A fair time

Carter Cole and Lukacee Smith ride the Pharaoh ride Friday at the Northeast Arkansas District Fair’s Carnival at the Nettleton Baptist Church’s fairgrounds.

JONESBORO — The first day of the Northeast Arkansas District Fair’s Carnival, which began Thursday, brought some people out to the Nettleton Baptist Church’s grounds where the carnival is being held ahead of the fair, which opens Monday.

Mitch Johnson, NEA District Fair general manager, said Friday that all of the rides, games and concessions are open on the midway for the carnival, which concludes today. The carnival is open from noon-11 p.m. today.

“We’re happy we got the opportunity to open the carnival,” he said. “We hope tonight (Friday) we’ll do better.”

This is the first year the carnival has been held. Last year the entire fair was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were disappointed, We didn’t think we could provide a safe atmosphere last year,” Johnson said.

But Johnson is optimistic about this year’s carnival and fair.

“The weather’s perfect. We’d love to see people come out for it,” he said.

Johnson, who’s worked at the fair for 31 years and as the general manager for the last six years, said he is satisfied with the security for the carnival and fair, pointing out that about eight Jonesboro police officer provide security during the weekdays with more helping out on weekend. About 15 reserve officers help with directing parking and traffic.

“We don’t have a problem paying for security,” Johnson said.

General admission for the fair, which runs Monday through Oct. 2, is $6 for adults and $3 for children under 12. Children ages 3 and under are admitted free. Rides on the midway cost extra.

Johnson said for next year he’s looking at having a nine-day fair.