State Fair Park Board votes to keep midway for 2012 Fair
The Wisconsin State Fair Park Board voted unanimously Friday to bring the midway back for the 2012 State Fair.
The decision came after questions about the midway's future surfaced when an opening night fight spilled into the streets surrounding the Fair Park, leading some to question whether operating the midway was worthwhile to the Fair.
Among those calling for its elimination was West Allis Police Chief Mike Jugbluth.
"Is there a purpose to have the midway as part of the state fair?" Jungbluth told reporters in August. "After 6 at night, it doesn't serve a purpose at all except for a congregation point or a flash point for these mobs."
Fair officials, however, disagreed. Immediately after the incident, organizers instituted a new curfew policy, requiring minors to be accompanied by parents or guardians after 6 p.m. The policy was met with positive feedback and there were no further incidents during the Fair's 11-day run.
Fair Park Board Chairman John Yingling supported having the midway at the State Fair and after Friday's vote felt the board helped preserve a tradition for Wisconsin families.
"A significant number of families and Fairgoers make visiting the amusement ride area a large part of their trip to the Wisconsin State Fair each year," Yingling said. "We plan to offer this traditional form of entertainment and enjoyment as part of our Fair for years to come."
One difference moving forward will be the in-house operation of the midway. For years, State Fair Park contracted with Murphy Brothers Expositions of Tulsa, Okla. Now, the Fair Park will book rides, concessions and other entertainment options in the midway area.
"We have placed a much greater emphasis on the guest experience in recent years," said Rick Frenette. "For 2012, Fairgoers will not only see the return of the amusement ride area, but will see all new rides and attractions continuing our efforts to continually improve the Fairgoer experience."
The 2012 Wisconsin State Fair runs Aug. 2-12 at Wisconsin State Fair Park.
I love the midway and all other rides. Brings great atmosphere and lots of lights. Makes it look like a real entertainment place. Just keep the idiots out.
As a SF attendee i don't care one way or the other if they keep the midway, i don't go to it, i'm not interested in what it has to offer. The decision is purely financial, as it is probably one of the largest revenue makers outside of ticket sales that aren't tired to a club or non-profit. If they want to keep the midway safe and enjoyable for everyone, it would be a smart decision to make the curfew policy a permanent one. Midway, curfew in, idiot racists who think CCW will solve the problem, out.
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