Photo by Ted Escobar
Rainier Amusements of Portland, Ore. saved the weekend for the Granger Lions Club. It brought the best looking, most modern carnival in years.
As of Monday, April 16, 2018
GRANGER The Granger Cherry festival nearly had to celebrate its 70th year without a carnival.
A Cherry Festival without a carnival? No way.
Members of the Lions Club, which sponsors the festival, had to scramble for an answer and found one that carnival-goers may talk about for years.
Rainier Amusements of Portland, Ore., brought the biggest, prettiest, most modern carnival the Cherry Festival has seen since probably the 1950s.
Ironically the carnival that came to Granger in those years was Rainier Shows. The owners of that company are the parents of Mitchell Andersen who, along with his wife Crystal, owns Rainier Amusements.
The Lions have heard complaints about the carnival companies to come here for 40-50 years. When they were told that last year’s carnival couldn’t make it this year, they had the opportunity to answer those complaints.
To get Rainier Amusements, the Lions had to change their date from early May to mid-April. That worked out for Granger, which annually kicks off the community festival season in the Yakima Valley.
It also worked for greater carnival attendance. Last Saturday, Lions members and Rainier Amusements owners were pleased with the result.
Crystal Andersen cautiously said the company plans to return next year. The Andersens believed on Saturday, April 14, it was a good weekend, but they still had Sunday to go.
“We have a big payroll and a big expense to get here,” Crystal said. “We’d like to get that and maybe make a little money.”
Lions member Susy Munoz was excited the entire weekend.
The reviews of the carnival-goers were rave. She noticed a jump in the size of the crowd.
Lions President Rosie Alegria said: “We already gave (Rainier Shows) next year’s dates. We’ll go back to the first of May.”
Also excited were the carnival workers, who were clean, uniformly dressed bunch. The ride workers wore light green shirts. Ride supervisors wore blue.
One of the supervisors, Tremayne Mobley of Miami, Fla., was excited all day Saturday. He noted there were 15 rides at the Cherry festival, and a midway where visitors could win prizes. The kiddie rides included a roller coaster.
“We love Granger,” he said. “We like this town.”
Rainier Amusements is not little company, Mobley said. He noted it provides 56 rides for the Oregon State Fair at Salem.
“I’ve been doing this 10 years,” Mobley said. “There is not a job I’d rather have. It makes it even better when you come to towns like Granger.