Rhody Carnival finds temporary home... again

Posted 7/17/19

The Rhody Festival Funtastic Carnival will be held at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds next year to test the public’s willingness to head 2.5 miles northwest of downtown, the Rhody Festival association announced.

While convenient, Memorial Field isn’t ideal. Carnival rides arrive on heavy trucks that damage playing surfaces and irrigation systems.

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Rhody Carnival finds temporary home... again

Posted

The Rhody Festival Funtastic Carnival will be held at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds next year to test the public’s willingness to head 2.5 miles northwest of downtown, the Rhody Festival association announced.

While convenient, Memorial Field isn’t ideal. Carnival rides arrive on heavy trucks that damage playing surfaces and irrigation systems.

While it is not yet a permanent location for the carnival, the Jefferson County Fairgrounds and the Rhody Festival association will be partnering in the coming year to see if the fairgrounds is a good alternative to Memorial Field.

“We’ve worked out an agreement that it is going to be at the fairgrounds at least for next year,” said Sue McIntire, manager of the fairgrounds and treasurer on the fair board. “We’ll see how it goes.”

This past year was the last time that the carnival was allowed to be held at Memorial Field. Because the heavy equipment damages the field, county commissioners voted to allow the carnival to take place at the field one last time, but put their foot down about finding a new location.

Over the past two years, the Rhody Festival association has considered several options for the location of the carnival, including HJ Carroll Park and the streets of Port Townsend, which were determined to not be wide enough for the carnival.

Last year, the Rhody Festival association searched for an alternate location all year, but were not able to come to an agreement with any organization, including the Fair board, in time for the Rhody Fest, causing the county commissioners to allow Memorial Field to be used one more time.

“The fair and the Rhody Festival are the two longest running family events in the community,” said Rhody Festival Vice President Lori Morris. “By working together, we will help the community out.”

McIntire said there had been some concerns about hosting the carnival at the fairgrounds, but would not go into detail about what those concerns were, besides a few neighborhood complaints about noise.

She agreed that downtown Port Townsend was a better location for the local businesses, but she also said the partnership with the Rhody Festival Association is a good one.

“They’ll be helping with the fair as well,” she said. “It is always good to get new volunteers out to the fair to help.”

The Rhody Festival association will have a booth at the county fair, which takes place at the fairgrounds on August 9-11. They will also be providing volunteers at the fair.

In turn, the fairgrounds might be the host of some other Rhody Festival events, Morris said, including the Rhody Royalty coronation, although that event is not yet set in stone.

The partnership with the fairgrounds could be the beginning of a new forever-home for the carnival, or it could just be one stop before it finds a place to stay.

“Ultimately, it’s all about the kids,” said Tara Weidner, who is in the Rhody Festival association. “We have the exact same goals and the Rhody board works really well with the Fair board. Their volunteers have some really good ideas that we hope to be able to help out with.”

Comments

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Marge Samuelson

Congratulations to both organizations. Working together to find a solution, even a temporary one is very encouraging. Volunteers will come if you need them. Good Luck and Thanks!

Wednesday, July 17
Daen mohrbacher

Dumb move. Why don't you be just like centrum and pull everything from down town. We won't be driving to the fair grounds....I bet I'm not the only one. If port townsend can't support its down town, why do we do business here?

Thursday, July 18
Marge Samuelson

I think you have to work with what you've got not what you wish you had (space). Personally a place where you have parking, and space is a good thing. Tourists will still find downtown Port Townsend. This is more of a local festival. Let's wait and see how it goes next year.

Saturday, July 20