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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Annandale carnival brings family fun to bowling alley parking lot

Annandale’s annual spring carnival may be just a little harder to find this year, but it’s still got all the rides, games, and junk food as in past years. The carnival has been moved from the Kmart parking lot to the lot in front of the AMF Annandale Lanes bowling alley on Markham Street.

Among the new rides this year is the Supercat, a kids’ roller coaster with cars shaped like caterpillars, and the Freak Out, a scarier ride like a giant swing, says Craig Nelson, the manager of the Annandale carnival, who’s been with Reithoffer Shows for 35 years. He says the most popular game is the water race and the most popular prizes are the stuffed Smurfs and Sponge Bob.

The carnival in Annandale is just one small branch of the Reithoffer operation, based in Tampa, Fla., which sends carnivals to shopping centers, fair grounds, and festivals up and down the East Cost.

Randy Winter, a machine operator, will be setting up and taking down the rides later this summer at the Virginia, Vermont, and New York state fairs, and the peanut festival in Alabama. Winter is on the road 10 months a year, living in a trailer. He says it’s hard on carnival workers with families, and most of them don’t have children or leave their kids at home, although a few homeschool their children on the road.

George and Ashley Ureina of Annandale
There’s also a bigger Reihoffer carnival in Hyattsville going on now, and the workers for both shows commute from Manassas where they rent a camping ground for their 150 vehicles and mobile homes for some 80 workers during their stay in the Washington area. Nelson acknowledges the high price of gasoline is taking a huge bite out of their profits.

The Annandale carnival is sponsored by the Annandale Chamber of Commerce and a portion of the proceeds benefits the Virginia Special Olympics.

It is open through May 20, Monday through Thursday 5-10 p.m., Friday 4-11 p.m., Saturday noon-11 p.m., and Sunday 4-11 p.m.


  1. Is thsi page updated on a regular basis?

  2. yes same question as ^^^ but do u guys have any upcoming carnivals