PHOTO GALLERY: Kids and Parents Flock to Carnival on First Night of SummerFest
The wrist band special on Thursday night gave carnival goers unlimited rides and nonstop fun.
Even though the Ankeny SummerFest carnival runs for the remainder of the week, tonight's draw of unlimited rides with a wrist band showed why the first day is indeed a popular one.
Dave and Val Busdman of Ankeny have made Thursday's opening night at the carnival a tradition with their family over the years. The Busdmans looked on as their teenage sons and nephews from Minneapolis spun in circles on the Tilt-a-Whirl ride.
"It's a good night to just let 'em go," Dave said.
Sisters Ameera and Asyia Ali, ages 7 and 5, were riding the rocket ships but their mother, Keeley, said they prefer rides meant for the older crowd. One of their favorites is the fast-moving gator roller coaster.
"They weren't big enough for the bumper cars last year so we will have to see if they are this year," Keeley said.
The daring girls said they even like going through the haunted playhouse.
"The walls move and you can run right through," Ameera said after her two rides on the rocket ships.
Certainly no carnival visit would be complete without a few visits to the food stands which line the sidewalk south of the rides.
Zach Keeley, 10, and his brother Jake, 5, were on the hunt for funnel cakes. Zach was confident he could consume two of the powder sugar-dusted desserts. His younger brother wasn't so sure.
When the grandparents come to town, then the possibilities are endless. That's the case for Quinn Geiger, 4, and his brother Zoey, 7. Their grandmother, Karen, visiting from Keokuk, ran down their menu as her two grandsons stood by and devoured grape-flavored snow cones.
"Of course they have to have a funnel cake and then a corn dog. The whole thing," Karen said.
Quinn and Zoey's father, Rob, couldn't help himself either. Dad, too, wasn't shy as he chowed down on a foot long corn dog covered in mustard.
Finally, after twirling themselves silly and filling up on food, carnival goers tried their putt-putt skills on the miniature golf course which is adjacent to the carnival on the east side in the tennis courts.
Curtis Bragg, 10, and buddy Spencer Forrest, 10, buzzed around the course, which was designed and constructed by the Ankeny High School cheerleaders.
Money raised from the event benefits the cheer squad.
Tammy Gauer, a mother of one current and one former cheerleader who graduated last year, said they hope the event will raise nearly $4,000.
"This is a huge part of fund-raising for the year and (this money) will support a lot for the cheerleaders," Gauer said.
Both miniature golf and the carnival will run through Sunday, the last day of SummerFest.