Evans United Carnival

Rides glow at a previous location for the Evans United Carnival. It will be in St. Joseph at the East Hills Shopping Center from July 9-19.

After the COVID-19 shutdown, the sounds of attractions like the merry-go-round and Tilt-A-Whirl are going to be welcoming for some in the area.

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For its second year, the Evans United Carnival will return to the East Hills Shopping Center parking lot in grand fashion, both in the scope of rides and efforts to keep people safe.

“We’ve got everything all set up for a safe, clean midway, with all of our sanitization procedures and social distancing. And we think we can show everybody good time,” Ann Owsley, office manager for Evans United Show, said.

Open from July 9 to 19, the carnival will feature a number of attractions, including the unique, made-in-Holland ride The Freak Out, along with food and fun for the family. The carnival is what Owsley considers a little slice of getting back to normal.

“I think we’re all ready to get back to normal, as much as this is normal. I think our normal world has changed here, but we all are ready to get back and out into the public life and start, of course, under safe conditions,” she said.

Taking a cue from other carnivals and events like the Missouri State Fair and theme parks like Worlds of Fun, Evans United will have a completely masked staff, as well as sanitation stations at every ride, sanitation fog conducted on rides throughout the day, signs promoting social distancing and measures on rides to keep people spaced out. Free masks will also be available for anyone who needs it.

Owsley said the carnival takes peoples’ health seriously and wants visitors to feel comfortable and safe as they’re having fun.

“I feel like we’re prepared and the health department, they gave us our permits, and we got our business license permit. We’ve worked with them all and everybody feels like we’re all in this together. We’re ready to go,” Owsley said.

Tyson Huff-Garza, a spokesperson for the East Hills Shopping Center, said they’re happy to have the carnival back for another year. While plans had been in the works for about a year, it was unclear at first whether it would happen.

“We are excited for the event. This has been under contract since last year. Since restrictions have been lifted in St. Joseph, we were able to consider the carnival this year,” he said.

Formerly held in Downtown St. Joseph at the riverfront, the carnival moved in 2019 to the mall as part of a partnership. Owsley said it’s been a good collaboration that continues to bring out the faithful in St. Joseph along with newcomers.

“It’s right here, close to home. Our family is real close to us in Plattsburg and everybody is so super friendly. (Mall General Manager) Sabrena Housman’s been super great. We’re ready to see people come out,” she said.

The carnival is open on weeknights starting at 6 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays starting at 1 p.m.

Individual ride coupons are $1.25 each, with discount coupons at 20 for $20 and 50 for $45. An unlimited ride wristband is $25. All ages are welcome.

Andrew Gaug can be reached at andrew.gaug@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @NPNOWGaug