Renovation forces cancellation of Christmas Carnival

8/23/2013

By SCOTT AUST

By SCOTT AUST

saust@gctelegram.com

A renovation project will cause a long-time Garden City tradition to cancel its event later this year — but it will be back in 2014.

The Garden City Recreation Commission announced Thursday that it must cancel the 2013 Santa's Christmas Carnival because of an upcoming renovation of the Exhibition Building at the Finney County Fairgrounds.

Brian Seagraves, GCRC arts and theater director, said the Christmas Carnival has been going on 25 to 30 years, offering carnival rides and typical carnival fare inside the building along with a big stage where kids could come and see Santa. The event probably draws 2,000 to 3,000 people per year.

Because of its size, the Carnival couldn't be relocated to another facility.

"There's no place big enough to bring in carnival rides," he said.

Because it is an important Christmas tradition for the GCRC and the community, Seagraves said it will be back in December 2014.

The renovation project includes demolition of the existing south canopy, construction of a new south entry vestibule, a new south canopy, exterior door and hardware replacement, and interior renovation of the serving kitchen, a retro-fit of insulation systems, painting, heating equipment replacement, new lighting, circulation fans and other related work.

Angie Clark, fairgrounds manager, said currently some soil testing is being performed. Following those tests, she will know more specifics about when work will begin. During the exterior portions, events can still go on inside. But between Oct. 28 through the end of the year, the entire building will be closed, Clark said, which will affect a few of events including the Christmas Carnival and the Thanksgiving dinner put on by Cornerstone Church.

"Some, we were able to put in the 4-H building. We've tried our absolute best to accommodate everybody. But the Christmas Carnival, you can't have that just anywhere," she said.

The improvements to the building will benefit the entire community in the long run, and care was taken to try to avoid as many disruptions as possible, she said.

"The time period chosen was the least disruptive to our facility users. I mean it's huge to the ones it affects, but during this time period there were fewer affected," Clark said.

Seagraves said the GCRC wishes the fairgrounds well in its remodeling and looks forward to all the improvements that will be done.

"We think it's great that they decided to do it and are getting it done. It's going to be great," Seagraves said.

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