Fraser carnival aims to remain biggest show in town

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published July 14, 2015

 Keith Wallace and his son, Collin, slide with Phil Hubinsky and his daughter, Rebecca, on one of the tallest attractions at the Fraser Carnival last summer.

Keith Wallace and his son, Collin, slide with Phil Hubinsky and his daughter, Rebecca, on one of the tallest attractions at the Fraser Carnival last summer.

Photo by Donna Agusti

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FRASER — Mark Hemelberg said the 2014 rendition of the Fraser Lions Carnival saw estimates of 25,000-40,000 people in attendance, solidifying the event as the continued premier social affair in the city.


Hemelberg, who is the 2015 festival chairman following the retirement of former chairman and Fraser Lions Club member Dale Moase, said the festivities at Steffens Park are part of a proven formula that brings people out for four days of family fun.


This year’s carnival takes place from Thursday, July 23 to Sunday, July 26.

The event will take runs from 4-11 p.m. July 23, 4 p.m.-midnight July 24, noon-midnight 

July 25 and noon-10 p.m. July 26.


Big Rock Amusements continues to provide the entertainment as part of a five-year contract that was approved by City Council last year, and there will continue to be carnival rides galore.


Fireworks, as usual, will take place the last day of the carnival around 10 p.m. — or when the skies are clear enough to witness the theatrics.


The biggest threat to any fun, Hemelberg said, is if the weather turns sour. While one day was basically rained out in 2013, the 2014 carnival saw a sunny disposition.


“About the only thing that can hurt us is the weather,” Hemelberg said.


Parks and Recreation Director Christina Woods said it’s the first year her department is getting involved.


Aside from offering craft and vendor shows where people can sell an array of items, Parks and Recreation is also setting up the Sunday parade and four food vendors — Fraser’s Vintage House and Jimmy’s Coney Grill, and Roseville’s Old School Deli and Stonewood Smokehouse.


The craft show has been part of the carnival for a long time, Woods said, and upwards of 20 different vendors will be there to offer face painting, jewelry and refurbished decorations, among other things.


“We went through the perimeter outside of Fraser, as well, because we’re a community,” Woods said. “It’s a lot of work just getting the equipment out there and setting up.”


And when it comes to safety, expect a family-friendly environment that has been the norm for years.


George Rouhib, director of the Fraser Department of Public Safety, said there were only a handful of arrests from Thursday to Sunday at last year’s event. That came on the heels of a similar amount of arrests in 2013, mostly due to teenagers or to drunken guests.


Rouhib said every sworn officer in the city will be monitoring the carnival in some capacity, along with extra staffing for ambulances and dispatch. Officers will be more on the lookout this year with making sure adults do not pass alcoholic beverages to minors, too.


“(Officers and private security are) going to contain the beer inside the tent, and there’s going to be a fenced-out area outside the tent for drinking,” Rouhib said. “Everyone will be working in groups and have a zero-tolerance policy.


“We just want everyone to have fun. The last eight or nine years, the patrons were allowed to leave the beer tent with alcohol. Now it’s contained.”


Hemelberg said one officer will be assigned to the tent on Thursday and Friday, with two monitoring the action on Saturday and then an array of officers in the vicinity all day Sunday.


For someone who has lived in the city since 1954 and graduated from Fraser High School in 1969, he said the carnival appeals to both the young and older crowd.


“It’s a fun time,” Hemelberg said. “It’s kind of a city reunion.”


Steffens Park is located at 33000 Garfield Road, behind City Hall. Admission is free.

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