Center officials planning spring carnival

Published 5:04 pm Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A void in springtime fun times in Lincoln County will be filledin 2010 with the inaugural Lincoln County Carnival, an eventorganizers hope will grow into a full-on county fair over theyears.

Lincoln Civic Center Commission Chairman Dr. William Kimble saidthe carnival will take place at the center over a four-day span,beginning Thursday, May 6 and continuing through the weekend. NorthAmerican Midway Entertainment – the same group that holds theMississippi State Fair in Jackson, the Biloxi Crawfish Festival andthe Mississippi Coast Fair and Expo – will produce the localevent.

“It will have things for the little children, the teens and eventhe adults – a true family-oriented event,” Kimble said. “It willbe good for the kids. It gives them a little break before they haveto crack down on end-of-the-year exams.”

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The coming carnival will feature 16 rides of different varieties,25 games and booths and various food vendors. Admission to thecarnival will be free, while visitors will be charged for rides,games and concessions.

Kimble said the commission has studied the possibility of acarnival or fair for the past few years, pegging such an event asworthy of expanding the Lincoln Civic Center’s role as a stationfor community entertainment and programs. He said the facility’searly limitations kept the carnival on the backburner, but recentexpansions – including the construction of an RV park the clearingof a large swath of land – have freed up plenty of space to hostthe event.

Sealing the deal is the fact that most local events occur in latesummer or fall, leaving a gap in spring activities the carnivalshould be able to fill, Kimble said.

“We saw a void in the springtime for attractions that can befamily-oriented and attract people from across the board,” he said.”Early May in Mississippi is pretty good weather, and due toBrookhaven’s geographical location, we tend to draw from theentirety of Southwest Mississippi.”

The carnival’s draw will judge the commission’s commitment toslowly building the carnival into an old-fashioned Lincoln CountyFair in the future – another local tradition that has died out overtime.

Center manager Quinn Jordan said hopes are the event will grow intoa themed county fair, saying the inaugural carnival is more or lessa test run.

Jordan said the commission is paying approximately $2,000 to bringthe carnival to town, and has agreements with Midway that will paythe commission 10 percent of the first $37,000 in profit. Furtherrevenue will be generated for the facility by Midway’s rental ofthe facility and its employees’ rental of RV spaces.

“Because we’re new in this market, profit margin is something wedon’t have grasp on, but we know we’re going to cover our costs,”Jordan said. “We’re not going to waste any county dollars.”