Carnival’s back; events added in Manson

MANSON – The carnival is coming back.

Manson Greater Crater Days organizers want the annual town celebration to be much bigger than in recent years, and they’ve brought in the carnival rides from Smith Amusements to help.

“We haven’t had that,” said Kim Quade, member of the Manson Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Crater Days committee. “Not since we were kids, when we used to have the (county) fair.”

The carnival rides, and a number of other new activities, made the group decide to hold most events at the fairgrounds this year, instead of blocking off Main Street.

Parking will be at the football field, with a freewill donation shuttle taking people to the attractions.

Following Saturday’s parade, the Good Samaritan Center will host a car show for the first time. The Lion’s Club will have “Big Toys for Kids,” where families can pose on a fire truck or ambulance for photos. There will be kids games for young and old, and even a football bowling, or “fowling,” tournament.

“It’s regulation; it’s actually a sport,” Quade said. “We’ve got platforms built and bowling pins.”

There will also be a spelling bee in the fairground’s little red schoolhouse.

“That will be administered by Norma Hoag, who taught in the little red schoolhouse years ago,” said Quade. “We’re trying to get some of her students there.”

Also new will be bathtub races. Manson native Justin Widlund, bought the tub racers in Hubbard, where he previously worked.

“They have a motorcycle front and the back wheels from a 1980s econocar, and the rest of it is just welding,” Widlund said.

The tubs will be filled with water, he said, and teams of four will race, with one driver and three behind pushing.

“We hope to get some businesses pairing up,” said Widlund. To make it more interesting, water balloons will be sold for the crowd to throw at racers.

Pre-registration is nice, he said, but teams will be accepted on the day of the race.

Friday night’s truck pull is also growing, said Todd Partlow. The Midwest Pullers Association will bring Pro Modified 4×4 and Super Modified 4×4 classes.

“I’m hoping the super modifieds will bring in more people,” he said.

The Midwest Pullers are “a really good group,” Partlow said. “It’s affordable for these local communities that can’t afford to have the big boys come in anymore at upwards of $40,000.”

The Saturday night street dance will feature the local Jay Clyde Band, and blues-based rock guitarist Corey Stevens.

Partlow said holding most things at the fairgrounds will lend a more casual air to the celebration.

“I think it will work better at the fairgrounds because you’re not blocking the street,” he said. “You have a lot more leisurely atmosphere compared to ‘Whatever time to whatever time on Main Street, and that’s all you have.'”

Partlow arranges the dance and truck pull, while the Chamber arranges the activities and carnival.

“Everybody’s taking a part and just doing it. You can do it better that way than when you try to spread yourself across everything,” he said. “If one person or one committee tries to do it it’s just overwhelming, and you burn yourself out.”

The new Chamber president, Kelli Girard, said the whole group this year that wants to make things bigger.

“We just decided it’s time. We heard from people that they wanted more kid stuff, and it needed to be more exciting and more fun for everybody,” Girard said. “Back to the way we used to have it a long time ago, when we were little. To make it so our kids can have the memories we did.”

It’s been more work this year, Quade said, but “we’ve had a lot more help this year than we’ve ever had before. We’ve got, I guess you’d call it new blood.”