ARLINGTON — The Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce’s first partnership with Butler Amusements for the carnival that ran from June 27-30 went well enough that representatives of both groups agreed that the carnival would likely become an annual event for the area.
“We had a very good weekend for a first-year event,” said Bob Merten, Butler Amusements’ on-site general manager for the carnival. “We never prejudge an event, because every event is a little bit different, but this one had passion behind it.”
Merten credited the Chamber with promoting the carnival well enough to generate steady attendance throughout all four days, even in the midst of weather that was perhaps a bit too summery.
“We had good weather for it,” Merten said. “There was a lot of heat, but I think people were just glad to get out of the cold and the rain for a while. We had several thousand people come through, so it was definitely a success.”
Chamber Secretary Debbie Whitis stopped by the carnival on all four of its days, and concurred with Merten about its consistent influx of attendees and how the weather impacted their willingness to show up.
“This was an experiment for Butler Amusements, who will definitely be bringing more rides next year,” Whitis said. “Butler’s operations are nice and clean and tidy. I’ve talked to a lot of folks and just about everyone was happy with what they saw there.”
While Merten touted the strength of the family crowds as one reason why Butler Amusements brought so many rides for smaller children, Whitis would welcome seeing even more rides for teenagers next year.
“We want more,” Whitis laughed. “We’d like more of a festival atmosphere for next year, complete with a food court where people can sit down to enjoy their meals.”
Although Saturday, June 29, drew the carnival’s largest crowds, its pre-sale bracelets at the Arlington Walmart were already sold out on Wednesday, June 26, one day before the start of the carnival.
“We’re also looking at selling admissions through more venues next year,” Whitis said.
In the meantime, those who attended this year’s carnival rated it quite highly in their comments to The Arlington Times.
“We enjoyed doing the funhouse ride together,” said Heather Meredith, who brought her daughter Isabella all the way from Darrington.
“It’s just a good place to spend time together as a family,” said Luis Morales.
While Tanya Jallo and Robert Palmer’s kids took multiple rides on the Haywire, mom and dad sat back and relaxed in the shade.
“I’m here to help support my city and keep my boys busy for the day,” Jallo said.
While young Isaac Magallanes of Marysville deemed the towering slide his favorite ride of the carnival, his mom Tia’s favorite activity was “just watching him, as his face lights up.”
“I’m 54 years old, and I still go on all the carnival rides,” laughed Betty Wright.
“We just want to thank the Chamber and the community for making this event such a success,” Merten said.
“The community responded really well this year,” Whitis said. “That’s why we want this to be bigger and better next year.”