Local News

State Fair Midway Operators Seek Deal After Rebuffing Bid Process

Posted January 15, 2006 6:41 a.m. EST

— Carnival companies that refused to bid on a contract to run the rides at the North Carolina State Fair are asking for a closed-door process that would give one of them the business.

Three of four carnival companies that rebuffed the open bid process for the state fair have asked state agriculture officials to open negotiations for a contract to handle rides, games and food.

The calls to Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and State Fair Manager Wesley Wyatt show the carnival companies want the fair's midway contract -- but not on terms favored by the state.

The head of a Los Angeles-based midway entertainment company that wants the deal says North Carolina has unreal expectations of what it should get.

Only one company offered to operate the State Fair midway for the next three years. But the offer from the operator of last year's fair was about half what it paid last year and state officials rejected the bid.

Officials, who are expected to decide this week how to handle the midway for the 2006 state fair, are considering three options: an independent midway in which fair managers broker deals with individual ride, game and food vendors; a second call for sealed bids; or a negotiated midway contract.