Local News

Carnival gets a wet welcome on its first day

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It’s been 30 years since the Chugiak-based Golden Wheel Amusements traveling fair has come to Ketchikan. And the first day the fair opened following that three-decade absence, it rained more than 3 inches.

Fair-goers huddled under canopies, decked out in rain gear as the skies dumped a typical Ketchikan downpour. Also typical for Ketchikan is this attitude:

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A group of wet but happy boys take full advantage of fair food.

“Forty-nine and pouring rain doesn’t dampen our fun here in Alaska,” said Stephen Bradford.

He was chaperoning a small herd of kids. All of them, including Bradford, were completely soaked but smiling wide.

“I’m delighted that it came to town,” Bradford said.

When asked about the weather, he cheerfully admitted that “It could be better.”

Some of the fair employees, while toughing it out, aren’t used to Southeast weather. One was huddled inside a small tent, hugging a space heater.

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A wet family buys tickets for carnival rides.

She says it’s been pretty slow so far, and “Just been hanging out in the tent, and painted a few faces here and there.”

Outside her tent, though, hardy fairgoers played games, stuffed cotton candy into their mouths and even rode some of the gut-churning rides that the carnival offers. All in the pouring rain.

Ketchikan is the last stop on the carnival’s Southeast tour. It set up shop in Juneau and Sitka before coming to Alaska’s First City.

The weather forecast does call for significantly less rain through the weekend. The carnival opens at noon each day. Friday and Saturday, it’s open until 11 p.m. It’s last day is Sunday, when it closes at 6 p.m.

Golden Wheel Amusements’ next stop is Kenai, where it opens May 31.

Fair attendees cluster under awnings to keep out of the rain Thursday.

Fair attendees cluster under awnings to keep out of the rain Thursday.

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