A longtime provider of carnival rides, concessions and midway games for the Umatilla County Fair closed its doors at the beginning of January.
Michael J. Davis, CEO of Davis Amusement Cascadia, confirmed to the Hermiston Herald in an email that the company would not be running any carnivals in 2020.
“After 80 years and five generations of family business, our company has reached a point where we are no longer able to overcome the high costs of doing business in today’s world,” he said. “Like many other family-owned businesses we have struggled in recent years with the increases in trucking, insurance, minimum wage and labor.”
He said like many businesses, there was a ceiling on how much they could charge the public before it became “counter-productive” in driving business away, and they had reached a point where the company’s revenues could “no longer go as far as they needed to.”
Angie McNalley, Umatilla County Fair coordinator, said in an email that the fair had recently been made aware of the news. She said fortunately she and fair board members were in Roseburg for the Oregon Fairs Association Convention last weekend, allowing them to start preliminary discussions with other carnival vendors who serve Oregon.
“Davis Amusement Cascadia holds the Umatilla County Fair in high regard and has offered to assist in our recruitment efforts in any way that they can,” she said. “We value their input given their extensive knowledge of the carnival and fair industries and are lucky to have the ability to consult with them during this process. We foresee a smooth carnival transition for the 2020 fair.”
Davis Amusement Cascadia is sometimes confused with Davis Shows Northwest, which provides the rides in downtown Pendleton during the Pendleton Round-Up. Davis said that Davis Shows Northwest is run by other members of the Davis family but is a completely separate company and is “still running strong and aggressively with no changes in sight.”