Midway Talk from the October Issue
The New York State Fair in Syracuse concluded on Monday, September 2 after greeting a little over 851,000 fairgoers. The number beat last year’s attendance figure of 845,000. The fair ran from Thursday, August 22 through Labor Day. James E. Strates Shows provided the midway.
While much of the 2013 Minnesota State Fair was affected by unseasonable high heat, the event and its independent midway welcomed cooler temperatures to close out the event. A new single-day attendance record was set on Sunday, September 1 with 236,197 fairgoers on the grounds. Temperatures reached as high as 100 degrees during this year’s fair with heat indexes well above 100 degrees. The event ran from August 22 through September 2.
Gold Star Amusements recorded a 5.5% increase in midway gross at the 2013 Steele County Free Fair in Owatonna, Minnesota. A total of 350,899 people attended the fair, which ran from August 13 through 18. The attendance number reflects a 9% increase from 2012. Top grossing rides at the fair were led by Gold Star Amusement’s Century Wheel followed by the Freak Out, Alpine Bobs, Muzik Express, Carousel, Zipper, and Re-Mix II. Next year’s Steele County Free Fair will run from August 12 through 17.
Reithoffer Shows has re-signed the West Virginia State Fair for an additional three years. The show has provided the event’s midway since 1990. Wet weather affected attendance at this year’s fair, which ran from August 9 through 17. This year marked the 89th year for the fair.
The top-five grossing rides at the Wisconsin State Fair were led by Deggeller Attractions’ Rip Ride Roller Coaster followed by Wood Entertainment’s Area 51, Reithoffer Shows’ Sky Flyer, Sky Attractions’ Big Bamboo, and Blake’s Concessions Alpine Bobs. The 2013 Wisconsin State Fair recorded 1,012,552 visitors during the 11-day event. It was the highest attendance number since 1969 and beat last year’s numbers by 10%. Next year’s Wisconsin State Fair runs from July 31 through August 10.
Frank Zaitshik’s Wade Shows provided the midway for the first time at this year’s Nebraska State Fair. The Grand Island event ran from August 23 through September 2. Despite very high temperatures, this year’s fair was still well attended and just shy of last year’s numbers. “The heat was certainly an issue for the first 9 days,” said Joseph McDermott of the Nebraska State Fair. “Happily, our total attendance came in at 334,931, which is just 2,056 visitors behind 2012.” Labor Day attendance beat last year’s numbers by 3,500. The fair also broke a single day record attendance number for its current grounds in Grand Island on Sunday, September 1 when 71,355 visitors attended the fair. A single day attendance record from the fair’s old home in Lincoln, set in 2009 with 71,627 visitors, just barely holds on to its title. The previous record at Grand Island was recorded in 2011 when 67,929 visitors attended on a single day. Next year’s Nebraska State Fair runs from August 22 through September 1.
The Colorado State Fair in Pueblo concluded on Monday, September 2 with a slight increase in attendance compared to 2012. This year’s number hit 476,966 compared to 474,914 last year. The 141st Colorado State Fair began on Friday, August 23. The fair introduced a cashless system provided by Mobile Money. Crabtree Amusements provides the midway at the event and featured over 45 rides on the midway. New on the midway this year was a Hard Rock.
James J. McCullough passed away on August 19 at the age of 84. Mr. McCullough was a well-known industry veteran who worked within the carnival industry as well as the amusement park sector. He resided in Massapequa, New York and cherished a lifetime of memories from his amusement park days at Coney Island. He was the owner of a number of rides throughout his time in the industry and also operated concessions. In 2005, he sold his original B & B Carrousel to the City of New York. He is survived by his daughters Carol, Mar and Anthony Meluso, Lois and Tim Goulis, Nancy, and his five grandchildren. ■