McGinnis Amusements was started Cleveland shortly after World War II by Lewis McGinnis. During the war years he opened a photo studio. As an addition to this business he acquired a pony for children's pictures. He led the pony through the neighborhoods taking children's photos, with his wife, Hilda, who would gather the names and addresses of the families, return with the proofs and take orders. The pony pictures were very popular with the children who loved the free pony ride and the families who enjoyed a new photo to send to the fathers serving in the military.
After the war, when the factories were returning to post-war production, company picnics were commonplace. In response to this activity they added a few more ponies for pony rides, then a small airplane ride — McGinnis Blue Ribbon Amusements was born. With the addition of more kiddie rides, the essential Merry-go-Round and finally a Ferris Wheel, the business prospered as it served the annual neighborhood carnivals sponsored by Catholic churches and other civic organizations in the greater Cleveland area.
Always a family effort, when Lewis died of cancer in 1951, his wife Hilda ably took over the reins. A few years later she married Keith Toles and McGinnis Amusements continued to prosper and grow. During this time the company was renamed McGinnis-Toles Amusements.
After Keith's untimely death in 1963, Hilda was once again alone and in charge.
At various times in the company's history Lewis and Hilda's daughters, Marilyn, Joan and Kay and their families have been actively involved in the operations of the company at various levels, from making cotton candy and running rides, to booking events and managing units.
For many years Hilda's eldest daughter, Marilyn Blois worked with the company and her son, Nick, grew up learning and working in every aspect of the operation. Marilyn, along with her son continued the business upon Hilda's death in 1981 and since Marilyn's death in 2003, the company continues under Nick's able leadership.
Following the long family tradition, Nick's family is all actively involved in the company and another generation is coming along.
Throughout the years the McGinnis Amusements has built and continues to maintain a strong reputation for quality, service and reliability in the industry and in the communities it serves.