The Coast News Group

Jaycees Carnival brings two weekends of family fun to town

OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside Jaycees spring carnival brought big rides, toss games, corndogs and cotton candy to Plaza Drive from March 15 to March 18 and will be back for another four days of fun March 22 to March 25.The Oceanside Jaycees hold annual spring and summer carnivals as fundraisers to support high school scholarships, youth sports teams sponsorships and adopt-a-family Christmas meals and presents.“We help out kids any way we can,” Bill Ferguson, Oceanside Jaycees president, said.

Austin Klein, 4 of Vista, holds on for a wild ride. Photo by Promise Yee

The spring carnival is also a way to bring families together for two weekends of fun. Amusement rides range from bumper cars to the spinning Zipper ride and pink flying elephants.

“The best part is the corndogs,” Councilman Jack Feller, a 20-year Oceanside Jaycees member, said.

“I like the shooting gallery,” 10-year-old Caleb Linden of Oceanside said.

The Oceanside Jaycees have held the biannual carnival fundraiser for more than 10 years. Members can recall early fundraising efforts like holding mock jails with bailout fees and donkey basketball games.

The carnival is a simple fundraiser idea that has stuck. The Oceanside Jaycees work with Christianson Amusements and property owner Marie Cannon to put on the biannual event. Jaycees members volunteer to run the ticket booth.

Funds raised vary from $10,000 to $15,000 a year. Donations to charitable causes are adjusted to the amount raised.

“It’s a real good money-maker,” Ferguson said.

This year the carnival was rained out on March 17, but attendance was high on March 15, March 16 and March 18. Ferguson said he expects to see big crowds for the upcoming four days.

The Oceanside Jaycees is a nonprofit group of business owners, police officers, construction workers, teachers and retirees. The organization was originally formed as a junior chamber of commerce that gave young adults a way to help serve the community. Members would age out at 40 years old and many would go on to serve on the city council.

Today there is no age maximum for members and Councilmen Feller and Jerry Kern continue to be Oceanside Jaycees members while they serve on City Council.

Feller said he enjoys the positive spirit of Jaycees members and the work they do to help local youth.

The Oceanside Jaycees meet up the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 6:30 p.m. at Harbor House Cafe. Anyone who is interested in becoming a member is welcome to drop in on a meeting.

The carnival runs March 22 and March 23, from 5 to 11 p.m., and March 24 and March 25, from 1 to 11 p.m. at 4000 Plaza Drive.