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Saturday, September 15, 2012


Wineka column: Corky Powers is king of the midway


Corky Powers busily helps drivers position rides in the proper location. Powers Great American Midways is setting up for the Cabarrus County Fair at the Cabarrus Arena this week. After the fair is over, Powers will be packing up and heading North to Rowan County for the Rowan County Fair which opens on September 17.
Photo by Jon C. Lakey, Salisbury Post.
By Mark Wineka
from:  salisburypost.com
Thursday, September 13, 2012
CONCORD - Corky Powers is the mayor, the man, the boss.
 His walkie-talkie is always crackling at him with familiar voices, wanting him to make a decision or asking him what to do next.
 Powers thrives on this stress of being pulled in every direction. He's a master of logistics and as good a weatherman as any farmer.
 Chugging back and forth across the fairgrounds in his Kubota utility cart, Powers builds his midway one ride, food trailer and game vendor at a time.
 But Les "Corky" Powers would rather talk about family - how his wife, their four children, the kids' spouses, six grandchildren, nieces and nephews are involved in Powers Great American Midways.
 
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Corky Powers busily helps drivers position rides in the proper location. Powers Great American Midways is setting up for the Cabarrus County Fair at the Cabarrus Arena this week. After the fair is over, Powers will be packing up and heading North to Rowan County for the Rowan County Fair which opens on September 17.
Photo by Jon C. Lakey, Salisbury Post.
In all, 19 family members live this demanding carnival life.
"It's a passion for us," Corky says. "You either love it or you leave it."
This week, Powers Great American Midways is set up at the Cabarrus County Fair. When the fair closes Saturday night, the escape-from-reality midway Powers created will be torn down, loaded and trucked to the Rowan County Fairgrounds.
Starting Sunday, the crews who work for Powers will unload, build and position much of the same equipment again for the Rowan County Fair's opening Monday night.
They'll know where rides go because Corky Powers or his son Eddie will have marked the spots on the ground with lines of orange spray paint.
Corky Powers started in this business 32 years ago with three rides.
Now he has 58 rides, 350 people on the payroll, a fleet of 50 trucks, an expansive year-round shop and multi-million-dollar insurance coverage.

Workers with Powers Great American Midways are busy setting up rides and food vendor trailers for the Cabarrus County Fair at the Cabarrus Arena this week. After the fair is over, Powers will be packing up and heading North to Rowan County for the Rowan County Fair which opens on September 17.
Photo by Jon C. Lakey, Salisbury Post.
Powers also is the midway operator for the N.C. State Fair, one of the best state fairs in the country. In each of the past two years, the State Fair has drawn more than a million people during its run in October.
For that event - his biggest - Powers brings in other operators and creates four different midways with a total of 110 rides, not counting the food concessions, games and sideshows, for which Powers essentially acts as landlord.
Powers uses some of the county fairs in North Carolina, such as those in Cabarrus and Rowan counties, as stepping stones toward the State Fair in Raleigh.
"It takes them all," Powers says of putting together a year of events, including this fall season in North Carolina. "It's all about logistics, too,"
Though it may seem small compared to the State Fair in Raleigh or the Great Allentown Fair in Pennsylvania, the Rowan County Fair will still have 30-plus rides, Powers adds.
Overall, Powers' Rochester, N.Y.-based operation goes to carnivals and fairs in seven states from New York to North Carolina.
read more:
http://www.salisburypost.com/News/091312-Corky-Powers-and-Midway
 
 

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