WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Like anticipating a trip to the carnival on a summer night, Carolina Beach businesses were ready for what 2020 had in store.
“We were happy and ready — eager — to go into the second summer knowing what to do and not to do,” said Bryan Mahoney, co-owner of Green Flower Wellness
The pandemic turned the last year into a roller coaster.
“Everything stopped,” said Mahoney. “COVID kind of shut everything down.”
It hasn’t been a thrill ride — but boardwalk businesses hope thrill rides are their ticket to success this year. Permits have already been sent in for the town’s beachside amusement park to make a return after a one-year hiatus.
“It’s going to actually bring people into the store and bring them to purchase things and make it better for our business, honestly,” said Jeremy Mortensen, owner of Far Out. “The more people we get to see what we do here, the more people that come in to shop and make the shop successful.”
Over the years, the businesses and the carnival have helped each other. Families come for the rides and stay to eat or shop and others come to shop and grab a funnel cake — something that was missing in 2020.
“A lot of families last year came with children, and we didn’t have the carnival and they were upset,” said Natalie Carraway, a server at Buzz’s Roost. “They come from everywhere just for that. The kids didn’t really have much to do with all the COVID stuff going on.”
With some rides already waiting in parking lots, the carnival may soon be back in town.
“The season has started early and I’m excited to make some money this year, finally,” said Carraway. “I’m excited for the businesses.”