by Johnathan Wright
The jazzy lure of the midway continues through July 4 at the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program carnival in Carson City's Mills Park.
Ride the Coney Island roller coaster, the merry carousel, the giant slide; visit game booths, eat corn dogs, buy lemonade at - what else? - a giant lemon; watch candy-colored flags snapping in the breeze, watch the roller coaster circling to the sky - all this and more, everything you need for carnival fun.
"We'd like everyone to come, especially families. Everything's very affordable - there's no price gouging. This is a family event," said Janice Ayres, executive director of the Nevada Rural Counties RSVP.
The carnival comes to a close with a free fireworks show starting about 9 p.m. on Tuesday. The pyrotechnics will be launched from Carson High School, across the street from the park. Al Fiegehen and Don Lehr, owners of the Ormsby House and Cubix Corp., paid for this year's lights in the sky.
"This is gonna be the biggest, the brightest, the best fireworks show we've ever had," Ayres said.
But before the fireworks, there's plenty to eat and do.
All-day ride passes are $17 per person. Coupons are $1 each; all rides require one or more coupons. Dads rode free on Thursday. Moms get their day Sunday.
Chinese food and cotton candy might not mix, but you'll find those treats at the carnival and a lot in between - even beer, wine and cocktails.
The rides, the food, the games, the fireworks - all of this promises to make the carnival "a really wonderful event," said Terri Chris of Royal West Amusements Inc., the company that stages the fair for RSVP.
"We're really happy to be here for the first time for the Fourth of July." Royal West puts on RSVP's annual spring carnival.
Chris said about 60 to 70 people travel 10 months a year across the West with the carnival.
"It takes us about 24 to 48 hours to get everything spit-shined. And about four to eight hours to tear it all down." The carnival has about 15 rides and 24 food and game booths.
Chris added that Royal West hires local people who want to earn money helping out at the carnival. Anyone interested should see her or her husband, Mac, in the midway office at the south end of the fair.
Chris said the carnival means a lot of work for RSVP and for her crew. But it's worth it: "It's always a joy to watch the children smile. That's what the carnival is all about."