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The Stevens County Times 

Stevens County Times Extra

Saturday, July 28, 2018 T1

at the


Spectacular new ride for the Stevens County Fair By Rae Yost Stevens County Times amily Fun Shows will bring a spectacular ride to the Stevens County Fair Aug. 7-12, midway owner Greg Hughes said. The ride 1,001 Nachts is classified as a spectacular ride in the amusement industry, Hughes said. “In our business there are spectacular, major and kids rides,” Hughes said. 1,0001 Nachts a pendulum style ride that


reaches about 65 feet at its top height, Hughes said. Rides swing up and swing down but do not go upside down, he said. The ride acts like a flying carpet, Hughes said. “It is a thrill ride,” he said. “It goes high in the air and into a free fall.” Hughes owns Family Fun Shows with his wife, Gail. The carnival has been a fair midway staple for many years. The Hughes invested a few hundred thousand dollars in the new ride

because they want to keep the carnival fresh. And, Hughes said, he was looking for a ride that would be attractive to kids and the 40 plus crowd. The ride coming to the Stevens County Fair “sat near the front of the midway at the Minnesota State Fair since 2012,” Hughes said. “It had been there since 2010.” The ride’s owner bought a new 1,001 Nachts for the state fair. Hughes bought the older

rider. The ride has been set up since the carnival season started. “I think it’s been a smashing hit,” Hughes said. Although it’s a spectacular ride, Gail made sure the ride will still only cost one ticket, Hughes said. The couple is committed to making the carnival rides affordable, Hughes said. Gail convinced him that one ticket per ride was still appropriate for the 1,001 Nachts ride, Hughes said.

Traveling with the Carnival Family Fun Shows owner started with midway at 14


By Rae Yost Stevens County Times He was 14 when he left home to join the traveling carnival. “At a very young age I decided what I wanted to do and who I wanted to marry,” Greg Hughes said. More than 40 years later, Hughes is still married to the woman who was his girlfriend when he was 14. And he never left the carnival.


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2018 Stevens County Fair

T2 Saturday, July 28, 2018 

The Stevens County Times

Schedule of Events Thursday, August 9

Saturday, August 11 All Day - Animal Fest All Day - Los Moralitos Circus All Day - Laser Tag 9:00 am - 4-H Round Robin 10:00 am - Food Concessions Open 1:00 pm - 4-H Livestock Auction 3 shows - ACME Magic Factory 3 shows - The Strong Man 12 - 9:00 pm - Lee Center Booths Open 1:00 pm - Family Fun Show Carnival Opens 3 - 6:00 pm - The Blues Brothers 6:30 pm - Midwest Machinery - Red River Valley Pullers Truck/Tractor Pull at Grandstands 7:00 pm Kiwanis Talent Show at the Storck Bandshell 8:00 pm - Midnight - Hitfaced at Met Lounge Beer Gardens

All Day - Animal Fest All Day - Los Moralitos Circus All Day - Laser Tag 8 - 11:00 am - Homemakers Entry 9 - 11:00 am - Daycare Day 4 shows - Brodini Comedy Magic Show 10:00 am - Food Concessions Open 10:00 am - 4-H Poultry Show 1:30 pm - 4-H Goat Show 3:00 pm shows - The Strong Man 4:00 pm - Family Fun Show Carnival Opens 5:00 - 9:00 pm - Lee Center Booths Open 5:30 pm - 4-H Lamb Lead 6:00 pm - 4-H Sheep Show 6 - 10:00 pm - Family Fun Show Wristband Night 7:00 pm - Valu Ford & Chrysler Enduro Race at Grandstands 8:00 pm - Midnight - DJ at Met Lounge Beer

Tuesday, August 7 5:00 pm - Fair Appreciation Supper Lee Community Center 7:30 pm - 4-H Companion Animal Show 7:30 pm - Tonic Sol-fa at Grandstands

Sunday August 12

Friday, August 10

Wednesday, August 8

All Day - Animal Fest All Day - Los Moralitos Circus All Day - Laser Tag 10 - Noon - 4-H Fun Horse Show 10:00 am - Food Concessions Open 10:00 am - Church Service Noon - 4-H Rabbit Costume Class 12 - 8:00 pm - Lee Center Booths Open 1:00 pm - Family Fun Show Carnival Opens 3 shows - ACME Magic Factory 3 shows - The Strong Man 2 - 1 hour shows - Randy Buker, Hypnotist 1:30/3/5 pm - Sherwin Linton 5:00 pm - Bike Drawing 6:00 pm - Heartland Motors Demo Derby

All Day - Animal Fest All Day - Los Moralitos Circus All Day - Laser Tag 8:00 am - 4-H Swine Show 10:00 am - Food Concessions Open 11:30 am - 4-H Dairy Show Noon - 9:00 pm - Lee Center Booths Open 1:00 pm - Family Fun Show Carnival Opens 3 shows - Brodini Comedy Magic Show 3 shows - The Strong Man 2:30 pm - 4-H Beef Show 7:30 pm - Dacotah Bank Xtreme Bull Riding at Grandstands 8:00 pm - Midnight - Steele River Band at Met Lounge Beer Gardens Dusk - Fireworks (following grandstand event)

All Day - Animal Fest All Day - Los Moralitos Circus 8:00 am - 5:00 pm - Open Class Entry Day 10:00 am - Food Concessions Open 2:00 pm - Open Beef Show 7:00 pm -8:00 pm - Homemakers Entry 1 show - The Strong Man 6:00 pm - 4-H Rabbit Show 7:00 pm - Denco II Skid Steer Rodeo / ATV Barrel Race at Grandstands

