Every Erie County Fairgoer knows the iconic Ferris Wheel that stands greeting guests in the morning and illuminating the night sky as they head home for the night, but not many know the story behind this Fairgrounds monument.
The Ferris Wheel is one of over 70 rides, shows and attractions that make up the James E. Strates Midway.
James E. Strates began his travelling carnival business in 1923. He ran the operation until his death when he passed it to his son. The company continues to be family owned and operated in the manor Mr. Strates intended it to be for almost 90 years.
The Midway travels from city to city via railroad. It is the only railroad carnival in the United States. Fairgoers look forward to the day the Strates train pulls into Erie County and the mayhem begins. Strates workers are capable of unloading and reloading the train in around 18 hours.
The 61 car train travels 6,500 miles each and every season and the tour stops at around 16 cities.
The James E. Strates Midway is constantly changing with new technology and innovations. For 2011 they will be introducing four exciting new rides as well as a new system for paying for rides!
New Rides This Year!
One of the new rides is the Happy Swing. It gives the playground favorite an upgrade that makes it fun for kids and adults like. Climb on board what appears to be an ordinary porch swing but turns out to be anything but. The Windjammer Slide, standing 22 feet tall, will also be added to the Strates inflatable lineup. The Ali Baba will take fairgoers on a thrilling magic carpet ride. And finally, the Sky Flyer will lift riders 50 feet in the air in a swirling, twirling vertical swing ride. These are not your average flying swings.
New Strates Shows Fun Card!
Also, this year Strates is introducing the new Strates Fun Card. It is a more convenient way to pay for your rides. Just purchase one card for the whole family by turning dollars into credits. Then as you board the ride the operator will simply swipe your card and you are on your way to fun. No more fumbling around and counting tickets!
Purchase your Fun Card by August 8th online and receive 30 credits for just $20. Starting August 9, credits are 1 credit for $1 or 40 credits for $30 and they can be purchased at any of the Strates ticket booths. . Credits can be redeemed everyday of the Fair but do expire at closing on August 21st. Fun Cards are redeemable on RIDES only.
Tops One Price Ride Days!
They are back! Tops Friendly Markets One Price Ride Days! This year every weekday is a One Price Ride Day. Just bring your original Tops receipt to the Ticket Booth on the top of the Avenue of Flags and receive an all day ride pass for just $20. That is a $5 savings! Each rider needs their own original Tops receipt to receive the discount.
The Midway is one of the most iconic parts of the Erie County Fair. All your favorites are here from classic rides to crazy sideshows and countless games. Make sure you save time in your busy day at the Erie County Fair to enjoy the James E. Strates Midway.