Tonawanda News

Canal Fest

July 18, 2013

The man behind the midway

Corky Powers has powered Canal Fest fun for 25 years


Tonawanda News — “We’ve had a really great working relation all these years,” she said, noting that the museum gets a percentage of the midway proceeds each year. “That’s given us about a fourth of our budget every year. Without it we’d be in rough shape.”

In addition, Proefrock said, Powers has been very supportive of the new Kiddieland exhibit, donating $10,000 for the new area’s pavilions. He also transported the helicopter ride planned for the exhibit back to the business’ restoration shop in North Carolina and had it completely restored, something that would have cost the museum thousands of dollars.

“That’s a real treasure, for him to have done that,” she said.

Powers said that he tries to help out when he can, including a number of organizations on the route up the East Coast.

“I’ve always had a passion for the museum,” he said. “They need all the help they can get. Part of us being here is because of them. ... We do anything we can to help them.”

Larry Denef, president of Canal Fest Inc., also said the 25-year relationship with Powers Great American Midways has been a good one.

“We try to help each other out. ... He probably helps us out more they we help him out,” he said of Powers. “I consider him one of the best independent ride promoters you can ever find. We have no concerns as an organization because we know know he’s very vigilant.”

About 125 people travel in RVs with the midway, including Powers’ family. With game operators and others included, it’s up to about 350 people.

Challenges of the business include finding good help and negotiating the different rules, regulations and laws each county and state have throughout the United States, Powers said. “Every county has different quirks. You have to just be prepared. Nothing’s uniform. If everyone could only be on the same page ...”

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