LENEXA, Kan. — A Kansas City-based carnival company called Evans Midland Empire Shows is back in business after a year of quarantine. President Andrew Evans said the entire family is excited to open its doors again and continue the family business of bringing smiles to the community.
“I'm just excited for things to start getting back to normal.” Evans said. "I think everybody has just missed out on that joy, that feeling of hope and fun.”
Evans is finding his joy again after shutting down his passion project for a full year. Evans Midland Empire Shows has been a family business for four generations. His grandfather and great grandfather built it from the ground up after World War II.
“I just love being able to pass this onto my children,” Evans said. “They are seven and four, so they’ve got some time to make up their minds there."
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and everything shut down, it hit home for the Evans. Months went by without a call, which turned into a full year of no income.
“Pandemic was hard. Bills are still due, and you have to come up with payments, but we had no source of income,” Evans said.
As an incentive to get people back out to his carnival, he partnered with Johnson County Health Department for free vaccinations. If you get the shot, you get a free wristband to enter for one free session. Sessions run from 1 to 5 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.
"Johnson County Health Department are trying to meet people where they are. We want Johnson County to be as safe as possible, and we want to make sure everyone has the lowest risk associated with COVID-19,” Disease investigator DC Okonta said.
You can find anything from flying elephants, to spinning motorcycles and if you are up for it, a friendly competition. Parents said it is a fun way to beat the heat.
“We just needed to get out. We passed this on the road and it seemed like a fun place to be,” mother Willow Woodall said.
“Good weather… A lot of people are out having fun since COVID-19,” Catina Champion said.
Evans said it is great to be back, but even more so in his hometown.
“We love being in Kansas City, we are Kansas City, we’re local to Kansas City," he said. "We live here, my kids go to school here… The Kansas City metro area is just, home.”
If you missed the opportunity to come out to the carnival, it will operate its last day on Sunday, June 13, from 1 to 10 p.m. The Johnson County health Department will be at the carnival again from 1 to 3 p.m.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled DC Okonta's last name. It has since been corrected.