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Colorama gamble paid off for families, chamber

 

Kids bump and roll in the "power bubble" attraction at the Colorama Fun Zone, which turned out to be a big success. - Scott Hunter photo

A risky first-time replacement to the traditional Colorama carnival came through as a big positive for most families with children and even helped the fund-raiser's bottom line, the chamber of commerce reported Tuesday.

The Fun Zone, home to nine big, inflatable slide-and-jump attractions, was a major hit with families, Peggy Nevsimal, executive director of the Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce stated Tuesday.

The rented attractions were a last-minute replacement for the carnival, which the chamber learned just weeks ago would not be coming.

The Fun Zone was a big hit, particularly with youngsters and their family members who had brought them to Banks Lake Park, where the inflatables were set up. Some 450 kids took advantage of the new feature.

Nevsimal noted that the Fun Zone revenue portion that went to the chamber of commerce was three times the amount that the group had gained from the carnival revenue last year.

There was plenty of shade for parents and grandparents to sit in, as the youngsters ran from inflatable to inflatable, or donned the "power bubbles" which cost extra.

While some said the downside may have been less to interest teenagers, members of the Lake Roosevelt Raider baseball team did reportedly have fun in the power bubbles before heading to a game out of town Saturday. Comments were overwhelmingly positive, and already some in the chamber are anxious to "bring them back" again, maybe even this year.

"I'll consider that a major success," Nevsimal stated Tuesday. Colorama was held on the same weekend this year as the Apple Blossom celebration in Wenatchee.

The amount of money the festival brought in for the chamber was down about 14 percent compared to last year, but expenses were down too, mostly due to the lack of a carnival, which may or may not be a good thing overall. No carnival may have affected the vendor sales in the park. The 70 craft and food booths took in about 15 percent less than a year ago.

"Time will tell whether they want to return if we continue to not have a carnival," Nevsimal said.

There was also a 5-percent decline from beer tent revenue. The Ridge Riders also had a refreshment area, "The Rattlesnake Saloon" at the rodeo grounds, and two local bars offered live music.

In total, Nevsimal estimated the chamber's Colorama 2016 efforts netted the organization nearly $2,500 more than last year's event.

The Colorama parade was another highlight, winding its way through the streets for about an hour. Four bands and several rodeo queens from other cities were on hand, and a good grouping of horse riders added fun for the crowd.

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