Whether you enjoy rides, games, food, or good old-fashioned fun, the Thomas Carnival has something to offer. In addition to family attractions, kiddie rides, and spectacular rides for thrill seekers, we provide electricity for the entire carnival midway, rest areas, benches, landscaping, portable housing for our employees, and even a convenience store for customers and our workforce of 200. We can also provide rides, games and food concessions for private events, company parties or movie sets. Whatever the need, we can provide the equipment.
A related company, ATKINS – HANSCHEN TRANSPORTATION, offers 80-passenger trams to meet your people moving needs. For information, call John Hanschen at (512) 282-4442.
Thomas Carnival employees take pride in operating safely. Experience and training combine with maintenance and daily inspections to create a safe environment.
Staff members attend seminars to keep up to date with the trends. Communication with amusement ride manufacturers and state and federal regulators gives us the latest information we need to know.
We maintain a winter quarters in Austin, Texas, where annual maintenance is performed. A full service maintenance shop is carried on the road. The shop is stocked with tools and repair parts.
All employees participate in the daily inspection process. Each attraction is carefully checked prior to daily opening. Written reports document the inspections. Operations employees and their supervisors constantly check the equipment throughout the day.
In 2004, the Thomas Carnival was evaluated by the OABA Quality Assessment Team and met the rigorous standards required for entry into the prestigious Circle of Excellence. Recertification is required every four years, and we maintain it to this day.
The Thomas Carnival was founded in 1928 by Art B. Thomas in Lennox, South Dakota. The Thomas Carnival has been owned and operated by the members of the Thomas family continuously since then. Presently there are fourth generation family members working in the business. Since 1928 the Thomas Carnival has been devoted to Art Thomas’ idea of providing clean, safe and wholesome family entertainment for its customers.
Art initially began the carnival with two attractions operating in the southeastern area of South Dakota. Over the years the operating area has grown larger and the number of attractions has increased where now our area of operation includes 10 states and we can offer up to 50 rides, 50 games and 15 food concessions. We also provide our customers with many creature comforts including shaded rest areas with benches, covering for hoses and wires, signs and instructions regarding game and ride rules and operations, but most importantly, easy access to staff members in case of a concern or problem. We have provided a safe, clean, wholesome entertainment environment just as Art B. Thomas envisioned. When you walk our midways you will notice our customers having fun.
Learn More About Our HistoryBernard B. Thomas Obituary
Bernard Thomas was the innovator of the Universal Ticket System used by virtually traveling carnivals today. Tickets bought at any ticket selling location can be used for admission on any ride. We know how many tickets are sold each day and at the end of that day weigh all tickets used for admission at each ride, allowing us to balance ticket sales and redemption and also to monitor the popularity of each individual ride. You, as the sponsor, receive a computer generated ticket sales report for each day of operation. All ticket sales are shown on that report.
We utilize virtually all ticket promotions popular today: Pay One Price, Moonlight Madness, Advance Sales, Food Bank Day, Pepsi or Coke Day, Kids Days and other discounted days. The list is only as short as the imagination.
Having been in the entertainment industry since 1928, we have acquired the knowledge and expertise of fair and carnival operations. Whether you are looking for a carnival or need assistance in planning or organizing your event, we are available to help you by either providing equipment or consultations.
For more information about consulting and coordination, please contact Tom Atkins at (512) 750-3345 or John Hanschen at (512) 914-0395.
The Thomas Carnival supports state, regional and national industry associations. The Outdoor Amusement Business Association, based in Orlando, Florida, is the carnival industry’s national trade group. Thomas Carnival’s Bernard Thomas, along with a dozen other carnival owners, founded the association in 1965. Bernard served as OABA president in 1975, Tom Atkins presided in 1992, and John Hanschen served as Chairman in 2007. All three have since been inducted into the Outdoor Amusement Business Hall of Fame. Additionally, the Thomas Carnival takes part in the OABA’s Circle of Excellence program, which strives to uplift the outdoor amusement industry by promoting best practices and the highest safety standards. The Circle of Excellence is awarded after a rigorous audit, and the process is repeated every four years.
Thomas Carnival also supports the Showmen’s League of America, the carnival workers’ fraternal organization. Founded in 1913, the Showmen’s League’s first president was Buffalo Bill Cody. Thomas Carnival boasts three past League presidents: Bernard Thomas in 1977; Tom Atkins, 1987; and John Hanschen in 1999. John serves as Treasurer for the Showmens’ League.
The carnival is a member of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions. Hanschen currently sits on the board of the IAFE. Atkins is a past board member.
Bernard Thomas is past president of the Midwest Showmen’s Association. He is also in the Hall of Fame of the South Dakota Association of Fairs, the Association of Iowa Fairs, and the South Dakota Publishers Association. Tom Atkins served a term as leader of the St. Louis Chapter of the Showmen’s League, and John Hanschen was 1993 president of the Hot Springs Showmen’s Association. Atkins has sat on the board of directors for the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions and the Rocky Mountain Association of Fairs, of which he is in the Hall of Fame and John Hanschen was Service Member of the Year in 2014.
The company also backs the Texas Association of Fairs and Events, Arkansas Fair Manager’s Association, Louisiana Association Fairs and Festivals, North and South Dakota Association of Fairs, and the Minnesota Federation of Fairs.