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Midway Honored By National Amusement Park Historical Association

Representatives of the National Amusement Park Historical Association will honor Midway State Park on Saturday as part of the park’s 125th anniversary celebration.

Association members will take some rides and recognize Midway’s historic significance in Western New York.

“We are honored to host this prestigious group which sees such value in Midway State Park,” said Erik Kulleseid, state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation commissioner. “The historical significance of what we offer at Midway is bolstered by this honor from the National Amusement Park Historical Association.”

Established in 1898 as a picnic ground near Chautauqua Lake, 2023 marks Midway’s quasquicentennial anniversary as a spot where the public has gathered for 125 years. At the time, Midway was a trolley park – created by streetcar companies to increase business – and gave riders a weekend destination.

As part of its annual tour, NAPHA is recognizing Midway State Park as one of 12 trolley parks that are still in operation today. It is one of 19 amusement parks in the nation that has operated for 125 years or more. Members of NAPHA will be in attendance on Saturday presenting Midway with a plaque at 11 a.m.

In 2018, Midway State Park was a recipient of NAPHA’s Heritage Fund Grant for the 1948 Eli Big Wheel Ferris Wheel and 1960 Allan Herschell Twister project.

“We have some of the oldest of the oldest rides and attractions in the country,” said Midway Park Manager Marla Connelly. “We are honored to have NAPHA include us as part of their ‘ParkHop23’ tour and see exactly what makes Midway so special.”

The National Amusement Park Historical Association is an educational and enthusiast organization dedicated to all aspects of amusement parks. Founded in 1978, it is an international organization dedicated to the preservation, documentation and enjoyment of the amusement and theme park industry – past, present and future.

“We are thrilled to be able to share this historic occasion with Midway State Park,” said Jim Futrell, NAPHA’s Historian. “Since its founding in 1898, Midway State Park has demonstrated its ability to remain relevant in an evolving world. It is so great to again recognize Midway State Park’s unique place in the amusement park industry and its remarkable ability to evolve while respecting its history.”

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