IT”S NO PICNIC WITHOUT A MERRY – GO-ROUND – If the lack of a Merry-Go-Round and a Ferris Wheel was of great concern to the throngs of people who piled into downtown El Dorado for the three nights of the Annual Picnic, they didn’t say much about it. However, for a lot of local folk and long-time Picnic goers, it was almost like a slap in the face. Everyone knows that the Merry-Go-Round goes in the middle of the street at the intersection of Spring and Main and the Ferris Wheel goes at the top of North Main where it joins with Broadway. But the gremlins, trolls and pixies got into the machinery of an otherwise smooth sailing 140th event and we had to make do.
I talked to City Manager Bruce Rogers on Saturday who said the city learned earlier in the week that the carnival company didn’t have a Ferris Wheel. (The Carnival Company double booked and the Ferris Wheel went to the other location.) But the city didn’t learn that we wouldn’t have a merry-go-round until Wednesday afternoon. According the Rogers the owners take the Ferris Wheel and the merry-go-round with them and they went to the other location. He also said that we have a three year contract with Fun Time Shows and the dates of the Picnic are written on the contract.
Rogers said there is confusion sometimes with vendors because we don’t have the same dates for each Picnic – like the third weekend in the month. Every now and then it is the fourth weekend as it was this time. The date moves because the Picnic is supposed to be the closest to July 20, the founding date of the town. For a while, the Picnic was referred to as “The 20th” and it was celebrated on that day. Rogers said he had heard that it hadn’t always been that way. I couldn’t find any reference to it being otherwise. I did find that around 1950, the Picnic Date was set for the Thursday, Friday and Saturday closest to July 20 rather than the actual day of July 20.
From time-to-time there have been people who suggested that the Picnic be moved to a cooler time in the year – like October.
Anyway, Rogers also mentioned that another problem the carnival company had was a lack of workers. He said that after the Picnic, “conversations will ensue. We’ll talk about it.”