NEW LONDON, Minn. (WCCO) — Town carnivals are a big part of summertime fun for many Minnesota communities.

But in New London, a carnival that was booked and paid for never showed up. E.A.R. Carnivals also does business as Minnesota Magic Midway. The company took the city’s $5,000 deposit, but never showed up with the rides and food tents for last weekend’s celebration.

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It led to lots of disappointed kids and parents in New London. For the first time the city’s annual Water Days was going to have carnival rides. But what they got was a no show.

You might say New London is the little town with big ambitions. Since 1923, it’s held a summer celebration called Water Days.

“We’d have a carnival come in Friday night, all day Saturday and Sunday. Carnival rides and all the food vendors, everything,” Water Days Committee Member Jen Dahl said.

But those big plans went bust. After paying Ramsey Minnesota Midway Operator Ed Reinke $5,000 in advance, his promised rides and food stands never came.

“We called him on Wednesday because they were supposed to come into town Tuesday evening and we didn’t get any calls back after 50 to 60 attempts. We decided it was probably time to start looking for something else,” Dahl said.

You can imagine the disappointment when what should have been a roller coaster and ferris wheel turned to bouncy houses.

“Some guy ripped us off in New London,” 10-year-old Hunter Amundson said.

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Amundson and his buddies didn’t hold back.

“He’s a jerk. He shouldn’t have done that. He got every single kid excited for that and just ripped everybody off,” Amundson said.

“Then we had people calling ‘What are we supposed to do with our tickets. Do we get our money back?’ It was a big letdown,” Water Days Committee Member Emily Roediger said.

The town scrambled to find other fun for the kids and other food vendors. Still, for a small town with shallow pockets, it’s a stinging lesson that stole the fun.

“We just want everybody to understand what we went through and be aware so they don’t have to go through the same thing we did,” Dahl said.

WCCO tried getting in touch with Reinke at his E.A.R. Carnivals and Minnesota Magic Midway, but he didn’t return our calls. We’re told he’s supposed to be at a carnival this weekend in Olivia.

So what about that $5,000 deposit?  They’ve got an a attorney working on that.

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Sadly, since this happened, they’ve heard from a couple other towns with same carnival vendor where same thing happened.