What to do at carnival

Amelia Foster, Staff Writer

The annual Christ the King carnival kicks off on Thursday, April 26 and lasts through the weekend until Sunday, April 29, with the church grounds filled to the brim with rides, food vendors, and dozens of other forms of entertainment. But with such little time and so many people, doing everything at the carnival seems nearly impossible. Here are some tips on how to navigate the carnival while still making the most of your time.

Go at night

The carnival is open until 11 p.m. both Friday and Saturday. By going at night, you can beat the heat and the crowds. Although prices don’t go down, enjoyment certainly goes up as there’s less wait time for all the rides, less kids running around and less chance of sweating through your clothes. I recommend going on the ferris wheel as you can watch the whole carnival from the comfort of your own seat.

Go into the pavilion

When the sun gets too hot, rest in the pavilion. It allows food and drink, so it’s a peaceful place to sit when the chaos of the carnival gets overwhelming. Christ the King also has scheduled performances in the pavilion each day of the carnival, including performances from local high school bands, a talent show and other entertainment. It’s the perfect place to just sit and relax.

Where to eat

Nothing says carnival like greasy carnival food. Some highlights include the lemonade stand near the parking lot, selling huge cups of lemonade for $5. Another is the fried Oreos, last year sold by a group of boy scouts. If greasy food isn’t your cup of tea, or you simply don’t want to fork out the extra money for carnival food, Christ the King is near an IHOP, Xtreme Juice, Chick-Fil-A and other less expensive places to eat.

Best rides

One ride that towers above all is The Zipper. It locks two riders at a time in a cage, and spins the cages while also spinning the ride. A consequence of it being one of the most popular rides at the carnival is the long wait time, but it’s definitely worth it. The first time I rode it, I immediately wanted to ride it again. It makes you dizzy and is a little scary as the cage doesn’t feel very stable, but what carnival isn’t at risk? For a more tame experience, the fun houses are a good bet. Typically on the outskirts of the park, they include a maze of mirrors, a climbing portion and end with fun slides to the bottom.

What to avoid

During the day, avoid the popular rides. This is when all the children are going to be waiting in line. If you want to avoid the long lines, go during the night, or walk around the grounds and simply enjoy the atmosphere. One of the more popular rides at the carnival is Starship 2000/Area 51, a fast paced, spinning ride shaped like a UFO that pins riders to the wall. While it’s a rather fun ride, it’s also a common spot for vomiting and shuts down at least once a day to clean up messes from riders.

Wristbands for one day at the carnival are $30 each, and wristbands for all four days are $85. Individual ride tickets are available for purchase at the carnival. The carnival is hosted at Christ the King ( 821 S Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33609).