After all, people inhabit islands and use ferryboats for transportation to and from, so why would a traveling carnival making the same trip be a major undertaking?
That’s the question Kelleys Island Chamber of Commerce Director Debbie Herwick had last year when she booked what she believes was the island’s first ever carnival to the popular IslandFest celebration.
“We had some really hot weather but I think it was something really new for families and kids to enjoy,” said Herwick, who has called Kelleys Island home for nearly 30 years. “It was pretty fun to see these rides and all of this going on at an island setting. While last year it was held during Islandfest celebration, this year we decided to change it to a different weekend, mostly just because transportation considerations and getting people here to there. Also, it’s not going to be quite as crowded.”
The Kelleys Island Carnival takes place July 27 through 29 at Pavilion Park. Herwick said D&R Shows, which will be providing roughly a dozen rides for kids and adventure seekers, plans on using various ferry trips to come over to Kelleys Island. In fact, she said moving the operation is tantamount to moving a small army.
Basically, the notion of staging a carnival or any tourist events falls right in line with the Kelleys Island Chamber of Commerce mission statement.
“Because our job is to bring people to Kelleys Island, to promote Kelleys Island and to be able to make things for our businesses better, we thought that might be another way to do that,” Herwick said. “And I know a couple of people who work for our village brought their kids over here, and they were just delighted. They just thought it was so much fun to be able to do that on Kelleys Island. It was something really different.”
Herwick expects crowds in the thousands, including a lot of people who call Kelleys Island home in the summer and those visiting for the day via ferry or boat. Another appealing aspect of the carnival she points out is the various food options.
Guilty pleasure offerings include French fries and cotton candy. In fact, it’s the latter that has Herwick excited.
“I’m looking forward to the cotton candy,” Herwick said. “I can’t live without it.”
Finally, is there any truth to the rumor that Herwick staged the entire Kelleys Island Carnival event solely to get cotton candy on the island?
“Yeah,” she laughed, “you got that right.”
For more information, call the Kelleys Island Chamber of Commerce at 419-746-2630.