East Coast Amusements Midway
Midway Hours: 12 noon – 11 pm daily – July 7, 8, and 9th
Regular bracelet price during the carnival is $40.00 (bracelet can be used from 12 noon - 9 pm)
$25.00 for 6 rides.
No advance sales, bracelets can be purchased onsite on the carnival grounds.
ATM provided on-site at Midway.
No refunds available for Midway purchases.
The East Coast Amusements Midway is owned and operated by Dave Doersam and his father-in-law Jack Adams. They have been in business for nearly two decades. The partners describe the midway industry as a tough competitive high investment business filled with hard work and long hours that require an astute business mind, dedicated work ethic, and Jack-of-all-Trades skill-set to succeed.
But 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. He started as a midway summer employee with his great-uncle Hughie Soenen when he was seven. He quickly learned the ropes of the business and by fifteen 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. But he loves the fact that there is nothing routine about the business, and he is constantly dealing with something different, gets to work outside, and once school is out, has his wife and two children with him constantly.
East Coast Amusements carries a crew of fifty of whom approximately thirty-five return 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 mantle 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.
A midway is a big financial investment. A ride can cost up to a million dollars. Doersam says liability insurance alone runs his company thirty thousand a month. He says the stats show a person is safer on a midway ride than going for a car drive. It is especially expensive to bring the carnival to Prince Edward Island. The movement of thirty tractor-trailer loads of midway rides and all the support vehicles and equipment across the Confederation Bridge costs the company in the vicinity of six thousand dollars.
Once they arrive on site there is a fee of one hundred and fifty dollars to have each ride inspected and licensed in Prince Edward Island. Fuel for the generator, which runs the rides, support equipment and staff housing will cost another six to eight thousand for the duration of the three day carnival. The midway will pay a percentage of its earnings to the Summerside Lobster Carnival which serves to help mount the event. Doersam says the figures show businesses in a community experience increased sales when a midway comes to town. All things considered, it appears the cost of an unlimited daily midway bracelet is a bargain.
Doersam with his son