Wednesday, June 30, 1999

Workers labor to set up carnival, The Ann Arbor News

The Ann Arbor News
Workers labor to set up carnival
By Pamela Appea

Jaycee-sponsored event runs through Sunday in Ann Arbor’s Pioneer High School parking lot.

It takes 150 people to put together and run a carnival the size of the annual event sponsored by the Ann Arbor Jaycees at Pioneer High School.

The carnival opens today and runs through Sunday in the high school parking lot. Hours, carnival workers said, are 3-10 p.m. through Friday, then noon to midnight Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday.

The workers have been on the site since Monday, unloading more than five dozen trailers and converting the contents into 19 rides, assorted games and various food booths.

It’s like being on tour—every week you go somewhere different,” said John Marquette, a W.G. Wade Show manager.

On Tuesday, most vendors had set up and spent some of the afternoon moving from their trailer homes to outdoors.

Marquette, 51, a Michigan native employed in the carnival business since 1957, said families come to carnivals expecting a professional, yet customer-oriented affair.

That, said Marquette, is exactly what they will get this week at Pioneer High School.

“We try to bring safe family entertainment to people’s backyards,” he said.

In addition to the rides and games, Marquette said all the “traditional” carnival foods, including cotton candy, Polish and Italian sausages, and caramel apples will be sold.

The Ann Arbor Jaycees also will offer children face painting, chalk for sidewalk art, and juggling demonstrations.

Rides include a double-edge Ferris Wheel, a merry-go-round and bumper cars. Other rides include the “gravity defying” Zen Dar; “The Zipper,” a water ride; and children’s rides.

Ride safety, said Marquette, is an issue constantly on the minds of the staff. He noted that the carnival company does daily machine inspections.

Admission to the annual event is free, with tickets sold for rides.

Concessions manager Corky Jones said his priority is to make sure each patron leaves happy. The 35-year carnival veteran said the key to having fun at a carnival is not spending money “all in one place.”

“Not that we don’t want people to spend their money,” he said with a smile.

Photo caption: Ronald Wright, left, and a co-worker who didn’t give his name install one of the horses on the merry-go-round in preparation for the opening of the annual carnival sponsored by the Ann Arbor Jaycees at Pioneer High School. It opens today.

Originally Published Wednesday, June 30, 1999