With neon-colored carnival rides blanketing American Legion Carl Boyd Post 42’s fairgrounds, area families are embracing the opportunity to have fun in spite of COVID-19. Started Sept. 2, the Peachtree Rides offering is continuing today and Sunday at 3 p.m.
The midway company is leasing the property from Bartow Home & Memorial Inc., which owns the fairgrounds at 1 Roosevelt St. in Cartersville, behind Hobby Lobby.
“Post 42 does not own the property that the fairgrounds and buildings are located on,” Post 42 Commander Glen Thompson said. “That is a totally separate corporation, which purchased the property in 1946 for the American Legion Post 42 to have a permanent home.
“The agreement between the corporation and Peachtree Rides is between them. Hopefully, there will be a donation made to the post.”
Promoted as the “End of Summer Labor Day Spectacular,” Peachtree Rides’ carnival is conducting temperature checks, providing hand washing and sanitizing stations, and requiring attendees to wear face coverings.
According to a statement from Post 42, “The Midway provider — Peachtree Rides — has leased the fairgrounds for random periods in which they may set up food trailers, rides and carnival-related activities — independent of American Legion sponsorship. They are required to follow the guidelines established by governing agencies to include mask, wipe downs and distancing requirements. For information, see their website at www.peachtreerides.com.”
Due to the pandemic, Post 42 will not be presenting one of its signature events this year — Bartow County Fair, originally set for Oct. 21 to 25.
“The decision to cancel the fair unfortunately was made in response to COVID-19,” Thompson said. “During the months of March, April and May is when the final planning comes together.
“Our vendors and sponsors were reluctant to commit due to the unknowns associated with the epidemic. Once the fairs and festivals surrounding us began to cancel their events, it kind of snowballed across north Georgia.”
This will be only the second time since the 1940s that the Bartow County Fair has not took center stage at the Post 42 fairgrounds.
“There was one year during the Korean War the fair was cancelled out of respect for those from the county who were serving the nation’s call,” Thompson said. “So, the tradition behind the fair and its association with the American Legion Post 42 are traditional.
“I’ve been the fair chairman for the last six or seven years and the work that goes into it and trying to grow it back into [a] fair and not just a midway is exhausting volunteer work. I’m concerned as to the potential long-term setbacks that may arise out of canceling this year. On the bright side, we’ve already moved our focus to 2021.”
Along with pausing the Legion’s long-standing tradition, the Bartow County Fair’s cancellation will have a devastating impact on Post 42’s income stream and programs.
“The fair is the major source of about 80% of income for Post 42,” Thompson said. “All charitable programs receive their funding from the fair. One-hundred percent of [the] fair is returned to the community-sponsored or associated programs. There are 28 organizations in the county that over the last three years have received benefits from the fair.
“Our scholarships, veterans in extended care facilities and youth programs take the hardest hit. Hopefully, through some of our raffles and other events sponsored by Post 42, we can recover enough that we don’t have to abandon our partners. The public is invited to take part in these activities. We need their help.”
Further details about the American Legion and its offerings can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 770-382-9150.