(Orange, Texas)

September 28, 2013

New ride makes debut at Orange Lions Carnival

Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — An annual tradition is back for another eight-day run of family fun and entertainment and with a new attraction.

The Orange Lions Club Carnival opens to the public at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 2 and continues through Saturday, Oct. 5. The carnival resumes its two-week, eight-day run from Oct. 9 through Oct. 12 at Orange Lions Den Park, which is visible from MacArthur Drive and Main Avenue.

For more than 70 years, the Lions Club Carnival has remained arguably the most popular fun-filled family oriented event in Orange County. The carnival offers patrons great games, tasty food, arts and crafts, and, of course, those thrilling rides for all ages.

The carnival will offer the same great activities and carnival rides that area patrons have come to know and love, but Chris Kovatch, carnival chairperson, and the members of the Orange Lions Club have had an eye on the future as well.

“The Thunder Bolt is a new ride we bought earlier this year to replace the Flying Bobs, which was one of our most popular rides,” Kovatch said. “Ever since we lost it because of Hurricane Ike, we have been working towards getting a new ride to replace it.”

Kovatch said there will be no mistaking which ride is the Thunder Bolt from both a visual and auditory perspective.

“It is extremely visual. It has so many more lights than the Flying Bobs did, it is very bright,” he added. “And we will be hooking up the sound system over the weekend, so it is going to be loud too.”

Kovatch said the Thunder Bolt is the newest ride owned by the Orange Lions  Club and the most modern technologically.

“It’s a computer operated ride,” Kovatch explained. “The speed of the ride and the length of time of the ride are all programmed into the computer. It is definitely the center piece of our carnival. It’s a big ride and a real beast to put together. It took about two weeks, but the inspector said it is one of the cleanest rides of the kind he has ever seen, so we are excited for people to take a spin on it.”

Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for students each day of the carnival. “Kiddie Day” is from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5. Admission is free from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on “Kiddie Day” only. This year opening day will have a special pricing option and will help provide assistance to local charitable organizations.

“Wednesday is going to be ‘Joe Will Day,’” Kovatch stated. “We wanted to honor Joe in our own special way and we will do that at the ribbon cutting at 5:30 p.m. He has done so much for the Lions Club through his work with the city for so many years.”

Will retired in early 2013 after 30 years of service to the City of Orange as its Parks Manager and played a key part in assisting the Orange Lions Club in its preparation for the annual carnival every fall.

“Instead of paying admission on opening day, patrons may enter free if they bring one canned good per person,” he continued. “We will donate those canned goods to a local charity. I’m hoping we have enough to split it between a couple charities.”

Proceeds from the carnival are used by the Lions Club, and supporting Lions Clubs from across the area, to help in their various charitable endeavors.

Other changes to the 2013 Orange Lions Club Carnival include the relocation and redesign of the goldfish booth to accommodate its popularity and larger crowds, the addition of a rock climbing wall from the Vidor Lions Club, upgrades to the electrical system, additional lighting for security and the removal of the Scrambler.

“We’re running without the Scrambler this year. We set it up and then took it back down because we need to make some upgrades to the ride,” Kovatch said. “But we could possibly consider buying a newer model.

“We know people love the Lions Carnival,” he continued. “We want to have the safest carnival we can, and we want it to continue to be very affordable. We love the history, but we want it to be something everybody looks forward to in coming years which may include adding new rides to replace older ones over time.”

The carnival is open from 6:30 p.m. - 10 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, and 6:30 p.m. - 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday of each week, except “Kiddie Day” which is when the carnival opens at 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5.