Midway Talk


A fire at the Charles County Fairgrounds in La Plata, Maryland occurred on April 2, damaging portions of the grounds and some property traveling on the Orange Unit of Reithoffer Shows; there were also reports that pets were lost in the fire.  The fire was a result of larger brush fires in the area caused by high winds and dry weather.  While all of the details are not yet in, on the company’s website, Reithoffer Shows asks for prayers and thoughts during this time.

In other news from Reithoffer Shows, it has been announced that the carnival company will take delivery of a new, A.R.M. Vertigo this April.

Corky Powers of Powers Great American Midways reports that the show has purchased a new Wisdom Rampage.  The new piece is scheduled for delivery at the 2013 North Carolina State Fair and is the first completely new Rampage being built by Wisdom since the ride manufacturer began offering the piece again this year.  PGAM has also purchased a new shop trailer and 7 new tractor trailers including International and Freightliner models.

C.D.A.C. Inc. of Peoria, IL reports that they have purchased a Fabbri Gondola Wheel for 2013 through UsedRides.com.

The Virginia Farm Bureau has taken full ownership of the Virginia State Fair.  The organization had been 50 – 50 partners of the fair with Universal Fairs since July of 2012.  The fair moved through bankruptcy in recent years and was purchased by Universal Fairs earlier in 2012.

North Star Amusements has acquired the contract for the Western Montana Fair in Missoula, Montana.  This year will mark the first of a three-year contract.  North Star is set to provide at least 30 rides including a minimum of 5 spectacular pieces.  The show is owned by Bret McKenney.  The Western Montana Fair midway had been provided by Royal West Amusements and Inland Empire Shows.  This year’s fair will run from August 6 – 11.

Lloyd Serfass of LAM Enterprises reports that all crucial festivals and fairs along their route have been renewed for 2013.  The show has taken delivery of a used Dragon Wagon and is currently preparing it for the season in their shop.  Last year the show completely overhauled an Aladin for their midway.  Lloyd also told Carnival Magazine contributor Dennis Gilli that last season was good for the show and they are hoping for a great 2013.

Chairman of the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair, Cliff Barton, informed Carnival Magazine that the event has signed a contract with a new midway provider for this year.  Mitchell Brothers Amusements of Slidell, Louisiana has become the event’s new midway provider.  “We are looking forward to a new look and exciting new rides,” stated Cliff Barton.  The fair donates its profits to charitable and nonprofit organizations focused on helping families and children.  “We began this program in 1987 and have now passed the 2.5 million dollar mark,” reported Cliff.  This year’s fair runs from October 24 – November 3.

The Mondial Space Roller once owned by Jane Baxter has been purchased by Jeremy Floyd.  The rare, European ride was last owned by Walter Murphy.  During the 2012 season it traveled to many midways as a booked in piece.  Among the events where it appeared was the Ohio State Fair, New York State Fair, and North Carolina State Fair.  Now owned by Jeremy, the ride will be refurbished and continue to be booked independently.

Congratulations to Leah O’Neil of O’Neil Amusements who was announced as the incoming President of the Midwest Showmen’s Association.  O’Neil Amusements is based in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The independent midway of the Florida State Fair recorded a ride gross of $4,250,000 during the February 7 – 18 event.  Attendance reached 442,000 fairgoers.  Read more about the 2013 Florida State Fair in this month’s article on the event.

In a press release from the Outdoor Amusement Business Association, the OABA board voted to advance officers Mike Featherston, to 2013 Chairman; Chris Lopez to First Vice Chair and Michael Wood to Second Vice Chair, their next level of leadership.  In addition, Tom Gaylin, who has served as a director since 2008, has been elected as Third Vice Chair.  Continuing as Treasurer, Dan Kroeger was re-elected by the Board to fulfill his duties as the Association’s financial officer.   

Jeff and Patti Blomsness of North American Midway Entertainment are the proud grandparents of newborn Victor Paul Rieder.  Kristina and Etienne Reider announced the birth of their new son on February 11.  Kristina is Jeff and Patti’s daughter.  Victor was born weighing 6 pounds, 13 ounces and measuring 21 inches. 

In Memoriam:

Estelle T. Bell passed away earlier this year on January 14.  Estelle was a longtime member of the amusement industry and was involved for many years with the Miami Showman’s Association where she served as Past President.

Jon Luehrs Sr. passed away on March 15.  Jon was a lifetime member of the St. Louis chapter of the Showmen’s League of America and a member of OABA.  Jon grew up in the industry and was part of the family business at Luehrs Ideal Rides.

Industry legend Jack Honeycutt passed away on March 26.  Jack was a member of the industry for many years fulfilling roles with Hennis Shows, Olson Shows, Strates Shows, Link Shows, and most recently Wade Shows.  Jack joined the carnival industry at the age of 15 and served as a trainmaster during his time on the road.  Jack was well-known in the industry as Top Brass, a nickname that he received as a result of his time on the Chicago Police Force when he carried brass knuckles.  Jack was featured in the July 2001 issue of Carnival Magazine and he appeared many times throughout the magazine’s story on railroad shows.

Steve Mains, President of the Hickory American Legion Fair in Newton, North Carolina passed away Friday, February 1.  Steve was 65 and born on August 5, 1947.  As stated in his obituary, Steve was a 42-year member of American Legion Post 48.  As President of the Hickory American Legion Fair he oversaw the annual event with midway provided by Drew Expositions.  He also served as past president of the NC Fair Association.  Survivors include his wife, Linda Mains; a daughter, Alyson Mains and fiance', David Bruce, and her son, Trace McCoy; a stepdaughter, Jennifer De La Jara and husband, Jorge, and their children, Julian and Sofia; his stepmother, Thelma Mains; a sister, Sebrina Mains; a granddaughter, Courtney Ellington; a great-grandson, Marley Fischer. All at Carnival Magazine express our deepest condolences for Steve’s family, friends, and associates at the Hickory American legion Fair.