Carnival rides leave Carolina Beach Boardwalk a week early

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The carnival rides at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk have been taken down earlier than expected.
The carnival rides at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk have been taken down earlier than expected. Photo by Hannah Leyva.

A mix-up in dates has led to the amusement area at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk being taken down a week before anticipated.

“The carnival ride operator got double-booked for Labor Day weekend,” said Town Manager Michael Cramer.

According to Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce Director Greg Reynolds, the majority of summer contracts, like the one with the carnival operator, run from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. In most years, that is a 15-week stretch of time. This year, that period happened to span 16 weeks, which caused a scheduling overlap.

“He had a contract to be in Florida by Saturday, so he up and left,” Reynolds said.

Cramer said the town did not know the rides and games, which were operating on private property that will remain empty in the off-season unless needed for extra parking or special events, were leaving this week.

“We were unaware until we saw them starting to take them down on Sunday,” Cramer said.

Reynolds said that the impact of the carnival rides and games vacating the area before the last holiday weekend of the summer would not be as bad as if it happened earlier in the season.

“It hurts our businesses a little,” said Reynolds. “But Labor Day is typically slower. I don’t think we’ll be as busy as the 4th of July or Memorial Day, but we’ll be busier than normal weekends.”

He said visitors and residents will still have plenty to do in the boardwalk area over the long weekend, including an extended fireworks show on Friday night and live entertainment.

“We’ve had a few negative comments, but we still have a free concert, fireworks and movie this weekend,” Reynolds said. “There may be some disappointed kids that wanted to ride the rides, but we’ve still got lots of other things.”