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Las Vegas man turns driveway into carnival attraction for kids

When Mark Miller had to suddenly take his amusement attraction for children out of Boulevard Mall, he decided to make lemons into lemonade — or, in this case, bring the attraction to the people.

“It’s better than some of those bigger events because it’s so personal,” said Michael David, who visited the attraction with his daughter, Miamore, and has lived in the neighborhood for 26 years.

Miller and his partner’s tiny train ride, mini merry-go-round and bitty bumper cars are set up in the driveway of his home at 4756 Sacks Drive. The whole shebang is covered with scads of Christmas decorations and lights. It stands out in the quiet neighborhood near Eastside Cannery.

“The other night the local ice cream man came by in his truck and set up here and he was selling hot chocolate,” Miller said. “This is a neighborhood of hardworking moms and dads, and these are the people that will spend their money on their child.”

Miller operated Clown ‘N Around, an attraction featuring carnival games and rides catering to children, for nearly 10 years at the mall. For most of that time, he was set up in the food court but moved to a side corridor near the under-construction SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium. He was set to move back to the food court when the aquarium neared completion, but pending litigation that didn’t involve Miller prevented the move. He was told he would have to remove the attraction after Halloween.

“I had booked a fair amount of private parties in December,” Miller said. “That didn’t sink in for the first 24 hours.”

When he got the rides home, he did some minor maintenance in the only space where he could do that kind of work, his driveway.

“I needed to replace some belts and change the oil in the gearboxes, that kind of thing,” Miller said. “All of the kids on the street kept coming by and asking when I was going to put it all together.”

A lightbulb went off in his head, and he transformed his driveway into an attraction. He first checked with Clark County to see how to do it legally.

“They said as long as it isn’t a charged attraction — if I made it something like a Christmas display — I was in the clear,” Miller said. “I can ask for donations but not charge. That covers me through the holidays, and I don’t know what I’ll do after.”

There may be an opportunity to return to his old location at some point, and he’s exploring other options. He hasn’t looked too hard because he knows every mall is busy during the holidays. For the time being, he’s happy to entertain and accept donations from his neighbors. If the turnout is any indication, they’re happy to have the attraction there.

“You know your neighbors in this part of town,” Miller said.

Miller plans to open his attraction from 4:30 to 8 p.m. daily through December.

To reach East Valley View reporter F. Andrew Taylor, email ataylor@viewnews.com or call 702-380-4532.

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