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Carnival rides

Mighty Thomas Carnival rides and slides were filled with customers at MontanaFair on Tuesday afternoon. Monday was one of the top-grossing days in Mighty Thomas Carnival history.

Buddy Night at MontanaFair Monday proved to be among the biggest days in the history of the Mighty Thomas Carnival.

The buy one wristband, get one free promotion helped bring in more than $137,000 in ride receipts, among the biggest days in the company’s 90-year history, said John Hanschen, Mighty Thomas Carnival president, during the daily MontanaFair update provided to the MetraPark Advisory Board.

“We’re very lucky, blessed and happy,” he said over the noon hour Tuesday just after hosting more than 1,200 special needs residents, who got free rides and free food for two hours before Tuesday’s MontanaFair opening.

The nearly 27,000 people who attended Monday drove MontanaFair's 2018 attendance to nearly 95,000. That’s about 6,000 behind the record attendance set in 2016, despite the relentless heat over the weekend that may have kept some fair-goers away.

Also as of Tuesday morning, total revenue stood at about $872,000, about 10 percent behind the record pace of 2016.

Opportunity Farm, a series of five barns designed to educate fair-goers about production agriculture, has now been seen by about 1,000 people, reported Ray Massie, MetraPark’s marketing and sales director.

Tuesday was also a day to look ahead: film crews began shooting commercials that will be used next year to promote the 2019 MontanaFair. As a bonus, fair-goers who agreed to appear on camera received food and beverage coupons.

The daily updates are designed not only to inform the public and the advisory board, but to recognize MontanaFair employees and give props to organizations making contributions that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Tuesday was Singh Contracting Day at MontanaFair. Friedel LLC was also doing its part, contributing $3,000 to help 200 children in foster care to attend MontanaFair Wednesday.

“There are so many little things that go on here that often go overlooked, including the special needs rides (Tuesday) morning,” said Denis Pitman, a member of the Yellowstone County Board of Commissioners. “Those little things have a huge effect on what goes on here.”

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City Government Reporter

City reporter for The Billings Gazette.