Updated for 2018
Last Saturday night, my family started a new summer tradition. We rode ferris wheels and roller coasters, ate funnel cake and cotton candy, and had a whole lot of fun. The best part is we did it all for less than $10! That’s because we finally attended the Athens Lions Club Kiddie Carnival and we absolutely can not wait to go back. This small-town community festival dates back to the 1950’s and after spending just a short time there, you can see why they keep bringing it back.
My husband and I both had a long day Saturday and were waffling about whether or not we wanted to make the trek to Athens. The carnival runs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night from late June through early August (exact dates can be found here). So far this summer, every weekend we have found a reason not to go – too tired, too busy, etc. But our daughter was exceptionally good that day and we wanted to reward her behavior. So we loaded up the minivan and headed out. While riding her first ride, my daughter’s declaration, “I love this, it’s so much fun” was enough to convince me we had made the right decision.
Kiddie Sized (and Priced) Fun
The truly unique aspect of the carnival is, as the name implies, that all of the rides are for little kids. Anyone over the age of nine or ten is going to have to settle for bingo as a form of entertainment, but for those under 42″ there are plenty of rides and each one only cost $.50 to ride. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. and close at 9:30 p.m. The lines definitely get longer as the sun goes down so if your little one isn’t so good at waiting, get there early. There are bathrooms on site and the normal carnival fare you would expect (soda, hot dogs, hamburgers, funnel cake and more). My husband especially enjoyed the fresh tomatoes, onions and lettuce available with the other condiments.
A Small Town Saturday Night
The carnival brought back a lot of memories for me of summer nights spent at our small town carnival and I’m glad there is something similar nearby for my daughter to enjoy. It wasn’t until we returned home that I discovered that all the money raised supports eyeglasses and vision screenings for those in need and a children’s camp for kids with diabetes. Now, I know we are going back not just to have a good time but to support such a great cause. And next week, we’ll plan to drop a few extra dollars at the Bingo table. If you haven’t been to this wonderful event, take my advice and make the time. You won’t regret it and you’ll be making some wonderful memories for you and your family.
Jennifer is the creator and co-editor of Rocket City Mom. She is also a compulsive writer, avid reader, occasional singer and former communications wizard turned toddler wrangler. You can often spot her and her little ones cruising the kiddie hot-spots in their "Rocket Van".