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Not so fun: New London says carnival operator soaked Water Days

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A central Minnesota town that held its summer festival without the carnival rides it paid for now wants its $5,000 back.

Organizers of New London's Water Days booked carnival rides and food trucks from Minnesota's Magic Midway six months ago, the West Central Tribune reports.

When no magical midway arrived last week, the festival was able to book some last-minute replacements. But that surprise expense on top of the money paid to the carnival operator leaves the town with no budget to plan next year's festivities, the Tribune says.

Attorney John Mack, who serves on the New London City Council, tells FOX 9 the carnival operator's actions amount to theft by swindle. Mack wants charges filed and says he's written to Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson about it.

The co-owner of Minnesota's Magical Midway, Ed Reinke, tells FOX 9 health problems prevented him from making it to New London last week.

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Reinke tells FOX he plans to sell his carnival equipment and will repay New London's $5,000 with proceeds from that sale.

The Tribune says Water Days organizers turned to a company called Kid Again Inflatable Fun Shows to help fill the void left by the carnival's absence.

WCCO says substituting bouncy houses for carnival rides did not sit well with some of New London's youngsters.

Ten-year-old Hunter Amundsen didn't hide his anger with the carnival operator, telling the station: "He got every single kid excited for that and just ripped everybody off.”

WCCO says the carnival rides were supposed to be a first-time addition to Water Days, which has been held since 1923. New London is marking the town's 150th anniversary this year.

In spite of the carnival's no-show, a Water Days committee member tells the West Central Tribune attendance at the festival was strong. Jen Dahl says if the carnival money is not recovered, organizers will likely hold a fundraiser to build on the momentum of this year's Water Days and replenish the budget for next year's event.

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