Calling kids of all ages: The rides are back at Aloha Stadium (but not for long)

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 3:50 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 14, 2021 at 4:41 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The rides are finally back at Aloha Stadium.

After a year-and-a-half pandemic pause, EK Fernandez Shows is ready to delight kids of all ages again with the Aloha Freedom Festival ― which runs for three weekends starting Friday.

E.K. Fernandez Shows President Scott Fernandez said the pandemic has proved the most challenging period in the company’s 118-year history.

“Think about it, you have 18 months of no income, zero income,” he said. “We were attacked during Pearl Harbor, the company was, we were shot up by the Japanese. We went through the 1918 pandemic and we’ve never been prevented from opening to the public, so it’s been painful.”

The Aloha Freedom Festival features less than half of the rides typically seen at the 50th State Fair.

And the pandemic meant much more planning.

To ensure the event confirmed to the city’s Tier 5 criteria, all guests must complete a wellness screening before visiting and contactless payment is available.

While there is no capacity cap on the rides themselves, there is an entry limit.

“It’s 50 people per 1,000 square feet, and we’re at 168,000 square feet out here,” Fernandez said.

“It’s outside. It’s hot. It’s in the wind, which is, we’re complying with the restrictions, but we’re only gonna have 5,600 (visitors) through the gates at any one time.”

Because it’s outdoors, masks will not be required.

Fernandez understands if people may be hesitant, but he says rides will be constantly sanitized and safety measures are in place.

“Some people are comfortable, some people aren’t comfortable,” Fernandez said. “It’s a Freedom Festival, freedom to choose. Come, not come. Wear a mask, not wear a mask, it’s all your choice.”

The gates open this Friday evening.

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