft Company in Oregon, which was has been purchased by Johnston Entertainment 10 years ago.
“We provide parts for over 4,000 rides for all over the world,” Johnston said. “The two main features of any carnival are the Ferris Wheel and Merry Go Round. We feature the most attractive traveling Ferris Wheel and Merry Go Rounds in the nation.”
He said other thrill rides include The Zipper, which consists of flipping cages.
“The Gravitron is an anti-gravity machine,” he added. “Then we also feature the Crazy Surf, which is like surfing on the ocean, going up and down and then dropping out from beneath you, just like a surf board.”
Also featured will be old time favorites like the Bumper Cars, plus cars and motorcycles for the little ones.
All the favorite games will be featured at this year’s Western Festival Carnival, such as shooting galleries and beanbag tossing.
Johnson said different schools this year will do their favorite games this year. This area will be called “The Kid Zone.” It will provide schools needed finances in these uncertain economic times. Kid’s Zone chairperson is Joyce Carter. Groups are still welcome to enter, she said.
“This is how the Western Festival got started,” Johnston said. “So again this year we will be able to help the schools.”
Swan Brothers Circus will also be a highlight again of this year’s Western Festival Carnival.
According to Parade Director Richard Bryant, this year’s parade will be the most entertaining in the Festival’s history. He said more entries are still welcome for this year’s parade.