The Future of the South Carolina State Fair
Fair to go independent in 2007?
With all the letters of interest due for the SC State Fair independent midway, previously discussed here on MCW, we thought it was an opportune time to catch up with Gary Goodman, manager of the South Carolina State Fair, to check on the responses and level of interest for an independent midway. Mr. Goodman graciously gave us the information and the position of the fair at this time. There have been several rumors going around in the industry that two or three fairs are exploring forming some sort of "independent route" in the fall. We asked Mr. Goodman about this as well. With many large fairs at least flirting with the idea of moving to an independent midway, this has become quite a hot topic in the industry. There are numerous issues for the fair to consider including ride availability, look and management of the midway and possible additional liability issues just to name a few. Perhaps MCW should conduct a round table in the future with fair managers and carnivals owners on the topic. Let us know your thoughts MCW: Where is the SC State Fair in the process of researching an independent midway? Have any decisions been made yet? GG: We are continuing to investigate all aspects of implementing and managing an independent midway. No (decisions have been made yet). MCW: How was the response from your letter of interest? How many responders did you get? Could you share some of the names of the respondents? Were they mainly independent ride operators or carnivals as well? GG: The response was very positive. We received 38 responses with 8 from carnivals and 30 from independent ride and game operators. We also received responses from some operations interested in partnering in permanent rides on our grounds. MCW: Are you considering going independent in conjunction with any other fairs? GG: No MCW: Are you investigating options with single carnival operators as well? GG: Not at this time. MCW: What are some of the benefits of an independent midway for the SCSF? GG: Control of the operation, control of pricing, variety of ride mix and possible increase in revenue. MCW: What are some of the drawbacks? GG: Additional costs and management duties. MCW: When do you anticipate a final decision being made? GG: At the close of the 2006 fair, October 22. MCW: How did the transition go from Conklin to North American Midway Entertainment (NAME)? GG: Smooth MCW: Anything new we should be looking for at the fair this year in 2006? GG: We've expanded the sq. footage of our midway and are shifting some rides from the kiddieland to the new area. We hope this will ease the crowding in kiddieland. Thanks to Gary Goodman for his responses!