Columbiana Carnival raises thousands for children

COLUMBIANA – Thousands of people attended the Columbiana Kiwanis Club’s second consecutive Columbiana Carnival, which was held between Tuesday, April 17, and Sunday, April 22.

Kiwanis Club member Vicki Letlow said the Columbiana Carnival offered families, especially those with younger children, an affordable way to have fun together.

“It’s just good, clean fun,” Letlow said. “There are more rides for smaller children.”

Kiwanis Club President Sid Wheeler said the carnival served as a secondary event to the annual Shelby County Fair, which is held each fall. While the carnival did not offer exhibits, live entertainment and volunteer opportunities for locals, Wheeler said it heightened anticipation for the fair.

“We also have a carnival at the fair, but at the fair, we have all the livestock and produce exhibits,” Wheeler said. “This keeps it in everybody’s mind.

Several years ago, Wheeler said the Kiwanis Club hosted its first carnival, but was unable to continue until 2017 when they could not find

The Kiwanis Club contracted with James Gang Amusements of Andalusia, who Wheeler said he came in contact with through the Alabama Fair Association. Wheeler said this year’s carnival offered several rides and attractions that are less common at other fairs, like a mirror house and a mechanical bull.

“There are a lot of things here that you can’t see anywhere else,” Wheeler said.

George “Paw Paw” Cash said he and his grandson, Christian Jett, drove all the way down from Pleasant Grove to attend the carnival on April 21. Cash said he and Christian found themselves first in line before the fair opened, and were the first ones to go on the Ferris wheel that day.

Christian proudly displayed three prizes he had won and said he was having lots of fun with his grandfather.

“I think the Ferris wheel is my favorite, because it’s the highest. We got stuck on top of the world,” Christian said. “My favorite game was the one where you shoot the balloons.”

The proceeds raised by the carnival benefit nonprofit organizations that help local children. According to Wheeler, the carnival raised over $5,000.

“It raises money that we donate back into the community, and it puts the Kiwanis Club up front,” Wheeler said.