While some describe Disneyland as “The Happiest Place on Earth,” grade-schoolers from Maupin found the Northwest Cherry Festival carnival a close competitor during a visit behind the scenes April 24.
Second and third grade students from Maupin Grade School took a not-so-typical field trip when students Alex Jimenez and Tyler Hendershot — whose parents are year-round employees of the carnival company Davis Shows Northwest — marshalled a trip to the carnival grounds.
Twenty-three students, their teacher Kim Mead, and seven parent volunteers began their tour by visiting the Davis Shows’ home base in Tygh Valley. Employees showed them how rides are disassembled, painted, and inspected for safety.
The students learned that aluminum safety fences are constructed in Tygh Valley and shipped throughout the United States, and that some rides have as many as 2,800 light bulbs.
The kids were not the only ones who were intrigued by the tour.
“I have a whole new respect for the hard work and dedication of the carnival organization,” said Mead.
“It was so interesting to learn about all of the hard work, constant mobility, and overall family connection of this organization.”
After lunch at Sorosis Park, the kids had their own personal carnival tour in downtown The Dalles.
Each person received an arm band for the afternoon, as Alex and Tyler gave them information and safety tips on each ride. Students were also allowed to participate in a dart throwing game, and everyone received a stuffed animal and a bag of cotton candy.
Mead had recognized nine-year-old Jimenez’s excitement when she shared about her family’s involvement with Davis Shows.
It was Jimenez’s excitement that encouraged her mother, Desiree Jimenez, her grandparents, Jim and Deb Parks (managers of Unit 2 of Davis Shows), and owners Pat and Geraldine Davis to create the fun-filled trip for her classmates.
In the words of Jimenez as she was riding the carousel with her teacher, “This is the best day of my life…I love being a part of the carnival, but I have always wanted to share it with my friends and now I have!”
The carnival employees came in two hours early for the kids’ personal tour.
By the looks on their faces, it was difficult to tell who was having more fun, the students or the employees.
“South Wasco County is our community and these are all or our kids. We are happy to do something special for them,” said one of the Davis Show employees.
“It was important for the students to see what some of their classmates go through being away from home all summer and on the go. It is not just all fun and games. It is hard to remember that when you show up for a fun family day at the carnival,” said Mead.
The carnival circuit begins Saturday, June 13.