Midway will remain at State Fair Park
Keller Russell & Erik Bilstad
August 5, 2011 Photographs from State fair after the trouble with youths and a wilding incident. Here fair goers and families enjoy the midway at the Wisconsin State fair as normal. MICHAEL SEARS/MSEARS@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Photo: Image by Michael Sears
WEST ALLIS - The Midway will remain at the Wisconsin State Fair in 2012.
The Fair Park Board of Directors voted unanimously on Friday to maintain the tradition of an amusement ride area.
"There really wasn't much discussion. I think the board and staff all agree that the midway is a very important part of the fair experience," said Rick Frenette, executive director of the Wisconsin State Fair.
Calls for it to end, or at least be amended, followed mob attacks on opening day.
The fights started in the midway before streaming into the streets.
In the days after, West Allis Mayor Dan Devine questioned the amusement area's future.
Friday, a change of heart.
"I think it was the right choice."
What eased his mind?
"The midway now is going to be directly managed by the state fair," explained Devine.
Fair officials will now have the ability to hand pick entertainment as well as control the midway's layout, hours and overall operations.
"I think the concerns about security have been on the table and discusssed and I think we've generated enough interest to those topics that I think the midway can continue," the mayor said.
As a mom, Suzi Bloedel is happy to hear the fair is keeping with tradition.
"I think it's great they are going to keep the midway. I think it offers a wide variety at the fair and it attracts a different clientel in the children."
Bloedel felt safe with the beefed up security following the mob attacks and believes it was an isolated incident that got out of control.
Mike Heinen's wife wonders if it's the right choice. He has mixed emotions, understanding family's attraction to rides, as well as young teens looking for trouble.
"It's a good decision but I think that they should limit the time that they have the midway open."
West Allis' police chief publicly said he wanted to see the midway end as a result of the mob attacks.
Calls to his department for a response on todays decision were not returned.
The State Fair's executive director said he and the board chairman did recently speak with the police chief and says he is O.K. with the board's decision.