TAMPA, FL - The Florida State Fair Authority announced yesterday its Board of Directors has formally approved W.G. Wade Shows, Inc. as the new Florida State Fair Midway Manager. The Fair Authority's Midway Evaluation Committee brought forth the Wade Shows recommendation to the Board after a formal Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) proposal and review process. Projected benefits of the 3-year agreement include increased patron safety, reduction of the Fair's Midway overhead and increased revenue, and updated Midway brand and uniformity, all while allowing provisions for the Fair Authority to have final control. The contract will begin immediately and Wade Shows will provide a new Midway experience for the 2015 Florida State Fair from February 5-16th.
"We are so pleased with this process and excited about the possibilities," says Doyle E. Carlton, III, Florida State Fair Authority Chairman of the Board. "It is always good to have a fresh set of eyes, and Frank Zaitshik of Wade Shows has been here at the Fair, and has so many great ideas to invigorate our Midway," Mr. Carlton continues. "There will be a new design to the Midway that will be more family-friendly and lend itself to a very secure environment for Fairgoers to enjoy. We feel this move will be positive for all involved."
From 1992 through 1997, and again from 2005 through 2014, the Florida State Fair has operated under an Independent Midway structure, where Midway operations such as rides games and food concessions (in the Midway) were fully managed and overseen by the Fair Authority. In recent years, hard costs, including staffing personnel costs have greatly increased.
The new Midway Management contract, considered a Hybrid Contract, ensures the Fair will continue to maintain the highest quality Midway. The Fair will retain the right of approval over the Midway layout and ride selection. Under the agreement the Florida State Fair will continue to set up and oversee the Mall area, and all non-midway food concessions, which is nearly 80% of total food operations during Fair time.
Wade Shows is the largest family-owned carnival business in the U.S. and plays more State Fairs than any other carnival company. Ranked by Carnival Warehouse magazine as the 3rd largest carnival operator in the U.S. based on attendance, Wade has had a long-standing relationship with the Florida State Fair. The company has been a part of the Fair for 23 years, and has partnered with the Fair Authority on charitable events such as "Miles of Smiles" for underprivileged children. Founded in 1912, Wade successfully manages and/or operates numerous venues including the San Antonio Livestock Show & Exhibition, the Oklahoma State Fair, the South Florida Fair and the New York State Fair; all with an annual attendance range from 550,000 to 1.7 million.
"The Board's decision to approve the Midway Management agreement will benefit all of us," says Chuck Pesano, Executive Director of the Florida State Fair Authority. "Since Wade Shows has been our largest Midway provider for the last ten plus years, the transition from Independent to Hybrid Midway should be nothing short of seamless. Frank Zaitshik of Wade Shows calls Tampa Bay his home and is invested in this community. He is committed to improving with us."
Operating under the direction of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and its Board of Directors, the Florida State Fair Authority, located on the fairgrounds' 330 acres in Tampa, Florida, strives to create positive entertainment experiences through the annual State Fair and variety of year-round events and quality competitive programs. The FSFA is committed to agriculture, education and community service with a focus on new opportunities. The Florida State Fair Authority (FSFA) operates strictly from revenues generated from the annual State Fair and other events throughout the year. Although the FSFA is an instrumentality of the state of Florida, it does not receive any annual tax appropriations from the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County or the State.
Please keep posted to CarnivalWarehouse.com for more details on Wade Shows plan for the Florida State Fair midway.