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Campbell Amusements toasts 50 years of thrills at Expo Ormstown

“We all share a love for the fair and the midway,” says Ormstown resident George Barrington, who grew up just steps away from the iconic main gates of the fairgrounds. He started working at the fair when he was 14 and has a lifetime of memories about the annual event and one of its biggest contributors, Campbell Amusements.

Barrington has been asked to speak at a dinner commemorating the 50th anniversary of the partnership between the Livestock Breeders Association of the District of Beauharnois (LBA) and Campbell Amusements on June 5, on the eve of this year’s edition. He says that from the very beginning, Don and Joyce Campbell have been a part of the Ormstown community.

The pair started out small with a concession stand in 1967. The death of showman King Reid Lefebvre and his touring carnival a year later opened a business opportunity. Barrington credits the Campbells for cleaning up the carnival scene and creating a new type of midway that was focused on family entertainment including rides for children, skill-testing games, and attractions such as the haunted house.

“Don got his feet on the ground in Ormstown,” says Barrington, who notes the Campbells received encouragement and backing from some of the major players at the Ormstown Fair to develop their midway. The partnership only grew stronger from there, so much so that Campbell Amusements continues to secure all the permits and necessary permissions to work in Quebec even though Ormstown is their only stop in the province.

 

The midway put on by Campbell Amusements at Expo Ormstown is always a major draw for the fair which takes place this year on June 6 7 8 and 9 PHOTO Sarah Rennie

 

According to the Campbell Amusements website, the couple built their company while raising their family on the road with the show every summer. Now their son Danny, who took over the business in 2003, is leading the team while touring with his own young family. Barrington confirms that Danny has more than maintained his father’s vision and commitment to quality and a safe and fun family event.

Campbell Amusements continues to be a driving force behind the fair as one of its top sponsors. They also generously donate prizes for many kids’ events, says Barrington, who suggests this further demonstrates the strong community ties the company and its owners have built over the years.

Campbell Amusements has grown significantly from its earlier days to become one of Canada’s pre-eminent midway providers. They now bring over 45 carnival rides and midway games to communities throughout Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

Their 2024 season started early in Brantford, Ontario, in late April. Their last stop before rolling into the Valley is the Trenton Kinsmen Club Carnival, which ends on June 2. After packing up the midway rides and games and saying goodbye to Ormstown, they will head for Saint John, New Brunswick for that city’s annual Community Fair.

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