Traditional amusement rides returning to Fairport Mardi Gras in 2023

Feb. 6—A favorite feature of Fairport Mardi Gras that was missing in 2022 will be back to provide enjoyment at this year's festival.

Traditional amusement rides will be part of the 2023 Fairport Mardi Gras when the celebration takes place from June 29 through July 2 in Fairport Harbor Village.

Lisko Family Midway Amusements will provide and operate carnival-style rides and games at this year's Fairport Mardi Gras, according to an announcement on the event's Facebook page.

Based in Lowellville, Ohio, Lisko will take over the duties that had been performed at Mardi Gras by Great Lakes Expositions for more than a decade.

However, Great Lakes Expositions abruptly ended its relationship with Fairport Mardi Gras when the company pulled out of its contract on short notice prior to the 2022 festival.

After the unexpected departure, Fairport Mardi Gras Committee President Shannon Barnhill quickly made calls last year to many other companies that operate traditional amusement rides. But none of them could book Fairport Mardi Gras as a late addition on their 2022 schedules.

As an alternative, Fairport Mardi Gras secured the services of NEO Extreme Games, which offered activities such as bubble soccer; gelly ball, which is similar to paint ball, except for the use of water beads; inflatable jousting; and water tag, at last year's event.

While the return of conventional amusement rides and games already is being touted as a highlight of the 2023 Fairport Mardi Gras, the festival will bring back a few newly introduced activities that proved popular at last year's festival. Those attractions include ax throwing, mechanical bull riding and goat yoga.

In addition, 2023 will mark the second straight year of bingo games for mixed groups of grown-ups and children at Fairport Mardi Gras.

Prior to 2022, Fairport Mardi Gras only held bingo for older adults as part of the event's Senior Day, Barnhill said.

"But last year, we expanded that program to welcome pretty much everybody," she said. "We attracted people of all ages. We weren't expecting as many people to like it as they did, so we'll be doing (bingo for participants with no age restrictions) again."

This year's Fairport Mardi Gras also will offer a variety of food and musical entertainment throughout the four-day festival. The annual Fairport Mardi Gras parade will kick off the event on June 29, and the festival will wrap up with fireworks on July 2.

Barnhill, during a Feb. 1 phone interview with The News-Herald, said the Fairport Mardi Gras Committee "is starting to get the ball rolling" on signing up participants for the 2023 festival's parade.

She also said any person, business or nonprofit organization interested in becoming a concessionaire or exhibitor at the festival can contact her at or 440-669-6736.

In addition, she said the Fairport Mardi Gras Committee always is looking for new members to volunteer their time and talents to help plan and carry out the festival.

"And you don't have to live in Fairport Harbor to part of the committee," she said.

The Fairport Mardi Gras Committee meets at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the Gage House, located at 47 South State St. in Painesville.

Fairport Mardi Gras will be marking its 81st anniversary in 2023. The theme of this year's festival is "Fairport Mardi Gras Beach Party 2023," Barnhill said.