Fairhill: Maine Company Brings Carnival to Neighborhood

A young customer rode the Ferris wheel.

East Coast Midways will be running a midway carnival in Fairhill at Somerset and Second streets through Sunday.

The Maine-based company travels up and down the East Coast between Philadelphia and Maine, giving percentages of proceeds to community organizations.

“We raise money for whatever organization is our committee for the week. They get proceeds from whatever we sell,” said Denzie Dorr, co-owner of East Coast Midways.

This week they are working with The Lighthouse Inc. on Lehigh Avenue. The Lighthouse has worked to serve North Philadelphia since its opening in 1893.

A carnival worker interacted with an excited customer.
A carnival worker interacted with an excited customer.

Dorr said safety is the most important thing for the carnival.

“We try our best to make sure that the kids are having fun, but safety is always first,” said Dorr. “I don’t want to see a child hurt. If it was my child, I would want to make sure that they are safe.”

To ensure safety, a team of over 25 employees inspect and maintain rides daily. The midway also goes through weekly independent inspections and is subject to state inspections.

The crew also cleans up sites before, after and during theirstays.

When they first took over the lot, workers say it was covered in trash and used syringes. Dorr said the company is determined to leave the lot better than they got it.

Foreman Derrick Ziglar said the most rewarding part of the carnival is seeing the happiness of the customers.

“I like the kid’s, the way they react,” Ziglar said. “All of this other stuff going around in their neighborhoods. It’s a place were they can come and get away from all that. They don’t have to worry about what’s going on at home.”

Dorr said she agrees and is proud of the fact that families can get out and have some fun.

“We try to make it pleasant so families will come out, and it gives them a safe day of fun,” said Dorr. “You can go have an entire day of healthy fun, outside in the fresh air.”

A young customer rode the Ferris wheel.
A young customer rode the Ferris wheel.

Although Ziglar and the rest of the crew may be gone as long as six months at a time, many families come and visit on the road–something he said is encouraged by the company.

“This is a big family company and they believe in family,” said Ziglar. “Most companies just care about the company itself. They actually care about us.”