From a humble Canadian 4th grade school dropout to the most successful showmen whose feats can probably never be duplicated, Garnet Walker was a man I am honored to have known and worked with. I was lucky to have been a part of his incredible accomplishments in my early years in the amusement industry.
Garnet left Canada at an early age and rode the rails during the depression. A close friend of his, Charles "Chuck" Magid whose son Tim is still a very active and successful show owner. Garnet started in floss candy and novelty end of the business while Chuck Magid went into the game end of the business. In later years, when they both became successful in their respective ends of the business, they would meet and discuss old times at various conventions. Chuck would boast about his carnival in the Chicago area and Garnet woul
d boast about his numerous ventures!
Numerous ventures is really an understatement. Some of the amazing ventures garnet undertook in his life include:
- Hat stands for numerous years at the three original Six Flags parks in Arlington, TX, Atlanta, GA and St. Louis MO.
- All novelty concessions at the Ohio State Fair, the Florida State Fair and the Mid-South Fair for numerous years.
- All games, hats & balloon stands at Cedar Point Park in Sandusky, Ohio for 9 years.
- Shrine Circus events with novelty & floss candy concessions in buildings in Topeka, KS, Kansas City, MO and Memphis, TN.
- Novelty and hat concessions at the Arkansas State Fair, Little Rock and Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul.
- Games at the Canadian national Exhibition in Toronto, ON.
- Partnered for 17 years in the hat concessions in Disneyland in Anaheim, CA
The two operations I was involved in were the game and hat concessions at Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA and the State Fair of Texas in Dallas which changed the industry. I was involved there for almost 21 years, fifteen in management. It was at the State Fair of Texas that I met my good friend Jim Murphy, now owner of the Mighty Bluegrass Shows. Jim had a ride and game at the fair and worked in the office counting money. His brother Jerry worked in a six cat game and often tells people he made more money at the State Fair of Texas than he did during the whole season with his small show at the time.
Garnet was a humble man who enjoyed fishing and hunting. He loved hunting so much in fact, that he had Carlton Gibson, who still works at the State Fair Of Texas, build him a special home on his five square mile ranch in Lakeland, Florida, to display his animals from the safaris he participated in.
Garnet and I, along with Herman Palmer, framed the games for the midway for the State Fair of Texas. Palmer was a genius in construction and design and when I visited the State Fair of Texas last year, everything looked the same as far as the midway was concerned. One big change that has taken place is the addition of new canvas from Anchor Industries the same company Garnet used in the early seventies, calling them the "Rolls Royce of the of the canvas business. The game operation at the State Fair of Texas was 25 years ahead of its time, changing midways all over the country.