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CLEAR LAKE, IA – Independence Day may not be till tomorrow, but carnival preparations have been going on for days and it takes a lot of work and man power to make it all happen.
We caught up the the carnival manager to find out how things have changed over the years and how they’re planning to celebrate a special anniversary.
Through the rumble of semi engines, it’s hard not to feel the excitement that is the Clear Lake 4th of July Carnival.
And this year, the carnival is celebrating a milestone.
Evan’s United Shows Carnival Manager, Pat Catey said, “This is our 40 Anniversary for coming to Clear Lake.”
Pat has been working the carnival circuit for 30 years. She and the crew put on more than 50 carnivals a year all over the Mid-west, but she says the celebration in Clear Lake is by far her favorite.
“It’s like coming home to me. We have some life long friends here. I have friends here who are as near and dear to me as people I’ve known all my life.”
Maybe it feels that way because there’s something for everyone.
Catey said, “They can expect chills and thrills and lots of good food. We have games that’ll test your skills and then we have what we call the Christmas stores. That’s like the duck pond where you get prizes every time, which is great for the first time kids coming to the carnival.”
When it comes to the rides, Pat says the thrill factor has always been there, but now with rides with names like the “Sizzler” and the “Fireball,” there’s been some major changes over the last 40 years.
She said, “We were looking through old pictures before we came this year and they used to not even have fencing around the rides, which just about gave me a heart attack!”
And that’s probably why she’s beginning to leave those ones up to the kids.
“I’m at the age where if you go around in circles, it’s not real good, so about the only thing I do ride – I love the Ferris Wheel. I mean, when you get onto the wheel especially here, you can see over the whole lake.”
The celebration is just getting started, but once the lights dim on the mid-way come Sunday, the countdown till next year begins.
Catey said, “I love Clear Lake. I live for this week. Every year, I mean, it comes so slowly and it’s gone so fast.”
To celebrate the milestone, carnival owners Mr. and Mrs. Evans are being honored as Grand Marshals in the parade tomorrow morning.