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Big Island Fair brings thrills

September 1, 2014 - 12:05am

It’s that time of year again.

The Big Island Fair is returning to the Old Kona Airport Park, with festivities set to begin Thursday and run through Sunday. The event, put on by E.K. Fernandez Shows, will feature rides, games, food, a circus and other performances.

Keiki and other patrons full of popcorn and cotton candy can test their stomach with a new ride this year. The Area 51 ride is similar to the Gravitron, where centrifugal force pins riders against a wall with their feet off the ground, allowing them to defy gravity as the ride turns sideways and upside down.

Shaped like a space capsule bedecked with neon lights, Area 51 is beautiful to watch at night, said Donna Smith, vice president of E.K. Fernandez.

The Comedy Canines will make extended appearances this year. The talented pooches appeared briefly at last year’s fair as their owner, Dawn Goehring, relocated to the Puna area from the mainland. The canines, all rescue animals, have been featured on TV’s “The Late Show

With David Letterman” and Animal Planet. Goehring will lead six of her dogs through their routines on Sept. 6 and 7, appearing at 3 and 6 p.m. both days.

The dogs will jump rope, dance, recycle and do surfboard tricks, among other acts, she said.

“The dogs are trained using positive, fun methods,” said Goehring, who moved with her husband and animals to the Big Island from Tennessee in 2013. “We like to stress that you can teach an old dog new tricks.”

During the circus shows on all four days, ringmaster Luciano Anastasini — an eighth-generation member of an Italian circus family — will engage the audience in comedy acts along with being master of ceremonies. Ricardo Sosa of Havana will wow the audience with hand balancing and contortion acts, and Mr. &Mrs. G. from Las Vegas will perform crossbow stunts. On the music stage, Hawaii singer and songwriter Sean Naauao will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, followed by the reggae band Kolohe Kai at the same time Friday and Oahu’s Johnna Padeken Parel on Saturday. Sunday’s music will be provided by Kailua-Kona’s Kimie Miner, who weaves reggae, acoustic and soul.

Vehicles entering Old Kona Airport Park will be diverted to the beach access road at the north end of Kuakini Highway and must follow a 5 mph posted speed limit. The measure is meant to create a safer environment for fair attendees, park users and fair operators who will be setting up and disassembling carnival rides, according to the Hawaii County Department of Parks and Recreation.

Children under 40 inches tall are admitted free Friday through Sunday. Entertainment is free with entry. Admission is $1 on Thursday, $5 on Friday, $3 on Saturday (until 6 p.m.) and Sunday, and $5 from 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday.

The fair will run 6 p.m. to midnight Thursday and Friday, noon to midnight Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.

Ride coupons are $1.50 each; the fair will feature 15 rides requiring between two and four coupons, with discounts Sunday. Wristbands for 10 rides will be $30 Thursday evening and during the day Saturday.

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