The Athens Lions Club will again bring a piece of America to life this summer with the opening of their annual Kiddie Carnival June 29th. A mixture of joy, excitement and anticipation will fill the air as veteran and new riders wait their turn to ride one of the 10 rides for toddlers and young children. One such ride is the small vintage train that circles on its own track, riders scream and raise their arms as it goes through the dark train shed. Other kids and families wait in line for delicious favorites including funnel cakes, popcorn and hamburgers. Concessions also include corn dogs, chicken sandwiches, cold drinks, snow cones and dippin dots.

The Athens Lions Club Kiddie Carnival has provided generations of fun for kids and their parents, grandparents and friends. Located at the same site since 1957; it’s a summer pastime for many who now bring their kids out to enjoy the Kiddie Carnival. The Kiddie Carnival will open June 29th, with an opening ceremony at 6:00pm and rides opening around 6:30pm. Each ride requires just one 50 cent ticket. Families from surrounding communities are learning about this summer treasure of fun for their young kids.

As families enter the Kiddie Carnival, to their right old vintage rocket ships circle as the motor hums, kids giggle and watch the crowd as they zoom around. Just as the riders settle into the flight a Lion member changes the control so the rockets rise up a few feet, circle for a while in “orbit” and then drop back down. Other rides include small and large swings, a parachute ride that takes riders up as it circles and then come back down and a small scale roller coaster. The scrambler ride circles on its platform as kids spin in their seat, heading toward the crowd and then back to the center. Enjoyed by toddlers are the old fashion pedal cars that go around and the carousel with horses, as their parents stand beside them on the ride. For the more adventurous riders there is a small ferris wheel that takes the riders up above the crowd where they look over the sights and sounds of another fun night at the Kiddie Carnival.

The Kiddie Carnival is operated by Athens Lions Club members and other countless volunteers. Assistance to operate the Kiddie Carnival is provided by spouses of club members, the Leo Club, local high school sororities and other civic groups and businesses as well as individual volunteers.

Athens Lions President Tim Carter stated “It is a wonderful experience each summer to be able to witness all the kids having such a grand time at the carnival and knowing that at the same time we are raising funds that go to help some of our less fortunate families with expenses for correcting their visual problems.”

A part of the funds from last year’s Kiddie Carnival were recently used to fund scholarships for 5 local high school seniors who volunteered at the carnival and met other criteria. Lions International key focus area is sight. The Athens Lions Club supports this by helping those in the Athens who qualify with sight exams or glasses, as well as collecting used eyeglasses to be recycled. In the past year they have supported Alabama Lions Sight Conservation Association, Camp ASCCA and Camp Seale Harris, a camp for youth with diabetes and local causes.

The club, through manpower or funding, has provided assistance to Limestone Career Technical School Leo Club; Learn to read council, Hospice of Limestone County, Superhero Fun Day, Athens Grease Festival and the Athens Storytelling Festival. The big train has been taken to numerous civic events including riding in the Athens Christmas parade and providing rides at the Limestone Sherriff’s Special Needs Rodeo. It is the generous support of the Kiddie Carnival that allows these programs and community support by the Athens Lions Club.

The Kiddie Carnival is located across from Athens Middle School at 309 E Forrest Street. It is open every Thursday, Friday & Saturday night June 29th-August 5th from 6:30pm-9:30pm. Additional information about the Kiddie Carnival can be found at http://e-clubhouse.org/sites/athensal/ or their Facebook page: Athens Lions Club Kiddie Carnival.

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