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Bungee jumping New York State

Visitors weigh in on the new Midway

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Early results are in for the new Midway, operated by Wade Shows, at the New York State Fair 2014. Clean surroundings, friendlier workers, and more rides were the comments repeated by people visiting the fair during early afternoon on Thursday. Of course, there were some snafus, especially long lines for ride tickets. But most visitors accepted it was the first day of the fair with a new company in charge of rides, games and vendors.

Wade Shows replaced the James E. Strates Shows as operator of the Midway at the fair this year. The company, based in Michigan and Florida, signed a 10-year contract. It promised 63 new rides, 25 food stands, 70 games and 25 novelty and other sales booths to set up at the state fair. The operated also was expected to set up 14 ticket booths for rides.

The Strates Shows had operated the Midway's ride, amusements and concessions since the 1960s.

The Midway's "streets" were tidy and clear of any rubbish. Signage for food and game booths were anything but tawdry in appearance. Many of the game booth interiors were bright and cheerful. Trash cans were not overflowing. Cleaning crews were at the ready. The barkers, who encouraged passersby to stop and play games, were mostly polite and family-friendly.

The Wade Shows colors, white, turquoise and hot pink on some booths brightened up the scene. Picnic tables and benches were protected from the rain in plastic in the same signature colors.

Here is a roundup visitor reviews:

Childhood friends Aliah Debejian, of Liverpool, and Michale Schueler, of DeWitt, were excited after stepping off the Delusion, one of the much hyped new rides. At the cost of $1 million, it is a brand new ride and one of only two in America.

"I thought it was so scary, " said Aliah, 14. "It was so cool. The way the seats rotated, that was crazy."

Aliah said everything on the Midway was cleaner, brighter and the colors popped . "It's more appetizing." Last year, she skipped the rides. "This year I want to do every single one, " she said.

Michale Schueler, 13, analyzed the ride, especially the "logistics." "It was so complicated, but they made it so simple, " she said. She found the change to be a "better experience overall."
"I like the new uniforms. It seems very professional, " said Annette Baker, of Cicero. Pushing a stroller, she was starting her Midway adventure with two children. The search for fun was halted at 12:18 p.m. as she looke for the end of the long line for ride tickets. "That wasn't like that in the years in the past, " she said. "It's very discouraging."

Another mother and her children also stood in the middle of another long line to buy the ride-ticket wristbands. Amanda Fleig, of Stanley, remembered a few years ago she walked right up to the ticket window and purchased wristbands in no time.
Brendan and Karen Van Epps, of Camillus, were sitting in the shade of trees by the kiddie rides near the Sheep Barn. They watched as their son Jack, 8, bounced on the Super Heroes Bungee Jump. "It's much cleaner, said Karen Van Epps.

"I don't think they're quite organized because of the rain, " said Brendan Van Epps.

The parents, who have been coming to the fair for 25 years, said they noticed there is more variety of rides for children this year with Wade Shows.

"I didn't like the way it splits down the middle. I wish it was just one straight path, " said Nicole Sidorowicz, 19, of Manlius, of the Midway layout. Visiting the New York State Fair on opening day is a years-old tradition with her. With that kind of experience, she rated the Midway overall at an 8. The change is for the better, she said.

She decided to skip the rides because of the rain-soaked start of the day. This was Sidorowicz's last chance to visit the fair before heading to the State University College at Fredonia.
Sidorowicz's friend, Tom Sheridan, 20, of Pompey, liked that more rides and activities were available.

Darryl Daniel, of North Syracuse, was struck by the long lines for tickets after passing two empty ticket booths on the Midway. He rated the new Midway operation as an 8 in the cleanliness department. He found no difference in friendly staff from the Strates Shows of last year to today's Wade Shows.

"They seem to be organized, " he said as he waited for his four daughters to exit one of the rides. "They look forward to coming here, " he said. Daniel said he and the girls _ Magestik, 15; Zanaya, 13; Azaria, 9; and Daliyah, 8 _ were spending the day at the fair. Zanaya liked that there were more rides to enjoy.

"It's awesome, " said Sarah Fowler, of Warners, who visits the fair every year. She's looking forward to the upcoming concert with headliner Jason Aldean with Florida Georgia Line and Tyler Farr on Aug. 30.

The rides look better, said Lisa Williams of Syracuse. On the scale of 1 to 10, Williams would give the Midway a 7 in the cleanliness and friendly staff categories. She intends to return with her children.

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