EUREKA – Reagan Fest organizers are guessing that attendance was down for last weekend’s festival, but the event was successful financially and they are planning to add carnival rides next year and a circus fundraiser in October for a bigger, better event next year.
“We were in the black moneywise by 7 p.m. on Friday,” Adrianne Yoder, chairperson of Reagan Fest committee, said. “I don’t know exactly where we’ll come out, but we’ll have some money to start up the next round of events.”
While the wait for the new Zip Line ride Friday night was up to an hour, Yoder said there was lots of competition on Saturday.
“Four o’clock on Saturday it was pretty dead with the football game going on,” she said. “There was JFL in the morning and there was a softball tournament and a volleyball tournament so we lost people to that.
“The tractor pull was big. We are working with them every year to see if there is a way that we can bring the two of them together. We just have to find a location for them and we haven’t been able to do that yet, so we’ll see. Overall, we still did well.”
Yoder said that the company that owns the Zip Line - Moon Jump for You – also has four carnival rides, some of which they hope to bring down for next year’s festival.
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Paying for a full carnival can cost up to $25,000, she said, and you have to agree not to sell any food that the carnival also sells.
“We don’t have enough people to support a bunch of different food vendors and a carnival, so we’re not in a great position,” she said. “We’re hoping if we can bring some rides in we can find a way to make everybody happy.”
The Saturday night concert by Jammsammich was a highlight, Yoder said, and the band has already been booked for next year’s festival.
Yoder and Festival co-chair Amber Harmon were grateful to the about 200 volunteers who helped produce the festival. They included several groups from Eureka College Athletic Department.
The pair announced Tuesday that the committee was sponsoring the Kelly-Miller Circus at the Lower Park on Oct. 5 as a fundraiser for Reagan Fest.
“On Monday morning we changed over to the circus mode,” Yoder said.
Harmon added, “As soon as the circus is over we start on Halloween Haunted Trail.”
Clowns from the circus will be in Eureka Sept. 20 giving assemblies in schools and appearing at Eureka IGA.
On the morning of Oct. 5, elementary school students will get to watch elephants raise the big top tent and see animals while the circus is being set up for that night’s performance.
The circus includes a trapeze artist, Yoder said.
“Their trapeze artist is the woman who did all the stunt work in the movie Water for Elephants,” she said. Exact ticket prices have not been set. The committee makes more money on tickets purchased in advance, Harmon said.