Local News

Powers Great American Chosen To Run Midway At 2006 State Fair

Posted January 19, 2006 7:07 a.m. EST

— It took a carnival-like game to select

Powers Great American Midways

as the new Midway operator for the 2006 State Fair.

State Fair officials chose to negotiate the one-year agreement with Powers Great American Midways after receiving a single bid of $3 per person from Wade Shows for a three-year contract last week. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler rejected the bid, saying it was too low.

"It's kind of ironic that in this instance, the bid process forced us to go a different route," said Brian Long, of the state Department of Agriculure.

Instead of rebidding for the contact, agriculture officials decided to try an unconventional approach. They decided to approach the five pre-approved carnival companies -- Powers Midway, North American Midway Entertainment, Strates Shows, Reithoffer Shows and Wade -- with a deal that would pay the state $5.50 per paying customer.

Officials put the names of the five companies in a cup, pulled them out one-by-one and started calling the companies. The first company selected, Powers Midway, accepted the deal.

When asked whether pulling names out of a cup would look like a back-room deal, Long responded, "You want to be random in the order you call these folks."

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

The State Fair is scheduled for Oct. 13 to Oct. 22, 2006.

Based in Burgaw, Powers operated the midway for the N.C. Mountain State Fair near Asheville in 2004 and 2005, and has played fairs in Rowan, Wayne, Onslow, Columbus and New Hanover counties.

The company will also operate the midway for the 2006 Dutchess County Fair in New York, which annually draws more than 500,000 people.

Since the N.C. State Fair adopted an attendance-based payment method in 2003, the amount the carnival company pays the fair has topped $4 million annually. Previously, the carnival paid the state a percentage of ride receipts, which generated about $2 million a year for the fair.