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Florence fairgrounds, carnival company offer fair food and games
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Florence fairgrounds, carnival company offer fair food and games

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FLORENCE, S.C. — Nobody needs a funnel cake, but if a bit of fair food would help improve folks' outlook on life in a time of plague, Amusements of America has just the ticket at the East Carolina Agricultural Fairgrounds on East Palmetto Street in Florence County.

The company has the blinking lights, the tantalizing aromas and the chances to win — if only the basketball goes through the hoop or the child picks the correct duck.

Specifically, they have a couple of midway games, corn on the cob and turkey legs, chicken tenders, wings, chili cheese fries, pizza, nachos, cheeseburgers, hotdogs, all your fried stuff, said Greg Inman who family owns the Florence-based company. 

"We separated it from the food," he said of the sweet offerings. "We have deep- fried everything over here. Cotton candy, popcorn, candy apples, and over there we have ice cream and lemonade."

"Our family, we own Amusements of America, the rides, the games — everything you see at the fair," he said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has done to the company what it has done to most residents — kept it home and away from crowds.

"All our events nationwide have been canceled," Inman said. "Right now, this time of year, I'd be in New York. So we've been home."

"This time of year we'd be in Hiawassee, Ga.," said Rob Vivona, one of the owners who travels with the company's second fair.

Vivona said the company has sent home all its H2B visa workers except those who work food service and those they're going to try to put to work with a series of such events as they're putting on in Florence County.

"We own all these food trailers so we're just trying to do something," Inman said.

This is the second time they've set up in Florence. Earlier in the year they did a smaller setup in a field on West Evans Street.

"The fair association here is facing pretty uncertain times with the fair not being able to operate, so we're kind of just put this on for them," Inman said. "Split profits with them to keep us afloat and help the fair if there's no fair here."

Inman said the setup takes into account the need for personal hygiene and safety.

"We purposefully didn't set out any tables, try to limit people being in close proximity," Inman said.

Hand sanitation stations are placed all along the setup and tape marks places in line that are six feet from the next closest place in line.

Inman said the plans are to operate the food trailers Thursday-Sunday this week and next, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and then to take it back on the road.

He said the company is looking at Sumter and Charleston next and would consider any other location that is interested.

"Everything has wheels on it, it can go anywhere," Inman said.

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