By Darragh Doiron
The Port Arthur News
Lori Johnson of Gonzales, LA accepts a hearty bowl filled with red beans, rice, and cornbread from Texas Pecan Festival co-chairman Karen Theis as the Groves Chamber of Commerce sponsored meal for the Wagner’s Carnival workers gets underway Wednesday evening at Lion’s Park.
MIKE TOBIAS / The Port Arthur News
GROVES — Carnival worker Ron Wimberly caught some “foolishness” on the “Judge Judy Show” while he stirred up a Betty Crocker Skillet meal on Wednesday. He’d set up the Tubs of Fun booth in which Texas Pecan Festival players can win this year’s most popular prize, a giant rottweiler toy. He didn’t realize it was the day carnies get fed in Groves.
The Groves Chamber of Commerce & Tourists Bureau keeps an annual date to serve a hot meal to the Wagner’s Family Carnival workers as they set up at Lions Park. The carnival will open at 5 p.m. Thursday and guests can ride to their heart’s content through Sunday.
Faster than you could loop de loop, Wimberly got in line for beans, rice and cornbread that Karen Theis, festival co-chair, served up from her business, The Courtyard Cafe.
“Hurricane or no hurricane, we’re gonna feed you,” Theis told tired workers in line. For years, both chamber representatives and carnival workers have enjoyed the exchange, she said.“They’re so appreciative,” Theis said.
The festival family, based in Aransas Pass, worked an extra gig at a mall in Stephenville when they heard they had to reschedule their September date in Groves because of Hurricane Ike. They’re used to it, after Rita.
The Mad Hatter spinning ride is a new Wagner attraction this season.
Brad Corley, festival co-chair, said the festival is the place to get your food-on-a-stick fix.
“It’s time for people to take a break,” he said, referring to all the after-Ike work going on in the region.
He invited everyone out to Lions Park to tell their war stories.
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