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2018 Stevens County Fair

The Stevens County Times 

HUGHES From Page T1

Hughes and his wife Gail own Family Fun Amusements. The couple live in Mankato, but the carnival has its roots in the carnival Hughes left home to work for all those years ago. Family Fun Shows was once the Serie Fun Shows of Luverne. The couple bought Serie in 1996 and changed the name to Family Fun Shows. Family Fun Shows will return to the Stevens County Fair Aug. 7-12. “Don’t get me wrong, I had an excellent childhood,” Hughes said. But by 14, Hughes said a traditional life seemed dull and stagnant. So, he left with the carnival. Hughes figured if he’d been born 125 years ago, he would have headed west. While he left a family he loved he found more family with the carnival. Show people, or carnival midway people, accept others for who they are, Hughes said. “We try to be good custodians of our planet,”

Hughes said. That means caring for “our planet, water or people,” he said. Show people have been taking care of each other for decades, he said. When somebody needs a hand, it will be provided, Hughes said. The couple raised four kids in a carnival life. They traveled across Minnesota and into South Dakota with rides and games. The couple has eight grandkids; the oldest is 17. “There is no doubt I love this business,” Hughes said. “I love the daily routine of sleeping when you are tired and eating when you are hungry.” To Hughes, working in a carnival is as close to family farming as any occupation can be. Just like farming, carnival midways have their busy seasons. Generations of family members work side by side, just as in farming. “Some days are very, very long days,” Hughes said. Long days can be hot days which can cause crowds to wither and abandon the rides for air-conditioned com-

fort. Or a day in which a ride may break down and require an immediate repair. But there are more long days where the midway is full of families laughing. Hughes doesn’t need to be manning the rides these days. Yet, taking the controls to one of the rides, “That never gets old. If I’m in a bad mood or not feeling well, I will go out and run a ride,” Hughes said. “Sometimes I like to take the ride out for a spin. I feel better about the day (then).” Few things are better than “when you see kids come off a ride with a smile as big as can be,” Hughes said. Hughes recalled a boy who told him about saving his money from mowing lawns all summer so he could spend it on all the rides and food he wanted. The boy told Hughes he did ride all

the rides he wanted and he did eat all the food he wanted but “on the way home he got sick,” Hughes said. He felt bad for the boy until the boy told him, ‘That’s Ok. I can’t wait to do it again next year.’ Hughes credits Gail with making sure the show stays affordable to families. She reminds him of what it was like to raise their own four kids and how families need affordable entertainment, Hughes said. The business is committed to charging one ticket per ride. That’s less than $2 per ride, even for the big ones. Family Fun Shows enjoys the Stevens County Fair. “We’ve had the opportunity to play other fairs,” Hughes said. He gets offers from other locations, some which may offer more money, but the business returns to Morris each

Saturday, July 28, 2018 T3

year. They work well with the fair board, even if they sometimes disagree, Hughes said. Hughes has also connected with some local businesses who do some of the work on his rides. And some Family Fun Shows employees work

hauling sugar beets in the area in the fall. “We have a lot of close ties in Morris,” Hughes said. Family Fun Shows has a few other stops before the Stevens County Fair. And a few more when the local fair ends.

See you at The 2018 Stevens County Fair

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2018 Stevens County Fair

T4 Saturday, July 28, 2018 

The Stevens County Times

Fair board keeps making improvements By Rae Yost Stevens County Times They make a list and can even check it twice, but the list keeps growing. Improvements are always needed at the Stevens County Fairgrounds and the fair, said fair board president Ryan Sleiter.

Sleiter said each year the fair board looks over the grounds and buildings at the fairgrounds to make a list of needed repairs and desired improvements. “Like most homeowners, we never get caught up but do what we can with the money we are allotted each year,”

building, $15,000 to upgrade the electricity in the beef barn, $10,000 to re-roof the homemakers building. The fair board has also upgraded the lights in various barns and buildings as well as upgrading electricity at the campground and in some buildings. Those types of projects can cost up to $6,000. Regular maintenance, which includes mowing, can cost $10,000 to $12,000 a year. “Improvements are important to keep things looking good and keeping our fair-goers safe and happy,” Sleiter said. The fair board prioritizes projects each year. “Safety of the public is what we strive to keep in mind,” Sleiter said.


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were kids,” Sleiter said. Planning for the next year’s projects and overall fair starts before the opening day of the current year’s fair, Sleiter said. Possible projects for 2019 and beyond include repairing the walls of the poultry barn, upgrading the main electrical panel, drainage upgrades, upgrading the water lines and others. When Sleiter was asked what project the fair board would do if money was no obstacle, he said, “(An) event center that could be used off season for large events.” Those large events could be concerts, cars shows and family fun events, Slieter said.

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Some projects can wait for a year. Although the board tries to spend the same amount of money each year, it may spend less one or two years to save money for a larger project in a future year, Sleiter said. Sleiter used the sidewalks at the fairgrounds as an example of a project that helps keep fair attendees safe and happy. It’s easier to push a wheelchair or stroller on a sidewalk than in gravel, he said. The sidewalks have been improved and expanded in the past several years. “I have had fair-goers in wheelchairs tell me how nice the sidewalks are as it allows them to come out and see the grounds like (when) they

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Sleiter said in an email response to questions from the Stevens County Times. “The list keeps growing from year to year.” The board sets aside money each year to make repairs and improvements. “Nothing is cheap,” Sleiter said. But the fair board has made about $100,000 in repairs and improvements in the past 10 years, Sleiter said. The improvements may not be glamorous additions but they are projects involving the heart of the county fair. Here’s a list of some of the most costly improvements: $18,000 to re-roof the poultry barn, $16,000 to redo the outside of the 4-H


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At the Fair  

A preview for the 2018 Stevens County Fair in Morris, Minnesota

At the Fair  

A preview for the 2018 Stevens County Fair in Morris, Minnesota