by Susan O’Neill
Fantasy Amusements owner Bill Johnson started working in the carnival business when he was 11 years old. The carnival came to his hometown, Niles, Ill., and the owner asked the young boy if he would help him pick up balls in the Milk Bottle Game.
Johnson did this for the next three summers. By the time he was 18, he was running a unit for the owner, Mr. Knight. By the time he was 24, he bought his first ride, The Swinger.
When he turned 25, he became the supervisor for Loop Amusements. He started his own business, Fantasy Amusements, in 1985. He and his wife Mary started out with eight rides and a popcorn wagon.
Fantasy Amusements currently has more than 40 rides, games and concessions. The Johnsons’ three daughters work for the business. The oldest runs a game and works in the office, the middle one operates the funnel cake concession, and the youngest runs the popcorn wagon.
With the contract ending with Windy City Amusements last year, the Sugar Grove Corn Boil Committee interviewed several new companies and decided on Fantasy Amusements. The Arlington Heights, Ill.,-based company also operates the carnival for the Kane County Fair in St. Charles.
â€œThey were very professional, and they have a lot of great rides,â€ Sugar Grove Corn Boil Committee member Lisa Lund said.
Lund explained that background checks are done on all their employees, and they all wear badges to identify themselves.
â€œThey take every step possible to keep the children safe,â€ she said.
New this year, fair-goers may purchase unlimited ride tickets good for any of the Corn Boil’s three days.
â€¢Â Friday, July 24 â€¢ 4 to 11 p.m.
â€¢Â Saturday, July 25 â€¢ 1 to 11 p.m.
â€¢Â Sunday, July 26 â€¢ 1 to 6 p.m.
Unlimited ride tickets are available before the Corn Boil for $15, or $20 at the carnival.
Available at Castle Bankâ€”Sugar Grove, Old Second Bankâ€”Sugar Grove and American Heartland Bank & Trust until 5 p.m. Friday, July 24.
Unlimited ride ticket hours
Friday, 4 to 11 p.m.
Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m.
Sunday, 1 to 6 p.m.
Carousel Fun Slide
Love Wheel Cuckoo House
Tilt-A-Whirl Zero Gravity
Kite Flier Bumper Cars
1001 Nachts Pharoah’s Fury
Century Wheel Screamer
*Rides at the Corn Boil will be
chosen based on space available