Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

April 3, 2009

Geren Rides is back

VALDOSTA — On Friday night, the lights went up on the midway.

Geren Rides opened for business last night at the Valdosta Mall, the first time in nine years that the local midway has debuted here.

The midway will be in Valdosta until April 12.

“We live here, so we used to always open and close here,” Joanna Geren, co-owner said. “Then Wild Adventures came and it kind of took the novelty off. It just wasn’t producing what it should.”

Geren and her husband Jerry decided to give Valdosta another go this year, a move Geren hopes will be successful for them and an entertainment treat for local residents.

The family has lived in Dasher since 1963. The midway was started by Jerry’s father, who was convinced to move to Lowndes County from Indiana by another show owner who lived here,

she said.

“It was too cold in Indiana in the winter to do maintenance,” she said. “We’ve been here long enough to be considered Georgians.”

Four generations of Gerens have worked under the bright lights of the midway.

Carrying on the family business, Geren’s son Glenn and his wife Diane, along with their daughter Hilary, all work with the midway.

Hilary is currently a student at the University of Miami.

“She will be here next weekend. The funnel cake trailer is her college fund,” Geren said.

This is the first location of the year for Geren Rides. In 2003, the business expanded outside of Georgia and now sets up in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and Mississippi during the season.

The family has a joke about the right time to pack up and head out for the year.

“When the wisteria starts blooming, it’s time to leave,” Geren said.

The location at the Valdosta Mall is really tight, so the Gerens had to be selective in the rides and stalls they set-up, she said.

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