SAUK RAPIDS -- A St. Cloud family owned company is once again bringing your favorite rides and games to the Benton County Fair.

For nearly 70 years the Forcier family has owned Gopher State Expositions, a carnival based right here in St. Cloud. Co-owner Randy Forcier says growing up he learned everything there is to know about running a carnival.

"In the summer time we would be out here working, we'd stem from maybe picking up trash, working one of the games of skill, maybe in a food stand, maybe in [operating] a ride or selling tickets, we would do anything," says Forcier.

Every year the Benton County Fair features fun rides and games for all ages. Forcier says Gopher State Expositions brings everything from the classic farris wheel to the Benton County favorite thrill ride, the zipper, to the fair.

It's not always all fun and games though, Forcier says keeping everyone safe is a top priority.

"Make sure that you can see the kids, try to anticipate what they're going to do next, if you see them tinkering with a seatbelt or some like that make sure you stop the ride, kids trying to stand up, things like that are our big concern. Otherwise operation of them [the rides] is really the easy part."

The family wastes no time between fairs. Before one fair ends, plans for the next fair are already in the works.

"We open at our next fair next Wednesday, we close here Sunday, we'll open next Wednesday up in Bemidji for the Beltrami County fair after the Beltrami County fair we'll open in Grand Rapids for the Itasca County fair and after that we'll have some equipment going into the Minnesota state fair."

You can check out the Gopher State Expositions carnival today (Wednesday) through Sunday at the Benton County Fair.

Chrissy Gaetke, WJON
Chrissy Gaetke, WJON

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