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York State Fair secures new midway vendor

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

"America's first fair" will have new amusement rides next year.

The new vendor comes as the fair has changed its name and logo and moved the event from fall to summer. 

James E. Strates Shows, a traveling railroad carnival based in Florida that's contracted with the York State Fair in the past, will provide midway services to the fair beginning in 2020.

"They’re a family operation," said York State Fair CEO Bryan Blair. "They’ve been very good to deal with getting all of this set up, and we just look forward to getting them back in York."

Strates Shows provided rides, games and attractions to the fair from 1937 to 1947 and again from 1950 until 1979, according to the York State Fair news release.

The change is the result of the York State Fair changing the dates of the fair from fall to summer. The 2020 fair will run from July 24 to Aug. 2.

The York State Fair learned in May that the current midway provider, Deggeller Attractions Inc., would not be available for a summer event in York due to scheduling conflicts.

Blair said he still receives messages on social media from longtime fair patrons about bringing Strates Shows back to York, and that people have fond memories of the Strates Shows trains rolling into town ahead of the fair.

The two parties signed the contract on Aug. 20, Blair said, more than two weeks before the 2019 fair opened on Sept. 5.

"I think Bryan Blair is really making a lot of great changes and positioning to grow into the future, and that’s important to us," said Jay Strates, director of finance and administration for his family's carnival business.

The fair leadership didn't announce the vendor change earlier because they didn't want to overshadow the 2019 event, Blair said.

Deggeller Attractions and the York Fair made headlines during this year's fair when two patrons and a ride operator were injured Sept. 13 due to an equipment malfunction on Deggeller's Giant Wheel ride.

An unidentified man fell about 25 feet to the ground and landed on the asphalt near the ride due to a faulty pin that caused a metal rod to come loose, according to a state Department of Agriculture report.

Blair confirmed Friday that the vendor change had already been finalized before the opening of the 2019 fair and said it had nothing to do with the Sept. 13 incident.

More:Report: Faulty metal pin caused Giant Wheel accident at York Fair

More:State OKs York Fair rebranding — with conditions

More:VIDEO: York Fair officials give an update on ride injuries