ST. PETER — Step right up .... to the bouncy rides.
That could be the refrain at the Nicollet County Fair this weekend after the carnival booked by the Fair Board canceled at the last minute.
Crescent City Amusements told fair directors only on Tuesday that they had double-booked fairs and wouldn't be bringing their Ferris wheel, Tilt-a-Whirl and other rides and games to the St. Peter Fairgrounds. The fair opened Wednesday.
Since the news, organizers have been scrambling to bring in large inflatable structures and other entertainment for a makeshift midway.
"This is the first time this has ever happened at the Nicollet County Fair," said Bill McCabe, president of the Fair Board.
"There's two things we can't control, the weather and the carnival."
McCabe said Crescent City, based in Slidell, La., gave no explanation of how or why they double-booked events. The company did not immediately return a call.
"We've been working all day to get something lined up. We got Magic Bounce out of the Twin Cities, we'll have eight or nine big, bouncy items. We'll have pony rides on Kids Day, a little train, maybe a trolley. We're doing what we can," McCabe said.
He said people who bought advance ride tickets can bring the tickets to the fair office under the grandstand for a refund. He said they usually sell between $2,000 and $5,000 of advance tickets.
"Our deepest apologies go out to the kids, I know they look forward to it."
McCabe said that while the lack of a carnival is disappointing, the rest of the show will go on through Sunday, including grandstand attractions. On Wednesday afternoon, the fair featured harness racing.
"It's not like the fair's dead. Everything else is still going on."