By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – A carnival operator couldn’t sign a contract for next year’s Canadian County Free Fair fast enough, county commissioners were told this week.
Great Plains Amusements’ owner Joe Lujan was ecstatic with attendance at the 67th annual Canadian County Fair this August – at a new venue for the first time since 1955.
“He was more than pleased and couldn’t wait to sign another contract,” Canadian County Fair Board Secretary Brad Tipton said. “It was kind of surprising to me.”
County Fair Board Treasurer Clint Reuter and Tipton met with Lujan after the four-day carnival ended Sunday, Aug. 29 to collect Canadian County’s share of the proceeds.
“I asked him, ‘How did we do?’” Tipton shared. “He said, ‘You guys hit it out of the park’.
“We did well, he did well.”
Canadian County Commissioners, at their weekly meeting Sept. 20, approved an agreement between Canadian County and Great Plains Amusements for next year’s fair carnival.
“A carnival is very important to the functioning of our county fair,” said Tipton, matter-of-factly.
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The 68th annual Canadian County Free Fair will be in August 2022 at the Canadian County Expo & Event Center, 3001 Jensen Road East.
The contract with Great Plains Amusements calls for a carnival from Wednesday through Sunday, Aug. 24-27.
Canadian County’s new fairgrounds’ facility opened in early July 2021.
Great Plains Amusements’ owner was “very concerned” beforehand about attendance at this year’s Canadian County Fair carnival since it was at a new place.
“Joe said when an event changes to a new venue, it ‘kills you’ for a year or two,” Tipton related. “He said it was the exact opposite (in Canadian County).”
Based on ride ticket sales, carnival attendance doubled from 2020.
Great Plains Amusements operates carnivals at fairs and festivals across Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, and Arkansas.
Lujan told Canadian County Fair Board officials this year’s Canadian County carnival “rated among my top 10” event bookings.