The carnival may not be coming to town.
Golden Wheel Amusements, the carnival company whose annual presence on the central Kenai Peninsula has become a springtime staple for the young and young-at-heart alike, may have to pass on the area for the first time since it began coming in 1969.
On Friday, Golden Wheel President Jacqueline Leavitt said her company has not yet found a site willing to host this year's carnival in the Kenai area and time is running out.
"It's a possibility it may not happen," Leavitt said from Anchorage, where the company is based.
In the past, the carnival has set up shop in the parking lot of local businesses, including the Kenai Mall, Three Bears and Big Kmart. However, due to a number of circumstances, Leavitt said none of those sites or others the company has looked at are viable options at this point.
"We've been scouring the peninsula," Leavitt said.
Home Depot, which moved into the Big Kmart building, has said no. Local schools have nixed the idea. Three Bears is not an option because of the potential for water pooling in the parking lot. And the Kenai Mall, where the carnival has traditionally been located, doesn't look good either.
The issue with the mall, Leavitt said, is that Carr-Gottstein properties has an agreement with the State of Alaska for parking that apparently is keeping the company from using the lot. However, Leavitt said the property manager for the site is out of the country, and she's hoping that once the person gets back to the state, the situation can be resolved.
"My last hope is the old Carrs Mall," Leavitt said. "We're waiting for the manager of that property to get back."
If an agreement can't be reached, Leavitt said the carnival likely will skip Kenai this year something she said she doesn't want to see happen.
"It's something the community really loves and enjoys so much, and so do we," she said.
Leavitt said Golden Wheel needs to locate a site before her trucks get rolling for Homer, where they'll hold a carnival the weekend of May 14-16. Golden Wheel needs to have a site in Kenai or Soldotna by the time it leaves Anchorage on Sunday, she said.
"We have to know pretty soon," she said, "or we'll be making other plans."
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.