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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Coleman’s Carnival in Middletown this weekend

Catherine Avalone The Middletown Press 3.29.11

Mary Oakes holds an old Coleman Bros Shows poster from yesteryear while standing in front of a new kiddie ride, "Acceleration Station." Oakes, the granddaughter of founder, Dick Coleman is a third generation Coleman involved with the daily operation of the 95 year old carnival which opens today at 6 p.m. at Palmer Field and runs until April 9. Gates open at 6 p.m. weekdays and from 1 p.m. on the weekends. Thursday, March 31, 2011 By CLAIRE MICHALEWICZ, Press Staff MIDDLETOWN — As a possible snowstorm looms over the area this weekend, Middletown is gearing up for an annual tradition — the Coleman Brothers Carnival, which opens tonight on Washington Street for its 95th year. Carnival organizer Mary Oakes said the carnival has earned the nickname “The Rainmaker,” over the years, because it seems to rain whenever the show arrives in town. Oakes joked that she hopes the name isn’t changed to “The Snowmaker.” Still, Oakes, the granddaughter of the carnival’s founder, said she’s looking forward to the carnival, the first one the Florida-based company puts on each year. While Oakes and other Coleman family members now live in Florida, the company was based in Middletown for decades, and still stores their rides and equipment on Newfield in the winter. In many ways, she said, the Middletown carnival is like a homecoming for her, since she grew up in the city and attended Mercy High School. “It’s kind of neat to see my friends,” Oakes said. “It’s just nice to come back to your hometown.” From the spring through fall, she explained, Coleman Brothers puts on about 25 different carnivals throughout the Northeast. Middletown is always the first, because it’s their hometown. Over the winter, Oakes said, she doesn’t really get a break, as she provides carnival rides to events in Florida. Getting back into the carnival and fair season isn’t usually that difficult, she said, though it involves traveling around the Northeast for several months with family members and the carnival’s many other workers. For Oakes, the carnival is still very much a family affair. She and her brother, Tim Coleman, run most of the show, and other family members help out. Oakes’ niece Kristy Coleman said she’d grown up around the carnival, and she’d spent every summer of her life traveling with her family. “It’s kind of like the same thing every year,” she laughed. “I don’t really now anything else.” READ MORE AT:http://middletownpress.com/articles/2011/03/31/news/doc4d93f1d0c07cd130661639.txt

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