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At the Erie County Fair, the Midway is the place to be

For nearly 100 years, Strates has run the show.

The Midway is the place of prizes and smiles, shouts of callers hawking games with dinging bells and blaring music, shrieks of terror and joy. What’s not to like about the James E. Strates Shows at the Erie County Fair?

The Midway at the Erie County Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

The Midway at the Erie County Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

[Gallery: Scenes from the Midway at the Erie County Fair]

Seeking thrills and laughter are what fair-goers have been doing since the Strates Shows first came to the Erie County Fairgrounds in 1924, “featuring only the newest and best in rides, shows and clean respectable amusements,” according to the contract at the time.

A group of women try to send "Patches" the water clown into the dunk tank on the Midway at the Erie County Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

A group of women try to send "Patches" the water clown into the dunk tank on the Midway at the Erie County Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

The mile-long midway boasts about 70 rides and 100 games, stretching from the Avenue of Flags nearly to the South Park Avenue entrance.

The Midway at the Erie County Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

The Midway at the Erie County Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

You can throw a ball and catch a ride, win a game and see the fair from the top of the Ferris wheel.

Goldfish is a popular prize on the Midway at the Erie County Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

Goldfish is a popular prize on the Midway at the Erie County Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

The fair and Strates Shows have survived world wars, depressions, recessions and boom, with each fair growing and adapting to the changing times, from sideshow barkers to electronic tickets.

And in eight years, the fair and Strates Shows will celebrate 100 years on the carnival midway together, the longest continuous run of any carnival midway in the United States.

On the Midway at the Erie County Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

On the Midway at the Erie County Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

The 177th Erie County Fair continues through Sunday, August 21, 2016.

[Gallery: Erie County Fair: Then and Now]

[Gallery: Faces of the 177th Erie County Fair]

[Gallery: Sideshows at the Fair]

[Gallery: 177th Erie County Fair: A smartphone view]

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