6.9.04

EVERYTHING WE LIKE GOES AWAY. Labor Day weekend is often the end of those grand summer attractions of years ago. Will at Vodka Pundit reports that the end has come for the Miracle Strip Amusement Park at Panama City Florida, one of a dwindling number of old-style beachfront amusement parks. (Sandusky's Cedar Point and Santa Cruz's Beach Boardwalk have perhaps best made the transition to the theme park era.)

In Nebraska, the State Fair ( a farm state losing a state fair??) is also closing, unless a referendum to earmark (you have to have pigs or cows at a state fair to get the reference) lottery money for the fair passes.

There were still many traditional attractions at the fair, though in diminished quantities. Farm kids still displayed livestock they'd raised; quilters competed for blue ribbons, and display cases were filled with prize-winning cookies, cakes, preserves and pickled tomatoes. A 403-pound pumpkin was a popular draw--and the cattle-herding competition featured wholesome farm-family values: One competitor was disqualified for uttering a swear word."

Watch your language," a judge warned. "There are children here."

But such mainstay farm animals as cattle, pigs and horses were shown on only a handful of days, rather than throughout the fair's 10-day run. And all the exhibits and attractions were hobbled by the dilapidated facilities that housed them. Leaking roofs, broken windows and an absence of air conditioning plague nearly all the fairgrounds' 72 buildings, the newest of which was built in the 1970s. There's no money to repair the buildings so they could be rented throughout the year to generate additional revenue.

There is one piece of good news, however ... a drive-in theater reopening in Wisconsin. The drive-in theater is a canonical example of the opportunity cost principle at work: although the theater may report a decent bottom line to the tax man, the owner has to consider what the land could fetch if sold for tract housing.

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