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Modern Midways Rolls through Pandemic with US Based Crew, Introduces Online Ticketing
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Modern Midways had a great 2021 season.  Robert Briggs, owner of Modern Midways, wants to thank his fair partners for their willingness to operate in 2021, and, in some cases, in 2020. “I think we were one of the few shows fortunate enough to open in 2020. We continued our success in 2021 and are looking forward to a great 2022,” says Briggs.

Briggs acknowledges that deciding to run a fair in 2020 or even in early 2021 takes courage. Luckily, the courage to make that decision was met with awesome community response and financial gain. “The fairs who decided to run are now so far ahead of the curve on their fairgrounds with money coming in, they brought cheer and good will to their communities as well,” he says. The Exchange Club of Brunswick Fair, the Kiwanis Spalding County Fair, and the Okeechobee County Fair ran in 2020. “Most of my fairs in 2021 ran and even the army bases I play were up and running. Ft Stewart, for example, was closed to the public but wanted the event to happen anyway. We still had a great turnout. It's been a charming year for Modern Midways,” says Briggs.

By adding both rides and new events to his lineup, Briggs kept things fresh in 2021. “It was a great year for us. I was pretty aggressive when it came to adding new equipment to our ride arsenal. We purchased a Wave Swinger, a Battech Zero Gravity, and a Dalton tractor ride. We also purchased a new funnel cake trailer,” says Briggs. Also new for Modern Midway in 2021: a hugely successful event produced by Briggs himself. “I added the Chicagoland Fair to the route and had record turnout.”

For the 2022 season, Briggs purchased a new Gondola Wheel from Roger Watkins and is hoping to get delivery in May. “We have a deluxe specialty package from Denny's Electronic on that wheel,” he says. Modern Midways is currently up to a 50 ride inventory. Some of the projects the Modern Midways team tackled in 2020 and 2021 include lighting up the Sky Wheel, redoing the Train Of Terror dark ride, upgrading electrical features, and adding a new forklift.

“I believe we are the largest carnival in the industry that moves with all American help; we do not rely on H2B visas,” says Briggs. It's been difficult for many shows to get American employees and keep them. Briggs believes that providing long-term employment, even during the pandemic, was a key to successfully keeping his vital team members. “We were able to keep everyone during the quarantine to work on projects in our shop and we work all year long,” says Briggs.

Briggs acknowledges that there were certain barriers to achieving his normal level of operation. “Fuel expenses are incredible and inspection costs are also rising. Many of our fairs have been flexible in assisting us with this burden,” says Briggs. “We do our best to bring a whole midway package that any fair committee member would be proud to bring their neighbors and family to.” Briggs also approaches fair partnerships with extra tools to help promote the event. “We've helped some of our fairs develop their social media. We've also used the online and advance sale ticketing platform, Innovative Ticketing, at several of our events which has been great.”

Working together with his fairs, Briggs feels that combining the strengths his carnival with the assets of the fair board is a recipe for success.

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