The 2023 Mighty Thomas Carnival

The trendy "Wacky Cowboy" coaster returns to Fort Smith this year. The coaster features bright colors, a flashing LED light package, and a lead cowboy mouse with sheriff's badge who guides riders through exciting dips and curves.  The Wacky Cowboy Roller Coaster is manufactured by Fajume in San Salvador, El Salvador. Family groups enjoy this coaster, together.

The focal point of the Thomas Carnival midway is the towering Century Wheel, a 70 foot Ferris wheel with gondola-style seating—providing in-the-cloud enjoyment for guests ranging from family units to brand new friends attending their first fair together (the Century Wheel is Thomas Carnival's most popular ride.)   The Chance Rides Thunderbolt boasts alternating red and blue cars circling a center point that pivot outward-- by centrifugal force.  Passengers end up sideways!  And the mighty Pharaoh’s Fury—it appears to be an ocean vessel with an artistic Egyptian Pharaoh’s head sculpture (one on each end).   Swinging in an arc 54 feet high, the Pharaoh’s Fury takes passengers from horizontal to vertical. You’ll witness scores of passengers thrill to the momentary  weightless effect as the boat rises high, reverses motion, then plunges.  One cool ride.

We will present one spectacular ride from the “Extreme” genre at the Arkansas-Oklahoma State Fairs year:  The Speed is huge, and sensational--just eight people experience it at a time, sitting in back-to-back twosomes at either end of a beam that stretches half the length of a football field.    Share the experience with a friend!  The Speed draws a late-night crowd of people-watchers meeting old friends regaling in the soft autumn breeze.   Pricing on the Speed is separate from normal carnival tickets and wristbands.

Adventurous riders also enjoy the exciting wave action of Moby Dick, built in Colorado by Wisdom rides.  Bystanders laugh as the Moby riders’ feet swing in synchrony to the movement of this riding machine adorned with a painted mural of a giant whale swimming the high seas.

The Super Shot is the 90-foot tall free fall drop tower—another attraction that draws a crowd observing the curious reactions of riders who have completed the free fall to firm ground.  The Super Shot is made by A.R.M. from Ohio, utilizing true physics of earth magnets to provide smooth reliable braking. 

Our “ground-mounted” Bumper Cars sets right at eye level, each structural piece unloaded from a two-trailer combination.  One more great ride to watch from the sidelines.  Youngsters meeting the height requirement often get their first driving experience in the Thomas Carnival Dodgem Cars. 

Thomas Carnival classics:


Tilt-a-Whirl, seven seats of undulating movement, was invented by the Minnesota Sellner family in 1927.  The Tilt remains one of the most popular rides in America. 

The Merry-Go-Round (check out the artwork on the carousel horses), is an Allen Herschell model. Ours is “3-abreast”, a total of 30 horses. There are 3 galloping poses to choose from, and 6 different color schemes.  Children love to choose their favorite horse. 

Crystal Lil's House of Mirrors: two levels included: the lower mirror maze, and the upper level filled with crazy mirrors and a circular slide that takes you back to ground level.   

Dizzy Dragons from Sellner are green dragon riding capsules with smiling faces.  This is from the famous Sellner Spin Ride Limited  collection. 

In the children's midway ride area look for the Barnyard, the Speedway, and the Rio Grande Train, where the operator often wears an old-school engineer's cap and rings a bell as the train departs the station.  The whole family can enjoy the Up Up and Away, the U-Toob, the Wiggle Wurm, and the Airport.

The exciting Cliffhanger amusement ride with spectacular lighting is the only ride that flies customers through the air like Superman.  And the Tornado has been upgraded with a new light package that can be seen for miles.  Its open-air tubs spin under the control of the passengers. 

Other featured attractions on the Thomas Carnival midway this year at the fair:

Monster Trucks:   Wisdom Rides of Colorado built this popular children's ride featuring realistic monster trucks with a pop-a-wheelie motion.  Each car has sound effects and each rider has a steering wheel. Adults may accompany youngsters.


Martian Maze:   Adorable Martians are pictured on the scenery of the Martian Maze.  Young children climb ladders, cross bridges, slide down slides, and walk through a rotating barrel.  Martian Maze is found under two big trees in the Central Park children’s area.   


Frog Hopper:   Another popular youth ride, this one with a hopping motion, was made by Utah's S & S Sports.   Adults may ride with the youngsters on the Frog Hopper, as well. 


 More returning favorites include 100 foot Fun Slide, and the Zamperla Mini Jet with 8 bold ships shaped like barrels melded into fantastic flying airplanes.  The ride's air compressor sends the ships hissing into the air for the imaginary trip over the fairgrounds. The crafts glide smoothly back down the ground after a 90 second flight.   Fun Zone Fun House walk-through starts with fresh and friendly fun cartoon figures painted on the front's façade.   Inside, look for easy obstacles, visual tricks, spinning disks, and an exciting Barrel O Fun at the exit.   Happy Face Bounce:  Children under 42 inches enjoy jumping in the Thomas Carnival bounces.  Our air-supported jumpers feature Beetles and Happy Faces.   Gopher Golf:  a round of challenging miniature golf is included with each day's wristband.  Look for the tall red, orange, and blue canvas on top of the carnival caddy shack.  Keep score and ask about daily tournaments.   Also included with an armband purchase:  one free attempt to Fool the Guesser for a small prize (your choice of age, weight, or birth month.)   If the guesser misses by more than 2 years, 3 pounds, or 1 month, you win!   

The Scrambler is a carnival classic produced by the Eli Bridge Company out of Illinois. The seats interlace with each other as they spin, but they never touch, much like a giant egg beater.  The Starship 4000 is Wisdom Manufacturing’s latest update of the archetypal space ship simulation. The feeling of weightlessness never gets old as the ship races around at over 20 revolutions per minute.  This ride features groundbreaking technological advances in its mechanical operation as well as dazzling new lighting and scenery packages.



Thomas Carnival facilities include generators and wire, light towers, benches, rest and shade areas, trucks, and trailers, repair shops, laundry and uniform facilities, offices and living quarters in addition to the rides, games and food concessions seen by the public on the midway.  One hundred fifty traveling workers are joined by locally hired employees and helpers to set up, operate, and then dismantle the show after the fair closes on Saturday night.

Thomas Carnival has been named to the OABA’s prestigious Circle of Excellence.  Carnival operations and procedures were audited by an outside evaluation team, and found to meet the rigorous standards for entry into the Circle.  

Dozens of dedicated carnival workers make it possible to move and operate the show at over 50 locations each year.   Ride operators work hard to load and operate amusement rides with care.  Ticket sellers are trained to have general information about the fair, and they answer hundreds of questions every day.  All Thomas Carnival midway workers participate in a pre-season and random drug screening program.    

The main carnival office is located on the midway and administrative staff is always available for questions and comments.  Credit cards are accepted at our box offices, and ATMs are located on the midway.  The carnival maintains a corner general store open to fair customers, stocked with a small variety of personal items they might have forgotten for their long day visiting the fair.

Ride Ticket Prices

Single Ticket: $1

Full Sheet (30 Tickets): $26 (Saves $4!)

Rides require 3, 4, or 5 tickets as posted.

Pricing for Speed Ride and Eurobungees are separate from regular tickets and wristbands


Click here for discount days!