The "Wright's Amusement" carnival drove into the key city from College Station on Tuesday. Immediately, crew members began to assemble rides and prepare for opening day, which was originally scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. But when the recent round of snow covered Abilene, it prohibited the carnival workers from continuing their job, and ultimately, caused a delay in opening day.
"When it got that time on Wednesday when we were setting up and it got really cold, we had to shut down because of the hydraulics," says the ride supervisor, Gregory Scott. "If it gets too cold, it'll blow the hydraulic lines.
But today, with ice melting and higher temperatures, about 25 men and women braved the slippery grounds and bitter chills, to get back into action. Each worker could be seen bundled up from head to toe, as they attempted to stay warm while assembling the remainder of rides needed for the carnival to be a success.
Scott and most of his crew is from Colorado. And while he says they're used to the bitter cold, he says it's still tough for them to work under these weather conditions.
"When we're in Colorado, we work through blizzards, but it's not as cold as down here. It's a different cold." According to Scott, in "Colorado you have a dry cold and in Texas, you have a wet cold."
In an attempt to stay warm while working, many of the carnival crew bundled up with clothing and gloves. Keeping warm while working in freezing temperatures on mainly metal or steel rides, they say, can be a tough task. But Scott says it isn't their main concern. He says instead it's most important that his workers are being safe while attempting to work in the melting snow.
"We don't want to get the guys out there working if it's too icy and slippery."
Scott says if the weather interrupts the work-flow of his crew again, there is one guarantee. He says a missed day's work won't translate into a smaller paycheck for him and his workers.
"We're on a set salary. We're not in the game business like other people. Everybody here gets paid every day."
Snow still covers most of the rides, but Scott says that won't stop this carnival from opening up for the Abilene community tomorrow afternoon around 2 pm. The "Wright's Amusement" carnival is set up at North First Street in the old Kmart parking lot. It will be in town until next Sunday, February 16th. During the week, the gates will open at 5 pm, and at 2 pm on the weekends.