Annual Family Fun Fest Carnival hosted in Parkland

Multiple game booths are lined up for guests to take their chance and win a prize. Each booth had an array of prizes, ranging from plushes to inflatable bats.

Anna Horowitz, Photographer

Over the span of three days, the annual Parkland Family Fun Fest Carnival took place from Friday, Jan. 13, to Sunday, Jan. 15 at the Amphitheater at Pine Trails Park to celebrate the community. Hundreds of local residents and visitors visited and went on rides, played games, listened to local music performances and ate fair food with family and friends.

Last year, the event returned from a year break after being canceled by COVID-19 complications. Instead of being from Jan. 13-15 like last year, it took place from Jan. 14-16, with different times and performances. The fair was sponsored by Broward Health located in Coral Springs.

This year, Friday had a late start, running from 5-10 p.m. and opening with a performance by The Beautiful Losers. On Saturday, the carnival ran longer, going from 12-11 p.m. and featuring music by Southern Blood and Yacht Rock the Band. For the last day, Sunday, the carnival occurred from 12-6 p.m., ending on a quiet note.

To prevent chaos, the city created a simple ticket purchasing system. Parkland residents were allowed to buy tickets beforehand, given the options of a $30 one-day unlimited ride band and a $60 “Mega Band” for three days with unlimited rides. On site, booths provided a $35 one-day unlimited ride band and tickets for $1 each and a 12 tickets for $10 deal.

The carnival bands gave those who had never been in previous years to experience every part of the fest. Some newcomers had recently moved into town, or lived farther out and were invited by friends.

“The carnival was outstanding,” Boca High junior Trae Schwartzlander said. “There was a great variety of rides and attractions that I thought were really awesome and fun.”

One of the most showcased parts of the fun fest were the rides; thrill-inducing machines that either spin, drop or do everything at once. The drop tower was the main attraction, towering over every other ride and brightening the sky with its multi-color LED lights.

“I had the most fun on the super shot drop ride this year,” MSD junior Hannah Hackney said. “I’ve definitely gained more courage every year that I’ve come and now I’ve gone on it three times this year.”

Including that, multiple rides returned from last year; the “Cliff Hanger” and “Fusion”, both very popular spinning rides, along with low-intensity rides such as “Rockin’ It” and “Swinger.” New thrill rides “casino” and “music fest” also made their debut this year. But the ferris wheel was absent this year, the big ride missing in the sea of amusement rides and booths.

Besides the rides, kids swarmed game booths to earn prizes. Basketball hoops, water guns, breaking bottles, and high strikers were available to play for about $5-$10 each. Common fair food booths were also presented, some providing fried foods, cheeses, funnel cakes, slushies, candies and meats. Some booths kept operating until the end of the very last night, selling plushies and snacks to the park-goers who stayed after the official closing time.

The weather around the week became exceptionally cold, with the cold front bringing in cool winds and weather from the 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Visitors were seen wearing long sleeves and coats throughout the event, and some brave guests participated in short sleeves and tanks.

“I like being able to hang out with my friends outside of school,” junior Natalie Scala said. “It’s nice to see everyone in the town having fun.”

As the sun started to fall below the horizon, visitors and children vacated the site, happy and satisfied by the fun experience.