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Carnival brings friends, family together

By By Caty Hirst - CHIRST@VICAD.COM
Feb. 21, 2013 at 11:02 p.m.
Updated Feb. 20, 2013 at 8:21 p.m.

Joshua Ybarbo and Alexendria Selinas play a game where they have to toss a ping pong ball into a small bowl of water during the Victoria Livestock Show Carnival at the Victoria Community Center. The carnival will be in town until March 3.

If you go

WHEN: The carnival is open starting at noon on weekends and 5 p.m. on weekdays, running from Thursday to March 3.

WHERE: The Community Center at 2905 East North St. in Victoria

COST: Wrist bands for unlimited rides cost $25 on weekends and $20 on weekdays; tickets are $1 a piece with rides costing multiple tickets.

The five girls from Stroman Middle School came to the Victoria County Livestock Show carnival to do one thing - have fun.

For some, that meant riding the most thrilling rides, and for others, it meant playing the carny games to win little prizes and souvenirs.

But they were there to do it all together because it was girls' night at the fairgrounds.

They ran from ride to ride, snapping blurry pictures to remember the night and sharing secrets over funnel cakes and corn dogs.

On Spinout, Kalea Garcia, 12, raised her hands up high, barely touching the lap bar, and boisterously screaming her way around the wide circles. Marina Salazar, 15, clutched the lap bar tightly, never once letting up on her grip or her quiet, but infectious smile as the duo spun around the wide arcs.

"When the carnival comes, we are ready. We are at the booth getting our wrist bands," said Kalea on Thursday, opening night of the fair.

She said on a normal Thursday night, the group of girls would probably be at home, so the two weeks of the carnival jazz up life in Victoria.

Ashley Pina, 15, said she hopes to be at the carnival every night.

"It's better than being at home, it's better than Skate World or the movies. This is just so much better," Ashley said.

Her dad, Roger Pina, said he doesn't mind letting Ashley go to the carnival with her friends. He said giving the kids something to do helps keep them out of trouble.

He said he plans to bring his two younger daughters later in the week and make it a family event.

"I like going myself; it makes me feel like a little kid again. It's not like you do it every day. It's not in Victoria every day. So when it is there, take advantage," Pina said.

Larry Rost, general manager of the carnival, said his staff works hard to make it a family-friendly environment.

"We want to make sure everyone has a good time," Rost said, adding that the employees have nightly meetings to go over complaints and improve their performance.

He said carnivals provide a valuable entertainment service to smaller communities.

"Small towns need something to do and no matter how much money people make, they still look for the best price," Rost said.

Veronica Jaramillo, at the carnival with her 4-year-old son and her husband, said they bought a $20 wrist band to get unlimited rides for their son.

"Everyone waits for the carnival. Everyone looks forward to it because it is a good family night," she said.

Kalea, not ready to end the night to return to school Friday, said she plans to return to the two-week long carnival again.

"These people at home sleeping should get up, get dressed and come ride the Drop Zone. I just feel so courageous now," Kalea said, staring up at the tall ride.

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