Ray Swyear Rides was started back in 1958 by Ray and Janice Swyear of New Athens, IL. Ray purchased a small kiddie train ride and that was the beginning of the show. With the birth of three sons and a strong work ethic, Ray, Janice and the family built what is known today as Swyear Amusements Inc. With the passing of Ray in 1997 and Janice's retirement in 2013, the second and third generations have taken the helm.
Celebrating 65 seasons in business in 2023, the Swyear Carnival is now being operated by Ray's oldest son, Terry and wife Kathy, their son Adam, and Terry's brother Roger and his wife Teresa; who all work in the day to day operations of the company. In 2016, Terry and Kathy's daughter, Amy, joined the family business operating her Skee Ball Game and managing the Swyear Amusements Food Operation. There are currently 19 members of the Swyear Family; Janice, Terry, Kathy, Adam, Andrea, Damon, Livia, Amy, Ella Rose, Alexander, Danielle, Adalyn, Maylie Rae, Axton, Roger, Teresa, Kyle, Allen, and Tim.
When the grandchildren come out to visit, there is hope that Ray and Janice Swyear's legacy will continue on in the years ahead. With new purchases every year and a love for the industry, the show has grown stronger than ever. New rides, games, and food concessions are upgraded every season. Keeping current with the growing trends of the carnival industry is an enormous task. With a definite love and knowledge of the industry, the Swyear family finds the task enjoyable and very fulfilling.
Winter quarter work is conducted during the months of November through March in our three large buildings in and around New Athens, IL. Painting, repairing and general maintenance is performed at this time. When spring comes around, the rides are clean, shiny, and bright and ready for the special events of the coming season. Roger Swyear, who resides in Apollo Beach, FL during the winter months, completes maintenance on some of the equipment during the shows winter route in Florida. A new building at Roger's Florida based winter quarters was erected to overhaul rides during the offseason there.
There is little down time in this business as fair meetings, trade shows, and winter quarter work consume any free time during our off season.
The Swyear Family takes great pride in their equipment and safety is our number one concern. We not only want our patrons to have a great time, but also a safe and memorable experience while on our midway.