The first midway was introduced at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. This World's Fair was the first to have an area for amusements that was separated from the rest of the fair. It was thought that having a separate area for such attractions would create a more enjoyable atmosphere for all fair goers. Because the location of this area was in a Chicago Park named Midway Plaisance, fair goers fondly referred to the place as the midway.
Rides, such as the first Ferris wheel and other cultural exhibits were found along the original midway at the World's Fair. The idea was that these attractions were supposed to be lively and entertaining, but there was concern that they would also be distracting from other more subdued exhibits. By developing the midway, the fair operators were able to offer a lively experience of fun and games as well as a quieter experience of strolling through the park-like setting of some of the other exhibits.
Many of today's town fairs and traveling carnivals have midways that aren't that much different from years ago. Fair goers can try their luck at winning a prize at one of many games of chance or skill. They can also take their pick from a wide selection of amusement rides. There is usually something for fair goers of all ages.
The games of skill and chance are always a big hit. They are hard to resist because it always looks so easy to win. However, this is also why these games generate such big profits for the owners. They always look easier to win than they actually are.
As many game players just can't resist paying for one more chance to win a prize, they often find they've spent more than they intended by the time they either win or just give up. This leads some people to wonder if the games may be rigged or if having games that look easy to win just to lure in customers is an ethical thing to do. However, most game players simply enjoy the fun.
If a fair goer isn't interested in games, they can always check out the many rides offered along the midway. There are usually rides that are just for the very young and rides that are for older children and adults. There are also rides like the Ferris wheel that the whole family can enjoy.
Even though carnival midways were introduced over 100 years ago, they are still found in most fairs and carnivals, particularly in the United States. The midway is always a favorite for young children who can't resist all the lights and sounds. It is also quite popular with older children and adults of all ages who may want to try their luck at winning a prize or seek some thrills on an amusement ride.
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