Midway Talk

Wayne "Jake" Inners of Majestic Midways has notified Carnival Magazine of a change in their corporate structure. Jake stated that more responsibility would be shifted from him to the staff as he is resigning as President but maintaining the position of CEO. Scott Inners, Jake's son, was appointed as President and COO. Keith Inners will remain Unit #1 Manager, Larry Johnson is Maintenance Supervisor, and Viva Inners remains Secretary/Treasurer.  Despite the state of the economy, Majestic Midways is growing at a solid pace. The company saw a gross increase in the 2012 season.  As of this date, a new Owens Dark Ride has been purchased and it will be exhibited in Gibtown. Also, they have recently purchased an additional bunkhouse from Lifetime Trailers.

Show owner Jimmy Drew reported to Carnival Magazine that Drew Expositions has acquired the classic Velare Brothers (Curtis and Elmer) piece, the Space Wheels.  This one-of-a-kind piece was owned by Royal American Shows for many years before Cumberland Valley Shows purchased it.  It was last owned by Pat Guthrie’s Gold Medal Shows.  Drew Expositions has experience with similar major restoration projects such as their work on the Seattle Wheel.  “We just took this ride into possession on Wednesday, October 24,” says Jimmy Drew.  “It is going to be a showpiece,” he says of the 1958 ride.  Jimmy expects that it will take the show two to three years to restore it.  “We’re not in a hurry and we don’t want to cut corners.”  The show will first steady the trailers and load, next get it loaded in the sequence that they want it, and then begin on the restoring of the trailers.  Once that is complete they will take the ride piece by piece from rim rails to spokes and modernize it with top-quality materials.   Among the work that Jimmy already knows they will do is the replacement of old tires with new, tubeless ones; replacing the axle with a new suspension system; stainless steel boxes and fencing; and replacing the dolly system.  They will also modify the drive system, slowing the machine down during operation and thus making it more of a family ride than in its past life.  “The Velare Brothers were artists in their own right and we do not want to see this magnificent and elegant work of art confined to the trash bin of history,” states Jimmy Drew who is excited to restore this piece for the show as well as for the benefit of the industry-at-large

Happy birthday to Ron Burback!  The owner of Funtastic Shows turned 80 this year and the occasion was marked by a dinner organized by his wife, Beverly.  Among those wishing Ron a happy birthday in person were members of the Puyallup Fair who have worked with Ron for many years.

Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast of the U.S. on Monday, October 29.  Along with a mass of personal and public damage caused by the storm a number of amusement parks suffered catastrophic consequences.  In Seaside Heights, New Jersey the Star Jet Coaster jutted out of the Atlantic Ocean and many other pier attractions were gone completely.  Other amusement parks to be hit by the storm to one degree or another include Coney Island in New York, Keansburg Park in New Jersey, and Atlantic City’s Steel Pier.  In the case of Keansburg Park, one of the locations hit hardest by the storm, owners have already set a date for reopening—April 8, 2013.

The Arkansas State Fair in Little Rock, AK saw an attendance increase of 28% in 2012 compared to last year.  A total of 447,938 fairgoers attended this year’s event.  The single-day attendance record was hit three separate times this year, including on Saturday, October 6 when 88,210 guests attended the fair.  The Arkansas State Fair ran from October 12 through 21.  Deggeller Attractions provides the midway.

Paid gate totals increased on key days at the Tulsa State Fair in Tulsa, Oklahoma this year.  A new record for paid gate revenue was set on Sunday, October 7.  Overall attendance was down slightly compared to last year due to weather.  The event ran from September 27 through October 7.  Murphy Brothers Expositions provides the midway.

California State Fair & Expo General Manager Norb Bartosik retires this year from his position.  Norb has spent the last twenty years involved with Cal Expo and is spending his final months in the General Manager position to rally support for a revamping of the event.  He states that the grounds need a major overhaul to match the growth in attendance that the fair has seen in recent years.  Attendance at Cal Expo has increased for the last three years.  Butler Amusements is the midway provider at the California State Fair.

The North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh saw its third highest attended edition this year.  A total of 965,297 fairgoers visited the October 11 through 21 event.  Powers Great American Midways is the midway provider.  See next month’s issue for a complete article on the Powers Great American Midways season.

153rd Mississippi State Fair will likely break attendance records once the numbers are confirmed.  The event ran from October 3 through 14 and was on track to host more than last year’s record-breaking 694,000 fairgoers.  North American Midway Entertainment provides the midway at the Mississippi State Fair.

The New Mexico State Fair greeted 407, 265 visitors at its 2012 event, which ran from September 12 through 23.  A single-day attendance record of 67030 was noted on September 19 when admission to the fair was free.  The event ran for 12 consecutive days this year as opposed to past years when they closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.  Murphy Brothers Expositions provided the midway.