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Family Fun Shows: The man behind the carnival

Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 5:43 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 6, 2021 at 7:17 PM CDT
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NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — For nearly five decades, Greg Hughes has been working in the carnival business.

A North Mankato native, he began his journey as a ball boy at a hometown carnival. At 14, he began traveling with the show.

“It was that freedom I was looking for, and I found it out here. About eight years later, I became an owner. I bought my first couple of games prior to graduating from high school... I’ve been doing it ever since,” Hughes said.

Hughes now owns Family Fun Shows, a mobile amusement business known locally for its involvement in North Mankato’s Fun Days and the carnival at River Hills Mall. For him, it’s about more than the customers. It’s also about providing opportunities for people in search of work and acceptance.

Hughes added, “That’s what I love the most is the camaraderie of the folks that didn’t feel like they belonged where they were, and when they got here, they felt that sense of belonging.”

Hughes is preparing for this year’s Fun Days in the same place he formed special childhood memories.

“I met my wife right here. [It doesn’t] get any closer to home to me. I grew up about a block and a half this way, my wife grew up a block and two doors down this way,” Hughes explained.

He said he is most thankful for how his lifestyle allows him to spend time with his family while traveling the nation.

Hughes mentioned, “Not only the family that I have here, but the family that I have that is not blood that is here.”

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