Living life on the midway

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For decades, the Brigden Fall Fair has for many marked the beginning of fall, but for Barry Ford, it is an ending.

The Nanticoke man is a crew leader of World’s Finest Midways which makes its circuit around the Ontario providing rides for all the community fairs. Brigden is the last stop on the tour which starts in April.

The 50 people who set up the midway and the games have come to Brigden from Caledonia’s fall fair – a three-hour drive. The rides like The Zipper and Monkey Business have traveled about 4,000 kilometers this summer.

Ford says the set up crew usually goes from town to town setting up in a matter of hours, but this year, there is a one week break between the Caledonia Fair and Brigden.

The crews have been taking their time, cleaning equipment and painting, preparing the rides for storage before the thousands of Brigden fair goers hop on for a ride.

Ford and the crew bring their living quarters along with them, staying at the fairgrounds before and during the event.

Terry Warboys has been working with World’s Finest for 33 years. He brings his own trailer along with “all the comforts of home.” All but one; his wife works for World’s Finest’s other crew which is in Markdale this weekend.

Warboys likes the routine of the travel and working with his hands and he doesn’t miss his family too much, they often come out to the community Warboys’ crew is working to visit the weekend of the fair.

He expects in the spring he’ll sign up for another summer of travel with the midway. While he complains at first about not being able to work 8 am to 5 pm, he likes the routine of the travel and the work. And Warboys likes meeting old and new friends.

“There’s quite a few spots where we have people from the community work for us every year,” he says adding he looks forward to reconnecting with them.

Ford agrees. He still loves the work and says even though large amusement parks have sprung up around the world, there will always be a call for he and his crew to set up midways across Ontario.

“Fairs are a tradition for communities,” he says. “They’ve always done it. As long as the fair boards keep the interest and keep the costs down, people will come because it is their fair.”