This was the beginning of Davis Amusement Cascadia. As they grew, Mannie and Melba Davis expanded their route to include many more fairs and festivals in Oregon. Although Carnivals only travel in the summer, work continues year round. After a full summer season of events, Mannie would maintain the rides while his wife Melba and his mother Martha would deal with the paperwork side of the business. During the mid 1950s a cousin of Mannie brought a new attraction to the carnival! Sunita the elephant made her debut on the midway and Mannie and Melba employed their 9 year old son Michael as her caretaker. Michael would walk her through the midway as people rode on her back, and she would grab caramel apples out of the window of the cotton candy stand. To go along with the traditional games and rides carnivals have today other attractions traveled with Davis Amusement as well, including a wrestling show, a gorilla show, and an aerial acrobatic act. Although modern carnivals do not have many sideshows today, it is a neat part of our history!
Many of the fairs and festivals Davis Amusement plays today were originally booked by Melba back in 1950. Returning to these festivals for 50 years has allowed the Davis family business to build both business and personal relationships in the community.
As mentioned before, Davis Amusement is a family business. Since its founding the company has been owned by Melba and Mannie’s son Michael, the boy who’s first job was walking Sunita. From there Michael married his beautiful wife Cathy and they continued the company together while starting their own family with their two kids, Michael Joe and Jody. Since their retirement Michael Joe and his wife Celeste have taken over and continued the Davis family legacy, which will one day be owned and operated by their kids, marking fifth generation family owners.