Midway family brings excitement to city
The carnival trucks have returned to the country’s highways, moving from city to city in the annual trek to bring thrilling rides and games of luck to residents of hundreds of communities. Books have been written about the life of the carnival operators, travelling a nomadic route from place to place, then packing up and moving on in the middle of the night to set up on schedule at the next location. The Hauser family from British Columbia has enjoyed that lifestyle for several decades and now has four generations of family members living the life, bringing a clean, bright and exciting show to fairs and exhibitions in the Western provinces. This is the family that for several days this week will make Moose Jaw home while it sets up and operates the West Coast Amusements midway on the Moose Jaw Exhibition Grounds. The Hausers have been part of Moose Jaw’s summer for more than 30 years and have made long-time friends in the city, as they do in the many other locations that attract one of its several mobile units. This family takes immense pride in its rides and games, spending the winter months painting and refurbishing and even going on buying expeditions to bring new games and rides to its Canadian customers. Safety is of prime concern and both internal and government inspections are done with regularity. Rides and games are laid out with a precision that leaves “civilians” in awe, watching as unit managers eyeball the grounds and then go into setup mode, knowing exactly where to place particular rides, games, food concessions, generators, workshops and living quarters. There is a rhyme and reason to how rides and games are laid out, one of them being related to traffic flow, another to security, and a third, the inevitability of poor weather — a situation that sometimes requires operators to engage their emergency plans to protect lives and equipment. In addition to supporting exhibition boards and agricultural societies in partnership communities, the travelling carnival is a source of economic benefit to the local business establishment. In Moose Jaw, West Coast Amusements buys fuel for its convoy of trucks, uses laundromats, purchases repairs for equipment, eats meals in local restaurants, buys food supplies at local grocery markets, shops in local stores, hires some local workers and in all of that leaves many thousands of dollars behind when it pulls out to head to Swift Current — where it all begins again. With the demise of so many of the travelling carnival companies, communities that are able to engage a midway are the beneficiaries, offering local residents an opportunity to participate in the excitement of supporting the fair when the midway comes to town. The rides that come to Moose Jaw offer perhaps the only opportunity some children and adults will have to be thrilled and excited by the spinning, rocking and diving of the modern midway. The midway is a wonderful complement to the agricultural shows, the rodeo, entertainment and food booths that traditionally make up fairs and exhibitions throughout Canada. Moose Jaw residents would be living up to the Friendly City’s reputation if they were to extend a hand in welcome to the Hauser family and its many employees while they make the city a stopping point enroute to yet another destination. Thanks to this travelling entourage for bringing excitement to Moose Jaw.