GAITHERSBURG – The Montgomery County Agricultural Fair would be vastly different without Powers Great American Midways, who has been the fair’s midway provider for the past 11 years.
“[The Montgomery County Fair] has just grown and grown,” said Marc Janas, the GM of Powers. “We have a great rapport with the folks that run the fair, they’re good friends of ours and that’s really important. It just keeps getting better every year. Weather permitting, knock on wood, the attendance just keeps going up.”
The Montgomery County Fair is part of what Janas calls “big fair season,” meaning Powers carries around 400 employees to the event.
For comparison, Powers’ largest event is the North Carolina State Fair, where they carry 600 people.
Janas estimated out of that large group, maybe 50 can be considered Powers lifers, with a few of those individuals having been around since the inception of the company in 1980.
Janas, whose great-grandparents worked in the outdoor-entertainment industry, is a part of the fourth generation of his family to work in the family business.
His uncle, Corgi Powers, part of the third generation, owns Powers with his wife.
At Powers, all the men in the family have management positions within the company and all the wives run the food stands. Janas’ wife runs a popular gyro stand that is making its first appearance at the Montgomery County Fair this year.
One of Janas’ favorite parts of his job is the joy he brings to all the people he meets, he said.
“We always try to go a step further to provide a little better experience for folks who come out to visit us,” he added.
The family atmosphere is not the only thing that draws people to Powers. The allure of traveling the nation also attracts many people.
“It’s really cool, it’s nice to experience this,” said Lea Ndri, who came from South Africa to work for Powers. “I’ve never been to the states and it was the opportunity of a lifetime so I was excited to come here and do this.
She heard about the work through family three years ago and decided to come to the states and apply.
Her favorite memory is all the exciting places she has been, she said.
Additionally, Powers has a mobile school, the Powers Learning Center that allows parents to sign their kids up to travel with the group up and down the coast.
Powers has a teacher on staff and the students, who range from elementary school to high school age, take online classes based on whichever curriculum their parents choose.