At a glance

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND -

– So what rides is East Coast Amuse­ments bring­ing to Sum­mer­side for the Lob­ster Carnival? Dave Do­er­sam says the Hi­malayan, the big­gest ride in the Mar­itimes, is com­ing along with the Zip­per, the Star Trooper with 2.5 G force and the 65-foot Fer­ris Wheel.

– A roller coaster suited to both adults and chil­dren is com­ing and, of course, the Tilt-a-Whirl. Do­er­sam says even though it is a ride dat­ing to the 1960s, it is still the third top gross­ing ride on the cir­cuit and de­manded by the pub­lic.

– Raider Ride, a 35 x 70 foot jun­gle gym is one of the rides com­ing for chil­dren.

– Do­er­sam says peo­ple will have to come and dis­cover the rest of the rides for them­selves. The mid­way will open at noon on each of the three days of the carnival, July 13-15, and de­pend­ing on de­mand will run well into the evening.

For Do­er­sam, it is more than a busi­ness, it is a way of life. He is the third gen­er­a­tion of his fam­ily to take up the ca­reer which started back in the 1960s in On­tario with his great-un­cle Hughie Soe­nen. His niece came from Saskatchewan to work for Soe­nen and fell in love with the main ride guy. The cou­ple be­came par­ents to Dave. Though they re­tired from the busi­ness, Do­er­sam took their place at the age of seven as a sum­mer em­ployee. He quickly learned the ropes of the busi­ness and by 15 was head of his own crew — dis­man­tling, mov­ing and set­ting up rides.

Never want­ing to do any­thing else, he went on to work for sev­eral mid­ways over the com­ing years. Then when Maritime Rides came up for sale, Do­er­sam joined forces with Adams, a long-time mid­way ca­reerist, to pur­chase the com­pany and moved to the East Coast.

Do­er­sam says most peo­ple don’t re­al­ize what is in­volved in the busi­ness. The mid­way starts op­er­at­ing the first of May, and from then un­til Thanks­giv­ing, he will not have a day off, although all of his staff have one day per week that be­longs to them. He loves the fact that there is noth­ing rou­tine about the busi­ness, and he is con­stantly deal­ing with some­thing dif­fer­ent while get­ting to work out­side. Once school is out, has his wife and chil­dren, ages 10 and four, are with him con­stantly.

East Coast Amuse­ments car­ries a crew of 50, with about 35 re­turn­ing each mid­way sea­son. Do­er­sam ad­mits it is a chal­lenge to find the right peo­ple for the mid­way life, which re­quires a mul­ti­tude of skills.

Staff must be cleared to work with youth, have good life habits, a like­ness for work­ing with the pub­lic and an abil­ity to not only run the rides, but as­sem­ble and dis­man­tle and ser­vice them.

Do­er­sam says while the pub­lic may not see him per­son­ally on the front lines he is con­stantly on­site watch­ing and check­ing ev­ery facet of the op­er­a­tion.

He com­pares the mov­ing of the mid­way from event to event to that of mov­ing a small town — it re­quires lo­gis­tics.

Some ar­ti­facts re­lated to the coun­try’s his­tory are com­ing to com­mu­nity museums in P.E.I. this sum­mer as part of Canada 150 cel­e­bra­tions.

The Com­mu­nity Museums As­so­ci­a­tion of Prince Ed­ward Is­land is co-or­di­nat­ing the project that will see ex­hibits dis­play­ing five ar­ti­facts re­lated to Cana­dian his­tory.

Bin­ders with empty la­bels will give vis­i­tors a chance to in­ter­act with the ex­hibits and de­ter­mine why each ar­ti­fact was cho­sen.

Vis­i­tors will also be asked what ar­ti­fact they would col­lect to tell Canada’s his­tory in 100 years to help shape fu­ture Is­land museums’ col­lec­tion poli­cies.

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