Matt McDonagh has a longstanding connection to the Fraser Carnival.
The head of Big Rock Amusements – a family-owned and operated traveling amusement park – was raised in the entertainment industry and has over 40 years of industry experience, according to the company’s website .
“I remember working at the Fraser event with my dad’s carnival (McDonagh Amusements) when I was 17 and I’m 51 now,” he said Wednesday. “This shows you how long I’ve known the people of Fraser.”
The Big Rock teams are here in Macomb County, setting up around 30 rides, food vendors and other activities for the annual Fraser Lions 2021 Carnival, which begins Thursday in Steffens Park at the corner of 14 Mile and Garfield Highways.
McDonagh said Fraser stands out in his mind as having the longest time to use his services.
“Fraser stands out because it’s just a big community event that everyone is looking forward to, kind of like going back to basics,” he said. “The city and the Lions Club coordinate everything very well. It’s one of the best run shows we do.
In addition to the Great Lakes State, Big Rock Amusements offers entertainment for Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
After a one-year absence due to the pandemic, carnival returns, but some associated activities have been suspended. For example, local organizers have decided, given the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, not to hold a parade in town this year.
McDonagh said the labor shortage has also had an impact on its industry. While saying “we are certainly happy to be returning to Michigan,” he said the lack of workers was a struggle.
“We have a very good crew but we lack help, like the rest of the country. We have not been able to obtain H2B visas for our foreign nationals, which is the case for most of our industry, ”he said.
The Fraser Lions Carnival has become a much-anticipated celebration of the city’s four-square-mile hometown. This is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Lions Club, according to the club’s website.
The four-day event kicks off Thursday at 4 p.m. at Steffens Park and continues throughout the weekend. It is punctuated by the closing carnival fireworks on Sunday, which promises to be colorful and exciting.
Typically, the fireworks display cost the city about $ 10,000, with the Lions Club reimbursing Fraser $ 8,000 and City Council the remaining $ 2,000.
But in June, the board voted to increase its share from $ 2,000 to $ 4,000, using COVID recovery funds to compensate additional baby boomers. Mayor Michael Carnagie said last month that it was “everything to get back to normal and party”.
A worker carries firewood as he prepares for the Fraser Lions Club carnival.
MITCH HOTTS – THE DAILY MACOMB
Highlights include the beer tent, vendor show, and live entertainment. Bands include Svnth Son, The Geri’s, Kids of Rock n Roll prep school, Crewsade, Silver Studz, and Interstate 90’s Detroit.
The hours of the event are 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, Friday midnight to midnight, Saturday noon to midnight and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. Entry and parking are free. All day carnival bracelets cost $ 25 Thursday through Saturday, $ 30 Sunday.
For more information and a full schedule of events, visit fraserlions.com.
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