01/20/06 — State Fair midway vendor is familiar to Wayne residents

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State Fair midway vendor is familiar to Wayne residents

By Turner Walston
Published in News on January 20, 2006 1:48 PM

People who attend the North Carolina State Fair this year will find out what Wayne County officials say they have known for several years -- Powers Great American Midway puts on a good show.

Powers was selected Thursday by state officials to operate the carnival at the 2006 State Fair. The Burgaw-based amusement company owned by Corky Powers has operated the midway at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair since 2000 and will do so again this year.

Powers will move directly to Raleigh from Goldsboro after the Wayne fair, which runs from Sept. 28 through Oct. 7. The State Fair begins on Oct. 13.

Wayne fair director Milton Ingram said a Powers representative had assured him that the company would continue to operate the midway in Wayne County. Powers' selection bodes well for the local fair, Ingram said.

"I think it speaks well for us in that we recognized the quality of his operation years ago, and we're fortunate enough to get him to come," Ingram said.

Ingram said Powers will improve the quality of the State Fair.

"I feel like it's going to really be a plus for them," Ingram said. "He's the best game running right now. I feel very, very confident that there won't be any ride safety problems," he said, referring to issues that delayed opening rides at the 2005 State Fair. "There won't be a problem like that this year."

In light of the State Fair contract, Ingram said Powers could buy new equipment, which would benefit the Wayne County carnival.

"That helps us out," he said.

Powers will pay the state $5.50 for each person who buys a ticket to the fair. The state could bring in $3.7 million to $3.9 million from the contract, based roughly on last year's fair attendance figures, Agriculture Department spokesman Brian Long said.

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler began looking for a new fair vendor after rejecting a bid last week of $3 a head from Wade Shows of Spring Hill, Fla., the company that won last year's midway contract.

That bid, the only one the state received for a three-year deal to operate the rides and games for the popular fair, would have netted the state about $2 million.

"The amount of $5.50 is realistic for both the State Fair and Powers Great American Midways," Troxler said. "The company has an excellent reputation for quality and safety, and we're looking forward to working with them at the fair."

Powers was one of five companies that the State Fair had approved to bid on the midway contract, Long said. The others were North American Midway Entertainment, Strates Shows, Reithoffer Shows and Wade Shows, the department said.

After rejecting the Wade Shows bid, officials decided to negotiate a one-year deal with one of the companies and settled on the $5.50 price, Long said.

They drew names to decide which company to approach first. Powers was the first name drawn and the company accepted the deal, Long said.

"We would have been pleased with any of the five," Long said.