Opening weekend milestone made during Strates show’s 95th year in Hamburg
The James E. Strates Shows announced that it has reached an all-time, single day gross revenue record at the Erie County Fair on Saturday, Aug. 10. This single day milestone was just one day of a record-breaking opening weekend in Hamburg, as the Strates Shows celebrates its 95th year providing the amusements at the Erie County Fair. Gross revenues for the Strates Shows midway are trending 25% over 2018 number.
“This past weekend we recorded three, all-time high ridership days. Since 1924, when my grandfather, James E. Strates, first brought his show to the Erie County Fair, the show has never had a three-day run like the one we just experienced,” said John Strates, operations manager for Strates Shows. “To say we had the biggest day in our history during our 95th year makes the milestone even more special.”
During the 180th Erie County Fair, the Strates Shows “mile-long” midway includes 67 rides and over 100 games and concessions. The show is highlighted by the return of the beloved “Sky Wheel” (double-Ferris wheel) and the addition of several rides including the “Claw,” “Frisbee,” the “Avenger,” and the “Crazy Mouse” rollercoaster. These rides join traditional Strates amusements that include the “Big Wheel,” the two-story carousel and Huss-manufactured “Pirate.”
In addition to new rides, the Strates Shows debuted a new guest relations booth located on the midway with the goal of increase customer service satisfaction.
The exclusive, 95-year relationship between the Erie County Fair and the Strates Shows is considered a historical milestone in the modern amusement industry as it is considered the longest continuous run of any carnival midway in the U.S.
The Strates Shows is a 96-year-old family-owned business with headquarters in Orlando. Founded in 1923 by Greek immigrant James E. Strates as the Southern Tier Shows in Elmira, New York, the Strates Shows is considered one of America’s premiere providers of carnival midways.
After the death of Strates in 1959, his only son, E. James Strates, took over as manager of the company and is still actively involved in its operation. Now in its ninth decade, the Strates Shows are led by the third-generation of Strates family members, including Susan, Jimmy, Sibyl, Jay and John. Nick Strates, who officially joined the show full-time during the 2015 season, is the fourth-generation of the Strates family to continue the tradition.
Over the decades, the Strates Shows has brought many innovations to the carnival industry, including cooperative promotions, a centralized ticket system, advance ticket sales, and, most recently, the FunCard electronic ticketing system that utilizes bar codes to control access to carnival rides on the midway.
The Erie County Agricultural Society is a private not-for-profit membership organization. Established in 1819, the society is the oldest civic organization in Western New York. The mission of the ECAS, sponsor of the Erie County Fair, is to preserve and enhance, by educational endeavors, the agricultural and historical legacy of New York. The fair strives to fulfill appropriate aspects of the agricultural, educational, entertainment and recreational needs of Western New York.
The 2019 Erie County Fair concludes on Aug. 18. Lean more at www.ECFair.org.
Images courtesy of the Erie County Fair