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930,000 attend in 2005


By Dan McGinnis

Photo courtesy of Dan McGinnis

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The James E. Strates Shows returned to the New York State Fair for the 59th time August 24th through September 4th. The show came from the Erie County Fair (Aug. 9-20) in Hamburg New York where they reported a record all time midway gross. Strates shows presented 64 rides for the New York State Fair midway including several one of kind “signature” attractions such as the double decker carousel, and the Huss Top Spin.

The season opened for Strates January 26th at Daytona Beach, Florida and will close November 26th at the Orange County Fair in Winter Garden, Florida. Strates plays 19 dates in 7 states throughout the East Coast including 4 county fairs in Florida, the Dixie Classic Fair in North Carolina and the Georgia-Carolina State Fair in Augusta. Strates also promotes several dates in house including the Anderson County FaiPhoto By Dan McGinnisr in Anderson, SC at the show’s own fairgrounds, the Danbury City Fair in Danbury, CT, and even a fair on the site of their winterquarters outside Orlando

Strates Shows is famous for being the last major show to travel by train. Their appearance in a town is still quite a spectacle. When speaking with E. James Strates about holding on to this tradition he explained, “The advantage to traveling by train is a savings in fuel and insurance costs over a truck transported show.” The difficulty of finding qualified CDL drivers can be a big headache for many shows, but, for Strates it is not much of a problem when traveling largely by train. There are also a minimum of tire and repair costs for trucks on the show.

Susan and Tim Magid, Mr. Strates’ daughter and son-in law, were booked in with their equipment from S&T Magic. The ride line up was as follows; Fire Engine, Haunted Mansion, Dinosaur, Double Carousel, Enterprise, Mangels Fire Engine, Construction Zone, Giant Wheel, Himalaya, Kiddie Boat, Mini Himalaya, Tornado, Musik Express, Pop a Whale, Red Baron, Fireball, Rio Grande Train, Scrambler, Tilt, Top Spin, Wacky Worm, Wave Swinger, Zipper, J&J Inflate Slide, Cliffhanger, KMG Fireball, Jalopy Junction, Family Swinger, Go-Gator, Mini-Indy, Scooter, Starship 2000, Remix, Dartron Giant slide, Owens Monkey Maze, Dizzy Dragon, Hang Glider, Magic Dizzy Dragon, Orient Express, High Slide, King Circus, Merry-Go-Round, Orbiter, Persian Kamel, Century Wheel, Traffic Jam, Tornado, Circus Train, Scooter, Scrambler, Musik Express, Bumble Bee, Kangaroo, Terminator, Drop Zone, Circus Train Inflate, Rock N Roll, Bumper Boats, 4x4 Truck, Moonwalk, and SeaRay.

The midway at the New York State Fair contains plenty of free entertainment for all ages. Some of the attractions included Commerford’s Petting Zoo, Rix’s Big Bear Country, Angel The Snake Child, World’s Smallest Woman, Museum Of World Oddities Sideshow, World’s Smallest Horse, Coronas Hollywood Circus and petting zoo and seal and shark shows. Add the countless number of game and food concessions and you have New York’s largest fair.

The 2006 New York State Fair ended its 12-day run with 932,387 persons attending. It was down 27,758 from 2005 due to inclement weather. When the skies were clear attendance was strong and in some cases record crowds attended. With the drenching rain from Ernesto on key days attendance suffered. Labor Day Monday attendance was 104,268, the second best year ever. Below are the daily attendance totals for the fair:


Thursday, August 24 - 66,613
Friday, August 25 - 90,470
Saturday, August 26 - 78,055
Sunday, August 27 - 56,805
Monday, August 28 - 71,147
Tuesday, August 29 - 64,139
Wednesday, August 30 - 75,730
Thursday, August 31 - 78,890
Friday, September 1 - 102,803
Saturday, September 2 - 46,867
Sunday, September 3 - 96,600
Monday, September 4 - 104,268
Total - 932,387

2005 Total - 960,145
All-time record - 1,011,248 (2001)

The Mohegan Sun Grandstand lineup had a record year, grossing more than $3.7 million with top names Toby Keith, Rascal Flatts, James Taylor, Keith Urban and Jeff Foxworthy. The Chevrolet Court stage continued it’s tradition of two free shows daily with name stars such as Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Billy Ray Cyrus drawing crowds overflowing into the court area.

2006 was the first year for new Fair Director Babette Yunis. The fair brought in over $3 million dollars in cash and in-kind sponsorships under her direction, the most the fair has ever generated. "These sponsorship dollars allow the Fair to provide the outstanding free attractions and improvements that keep our programming vibrant and our grounds attractive," Yunis said. "As operational expenses continue to increase it's imperative that we generate significant revenue sources from other areas," she added.

The dates for the 2007 event are August 23rd to September 3rd 2007.

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