Whether it is a relaxing ride on the Ferris Wheel or a thrill on the Starship 2000, it’s all for a good cause at the annual Morris Fireman’s Carnival.
The carnival opened Tuesday at 6 p.m. and will be open through Saturday at the Morris Community High School parking lot. Through Friday, the hours are 6 to 11 p.m. and 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday.
The carnival is the main fundraiser for the Morris Firefighter’s Association, which includes firemen and EMS personnel, said Shane Sater, lieutenant for the Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District.
The association receives a portion of all pre-sold tickets to the carnival, and a portion of the tickets sold at the carnival for manning the booths. As of Tuesday afternoon, the association had sold about 2,000 sheets of tickets.
The carnival is a tradition for Morris residents. It continues to be a successful event because of its clean and safe reputation, Sater said.
The carnival has come to town for decades.
“People still talk about how the firemen would bring the rigs down the street to try and sell tickets,” Sater said.
The rides, food and entertainment are provided by Luehrs’ Ideal Rides. There are about 28 rides and attractions, Luehrs’ President Andy Schoendienst said.
“It’s very much a family event,” he said. “It’s non-alcoholic, and there are rides for grandma and grandpa to ride with the kids to teenage thrill rides.”
Sater said through proceeds from this event and other fundraisers, the Morris Firefighters Association has helped purchase a pick-up truck with a snow plow, trench coats for firefighter Class A Uniforms and weight equipment for the Morris department.
The carnival was started by Hub Luehrs who began working at a carnival in Ripon, Wis., in 1936. Two years later, he married Winnifred Schimnowski. They started their business with one ride and a few concessions.
By 1956, they were able to purchase Ideal Rides from Paul Robertson. In the spring of 1957, Luehrs ’ Ideal Rides hit the road with an Octopus, Ferris Wheel, Merry-Go-Round, King Pony Cart and a Schiff Coaster. Through the years, the carnival has continued to expand.
The third generation of the family currently owns Luehrs ’ Ideal Rides. Andy and Lorelei Schoendienst and Jean and Joe Clair purchased the business in 1996. Numerous family members work for the carnival.