Golden Wheel Amusements to host Hometown Jamboree at Palmer Fairgrounds

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 7:19 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - It’s about that time of year when normally we would be headed to Palmer for thrilling rides, tasty food, entertaining performances and local shopping — all a part of the Alaska State Fair. While that’s not happening this year, there’s still a way you can get a taste of it on a smaller scale. With many large summer events canceled, it’s been a tough season for Golden Wheel Amusements.

“It has been very worrying. It has been interesting. Our last event being open was Fur Rendezvous in February,” said Chase Eckert with Golden Wheel. “We had to scale back. We haven’t had a lot of the expenses we normally have when we’re operating, so our insurance we can turn off, but fuel and labor are our two biggest expenses. It’s been really sad because we haven’t been able to employ a lot of people here in the state.”

Now, the company is in a position to hire a few more people ahead of the three-week long Alaska Hometown Jamboree starting this weekend. It’s a partnership between Golden Wheel Amusements and the Alaska State Fair. Eckert says they’ve coordinated with the Palmer Police Department and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services to open in the safest way possible.

“There is no way to completely remove risk from anything that we do, and in this case, we are doing everything that we can to mitigate risk within our power. Our employees will be required to wear masks. We’re also sanitizing the rides in between users and we’re limiting capacity greatly — not just of the fairgrounds, but also the rides to ensure we’re maintaining physical distancing by six feet.”

Eckert says the Hometown Jamboree is opening in part out of necessity for an annual mechanical inspection needed for next year's operations. Other safety measures include sanitation stations installed throughout the grounds for use by the public and employees. Outdoor dining areas will also be sanitized regularly and tables will be placed further apart. Golden Wheel says physical distancing markers will be used to spread out those who are waiting in line.

The Alaska Hometown Jamboree will run from 12-10 p.m. August 8 through 23. It will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Tickets are $50 for a full day ride pass and $20 for non-riders. For more information or to purchase a ticket, visit Golden Wheel Amusement’s website.

Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.

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