Park officials are hoping 2009 will be much of the same.
“We are official open,” said park manager Andrew Hillman. “We’re continuing to operate it as a historic amusement park, and we’re off to another successful season so far.”
Located on Route 430 in Bemus Point, Midway State Park features a number amusement park rides, an arcade, a beach, picnic pavilions and food vendors. The amusement park is open 12 to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday with the hours effective through Labor Day and special “Kiddy Days” and ride discounts every Wednesday.
“We’ve got an excellent staff this year,” Hillman said. “Things have been running well. The mechanics have done an excellent job going through and making all the repairs that need to be made to make everything safe.”
Children will have fun at the park, as they ride on a roller coaster, spin in the Tilt-a-Whirl, slide down a giant slide, play a round of putt-putt and smash into each other while riding the bumper cars. The arcade, meanwhile, features skeet-ball and other favorite games.
“At this point in time everything is up and operating except the dragon roller coaster,” Hillman said. “We’re waiting on parts from Italy that were special ordered. We hope to have the dragon back up and going soon. Everything else is up and operating and functioning safely and properly.”
But Midway isn’t just for the children, Hillman said, noting adults can also have a good time.
“The best part about Midway is the nostalgia of it all,” he said. “We have families coming here. Grandparents come out and they’re having their grandchildren ride the same exact rides that they rode on when they were kids. It really brings out a nostalgic fun, family-type of feel.”
The park is also full of a rich history.
“It started out as a trolley park,” Hillman said. “The trolley went from Mayville to Westfield. Midway actually got its name because it was midway on the lake between certain spots for the ferryboats and tour boats. Originally there was just the carousel roundhouse and the roller skating building. It expanded from there.”
However, even though the park has seen itself grow, it has been immune to a bad economy, Hillman said.
“We’ve had to scale back our special events,” he said. “We’ve also had to cut back operating by one hour in the arcade. That first hour we generally didn’t get many people … so it’s not impacting the public. We’re trying to run a little bit more lean and still maintain a safe operation.”
But the economy did have one major victim. Instead of doing its annual Fourth of July fireworks show, the park will instead feature a laser light show.
“That’s being done completely through sponsorships this year,” Hillman said. “Due to state budget conditions, we weren’t able to spend that sort of money on an event. Normally, we have fireworks. This year, we were able to have sponsorships going with the laser light show because the sponsors actually get their name up in lights during the show.”
While attendance has been down so far, Hillman knows business will improve.
“It’s hard to tell if it’s the weather or the economy playing a factor,” he said. “We’re expecting our first full ‘Kiddy Day’ operating to be pretty successful. I think more people are staying around home rather than going on the longer vacations. We’re hoping people know we’re still here, we’re still operating and we encourage them to come out for a day of family fun.”
Children at Midway State Park enjoy riding on one of the many rides the amusement park offers, along with food vendors, a beach, and picnic pavilions.