Newark Days

By Chris Amico

I caught Shirley Sisk at an awkward moment. After chasing her around, trying to nail down my last interview at Newark Days, we caught each other at the Supercuts booth. Someone had talked her into putting a little color in her hair, as you can see in the video.

Kevin Tate calls himself a “local boy done good.” He grew up in Newark, went to Snow Elementary and Newark High. Now he runs California Carnival Co., based in Sacramento, and has been making sure the rides run at Newark Days for a decade.

Tate does events like this every week from February to November. He’s a pro. There’s a science to arranging Ferris wheels and bumper car circuits. This year’s festival featured 15 carnival rides, fewer than last year, because Tate wanted wider midways to keep people from jostling too much.

And every ride is aimed at families. “”Every ride out here, even if you’re not tall enough, as long as you have someone with you, you can ride. It forces the family to act as a unit.”

If you watched the crowds this weekend, you’d notice they tended to move counterclockwise around the field. That’s no accident.

“It has a certain flow to it. People move in a certain direction, and I decided that direction when I got here on Monday.”

So what’s it like bouncing from fair to fair?

“It’s monotony without the monotony. It’s the same every week but it’s different. Every week we’re doing the same thing, but we’re entertaining a different group of people,” Tate said.

“When your job lets you look out there and see smiles on kids faces, what more can you ask for? You get to be the good guy.”

If you were at Newark Days, tell us what you thought in the comments below.

A note on me: I work at the Argus on Sundays, so if you’re hosting a community event, chances are I’m the guy covering it. If you see me trolling for interviews, come say hi.

– Chris

Matt Artz