My Honest Review of the 2023 Carnival


As you may have heard, Cresskill recently revived its annual Unico Carnival on May 3-6. When news came out that the event was returning to Cresskill this year, students were thrilled and immediately texted their friends to make plans to go. I mean, who wouldn’t love being able to scream loudly with their friends or walk around with cotton candy or an ice cream cone? 

Well, after the launch on Wednesday, it wasn’t what most people expected. I went to the carnival Thursday night with a few friends. It wasn’t what I remembered as a little kid; I was hoping the nostalgia of the carnival would return to me as soon as I stepped foot in the Cresskill pool parking lot, but there were a lot of mixed feelings instead. 

The Rides: When I went to the carnival on Thursday, I was excited to go on some rides I loved as a kid. But, many rides that teenagers had loved were missing from Cresskill’s carnival this year, such as the Zipper, Gravitron, and even the classic Ferris Wheel. There were few rides that older kids could go on, but most had a height maximum the average teen surpassed. Though there were always rides for toddlers and little ones, I remember there being more rides kids my age could ride. And even for those we could ride: most went by quickly, attractions were often left unattended, and it took at least five minutes to enter the ride before it would be over in 1-2. 

The Prices: Almost everyone that attended the carnival this year can agree that the prices were absurd. For ticket options, carnival goers could purchase single tickets or a wristband that allowed them to go on unlimited rides. Like many other high schoolers, my friends and I didn’t choose the wristband option as it was thirty dollars. We purchased single tickets as we didn’t want to go on that many rides. However, the single-ticket option didn’t save us that much money. To go on only two spinning rides, my friends and I spent $18 for twelve small pieces of paper, or a whole 1.50 per ticket!! Kiddie rides cost 3 tickets, but most rides that teenagers could actually go on were 6. The prices of the food were also high. A small chocolate milkshake costs $10. Customers needed to pay a whopping $9 for two mini chicken fingers with fries. It was almost worth it to eat before arriving as a meal would cost probably twice as much as a person would think they would spend at a carnival. 

The Food: Speaking of food, let’s talk about why most people go to the carnival. The food was decent this year but could be improved. My friend was disappointed to see that she spent $10 on a milkshake that had more milk than ice cream. It tasted more like chocolate milk than a milkshake. However, the soft serve cone was one of the better, classic options that brought back carnival nostalgia. The fried Oreos were also delicious. We saw the staff make them as we waited in line. They were warm, fresh, flavorful, and a unique option at the carnival. My friends and I also ordered some french fries for about $7. They were okay, but not anything special. They didn’t have much flavor and were mostly cold. They were kind of pricey, but there was a large portion. Still, I would much rather spend the $4 on food truck fries than $7 on flavorless carnival french fries.

Credit Card Fee: The last point I wanted to touch on was the $2 fee added to any purchase made with a card. One of my friends didn’t bring much cash and had to pay mostly with her credit card. Every time she wanted to make a purchase, she would have to spend an extra $2. Making purchases with a credit card got expensive quickly and made people hesitant to buy anything if they didn’t have cash. 

Overall, I think the carnival was successful because of the many students and families who attended. Though it was a bit pricey and underwhelming, the carnival gave people an opportunity to go out and have fun with their friends and families. If I were to recommend this event to people, I would recommend it to families with younger children as it has a lot that would appeal to them. However, I am glad I got to experience it for myself, and will most likely visit the carnival again in the future.