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Carnival carries July tradition

Mike Davis takes a break with his two boys, Isaac, 11, and Harley, 9.  - Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times
Mike Davis takes a break with his two boys, Isaac, 11, and Harley, 9.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

Carnival life runs in Mike Davis’ blood.

As a kid he traveled with his parents while they ran Davis Amusement Cascadia.

“I saw a lot of different places,” he said. “There was plenty of traveling.”

A third-generation carnival owner, Davis now shares the business with his own children, ages 9, 11, and 12 during the summer months. His grandparents began Davis Amusement Cascadia in Portland, Ore., with five small rides in 1948. Since then the family business has grown “big time,” Davis said.

More than 60 years later, the carnival employs about 100 people and operates close to 50 rides in addition to game booths and food vendors, Davis said.

Davis’ offerings include popular mainstays like bumper cars and the Mardi Gras Fun House for the young, leisurely set and adrenaline-pumping rides like The Ring of Fire for those seeking a white-knuckle experience.

Corn dogs and elephant ears are among the most popular carnie-fare, he said.

Most of his employees travel with him throughout the season, their jobs varying from game and ride operators to food vendors with a weekly pay range of $350 to $1,500 a week, depending on the job, he said.

The carnival greets bright-eyed children across the west who yearn for sugar highs and exciting rides from February 1 through Halloween each year with stops in Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.

“We’re based out of Las Vegas, Nevada,” he said. “We travel all the way to the Canada border and back.”

This is Davis’ first time in Oak Harbor, but he’s confident there’ll be a good turn out.

“We always get a lot of people on the Fourth of July,” he said.

The carnival continues through today, July 4, from noon to 9 p.m., and Sunday, July 5 from noon to 9 p.m. at Windjammer Park. One day pass tickets cost $25 each.

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