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Street fair carnival open thru Sunday

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Benjamin Munoz, 4, makes his way down the Super Slide on Wednesday.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED April 4, 2013 2:16 a.m.

There’s no doubt that California Carnival Co. President Kevin Tate would see a lot more business if the carnival that he finished setting up Wednesday afternoon were closer to the Crossroads Street Faire.

He’s seen it firsthand at the annual Ripon Almond Blossom Festival – one-year he’s separate from the vendors and the booths and the crowds and the next year they’re right next door and helping to provide a captive audience for the midway.

But you’re not going to hear him complain. Not only is it not his style, but Tate smiles when he sets up in communities like Ripon and Manteca. He soaks in the community spirit that he doesn’t get up in his hometown of Sacramento, where he’s been playing fairs since breaking from the Almond Blossom Festival back in late February.

“I like the small towns because they just treat you better here,” Tate said. “For a decade I’ve been working to wash away that “carnie” stereotype, and people here have responded to that. It’s just a more intimate community – we watched some of these kids grow up and now they’ve got their kids out here, and that’s pretty cool.”

And Tate has a pretty decent arsenal of attractions sure to provide fun for the entire family. Here are a few of the things that he brought with him to provide some good ol’ fashioned entertainment”

• The Jumanji Funhouse – This baby is literally brand new – it didn’t crack the lineup at Ripon and was a huge hit when it first debuted at Tate’s last stop. An eye-popping LED package helps accentuate the sharp graphics, but it’s the contents that matter – the mirrors and the ropes and the maze and all of the stuff that you remember a funhouse having. Good for all ages.

• The Typhoon – Another ride new for the 2013 season, Tate pulled out all the stops to secure this Rock-and-Roll romp that uses 22 cars to pull riders up and down through an aquatic-themed attraction. Loud music and smoke only add to the ambiance, but it’s the lights – mesmerizing when the sun goes down – that has made it the most popular on the midway this year.

• The Zipper – It’s the most requested carnival ride in the world, Tate says. But his is the only one in the world that has the LED package that will without a doubt catch the eye of travelers along Highway 99 at night – a prototype that he says nobody has caught onto yet. “If you come to a fair without a zipper the kids aren’t going to be happy,” he said. It’s not exactly for the faint of heart.

• The Ferris Wheel – Measuring in at just over seven-stories tall, this beast – brought over from Norway several years ago – features a Gondola-style seating system that can hold up to six-people. In true Tate fashion, it too has an LED light package – “reduces our carbon footprint,” he says – that adds a little extra to those enjoying the ride at night.

The carnival – which is being held in old Best Buy parking lot – will run today from 5 to 9 p.m., Friday from 5 to 11 p.m. and noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For more information call the Manteca Visitors Center at 823-7229.

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