|Exclusive News and Interviews
NORTH FLORIDA FAIR INKS THREE YEAR DEAL WITH STRATES SHOWS
By MCW Staff
Tallahassee - The North Florida Fair announced today that they signed Strates Shows to a new three-year contract to provide the midway for the fair. Reithoffer Shows had provided the midway for over 25 years. Both Strates Shows and Reithoffer Shows submitted bids for the carnival midway. Manager Mark Harvey said the change in carnivals would provide a new, fresh look for the midway. While satisfied with the performance of Reithoffer Shows, the fair wanted change for their customers.
Jim Strates of Strates Shows said the fair "fits perfectly into our route. We come out of Albany (GA) and go right into Tallahassee. It makes sense in terms of time of year and routing." This is the second major fair signing for Strates Shows this year, having signed the Orange County Fair in Middletown, NY earlier in the year. In addition to these two events Strates said they are working with Gerry Murphy to provide the midway for the St. Lucie County Fair in Florida, which fits nicely into their winter route. Strates Shows also started a brand new county fair, the "Orange County Fair" on property they own outside Orlando. Strates said the fair was managed by the their family and employees including George Weston, who played a major role in the fair's operations. "We didn't lose any money with the fair and we got it off the ground which was more than we expected the first year", said Strates. In 2007, the fair will probably follow the North Florida Fair.
Harvey called the 2006 fair "good", reporting an attendance of 93,000 down slightly from 100,000 in 2005. Ride gross was approximately $710,000. Reithoffer brought in several new rides including their Wild Maus coaster and Speed rides.
This is the second fair for Harvey as manager and he implemented several new promotional programs to boost attendance. "Car Load Night" on November 6th offered unlimited rides and admission for only $45 for all seat belted riders in a vehicle. Nov. 7th and 8th had $14 unlimited ride promotions with coupons available through local merchants. Friday, November 3rd was pre-school day where groups could receive a $10 unlimited ride ticket from 10 am - 4pm. Also popular was the advance sale super ticket for $12. This ticket provided admission and rides for a designated day available only in advance.
In addition to the promotions that were implemented, there were also several beautification projects underway on the fairgrounds. Chief among these was the painting of buildings a variety of colors as part of an overall image makeover for the fair.
The fair also offered a wide variety of free entertainment. "Jurassic Journey" was a popular dinosaur exhibit for all ages. Other entertainment included Tigers Of India, Show Me Swine Racers, Wild World Of Animals and Show Me Safari Petting Zoo. All entertainment was free with admission.
The North Florida Fair ran Nov. 2 - 12, 2006. Gate admission was $7 for adults, $4 for youth and children under 5 were free.