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Strates Shows Railroad Carnival

E. James Strates: A Carnival Life on Rails

Strates Shows Railroad Carnival

Strates Shows has a history dating back to 1923 when James E. Strates, a Greek immigrant, began his first show. Mr. Strates came to America in 1909 and, like many immigrants, worked at a number of odd jobs.

In 1919, he joined a carnival athletic show as a wrestler taking on all challengers.

In 1923, James E. Strates acquired Southern Tier Shows and in 1932 changed its name to James E. Strates Shows. Mr. Strates continued to build and manage the carnival until his death in 1959. At that time his son, E. James Strates, assumed responsibility for the carnival and still operates it today.

Since 1959, many changes have occurred in the carnival business. E. James Strates has been an innovator from the beginning, bringing many firsts to the amusement business such as cooperative promotions, advance ticket sales and a centralized ticket system.
In our technological society, the animals and rare “freak shows” have become a thing of the past. Today, fairgoers are more attracted to large spectacular thrill rides.
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