Agri-Business Center announces 2017 schedule



Just four of the many ride offerings of Paradise Amusements. Clockwise from top left are The Claw, Typhoon, Hurricane, and Wipe Out.

Just four of the many ride offerings of Paradise Amusements. Clockwise from top left are The Claw, Typhoon, Hurricane, and Wipe Out.

A brand-new fair is coming to town next year. To be more precise, a new carnival vendor with a new attitude, a new staff, a new slate of rides, and a new determination to make the fair a memorable experience for patrons, is on tap for the Blount County Fair Sept. 12-16, according to Blount County- Oneonta Agri-Business Center director Chase Moore. The Agri-Business Center Board of Directors voted at its December meeting to approve contracts with the vendor for both the county fair and the spring carnival.

The new vendor is Paradise Amusements of Ocala, Fla. The company has contracted to provide a minimum of 20 child and adult rides for the annual fair, more if they can be physically fitted into the fairgrounds space available, Moore said. That will be several more rides than were available at the 2016 fair, he said. Paradise Amusements will also provide rides for the Spring Carnival, May 18-20, although that is a somewhat smaller event.

“The new vendor has been great to work with,” Moore said. “They’re more safety conscious, they’re enthusiastic about delivering more rides than we’ve had before, and I’m convinced we’ll have better rides, too. Also, many of the midway workers will be native Spanish speakers, in addition to speaking English, and that will be a big plus to a lot of our patrons.”

A mere listing of some of the adult thrill rides creates a sense of excitement: the Claw, Hurricane, Typhoon, Wipeout, Drop Zone, Viper, Fireball, and Himalaya – plus old favorites like the Ferris Wheel, and Carousel merry-go-round for kids. Other rides for children will be included, too.

Besides the fair, nearly a dozen other events are already scheduled for 2017, plus more to come as the year unfolds. Here’s what’s scheduled so far: Bull Riding ( Jan. 13-14); Circus (Feb. 10-12); Outdoor Expo (Feb. 25-26); Spring Carnival (May 18-20); New event: Boat/RV/ATV Show (March TBA); Rodeo (April 7-8); Greater Birmingham Dog Agility Show (May 26-28); local special events TBA ( June, July, August); Blount County Fair (Sept. 12-16); Phobia (Oct. XX-XX); Concert TBA (Nov. TBA).

“I want to make sure fair-goers know that we think Paradise Amusements is the best in the business, and I want them to understand what a great fair we’re expecting to have this year,” Agri- Business Center board chairman Jeff Hallmark said.