Lions recruit carnival for fundraiser

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The carnival is coming to town.

The Lions Club spring carnival will roll onto Commerce Street near the World’s Richest Acre April 21 and 22.

Initially, the club tried to get the amusement park rides for the club’s annual Halloween Carnival, which runs in conjunction with the Downtown Trick or Treat, but there was not enough time, Lion Club President Ty Sharp said.

David Hill, owner of Hip Hop Amusements out of Gilmer, will bring about 10 rides, including a Ferris wheel and carousel, carnival games and carnival-style food booths to Kilgore.

Tentatively, the carnival will operate Friday and Saturday evening beginning at either 4 or 5 p.m. and running for as long as people are there. There is no definite starting or stopping time just yet, though, Sharp said.

Guests will not have to pay an admission fee, but each ride will require tickets, which can be purchased at the carnival.

The Halloween carnival is still the club’s major fundraiser, but their preference is to have one fundraiser in the fall and one in the spring. The problem, though, has been finding a spring fundraiser.

Previously, the club has hosted a golf tournament, but with so many and the economic slump, Sharp said, that has become more difficult.

“We were looking for something else that we can do in the spring for a fundraiser to help with our projects and kind of spread things out a bit,” he said.

The carnival – complete with typical rides and games – is something new for Kilgore.

“It’s a chance to do something different for our community,” Lions Club member Merlyn Holmes said.

“I think there’s room for something like this in the spring,” he said, noting the other events taking place during the first few months of the year.

The carnival will help support Kilgore Lions Club projects, including the annual Christmas project, providing eyeglasses for children, Texas Lions Camp and the Lions Club Foundation.

Even though this will be the first year for a carnival of this size, Sharp said, he hopes to see it become an annual event that grows throughout the years.

The club does not have an actual goal for the carnival, though, this first year but to simply see it happen and for families to have fun.

“We thought it would be a great thing for our city to have a carnival,” in April as the end of the school year approaches, Holmes said.

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