The term originated from the World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago, Illinois in 1893. It was the first world's fair with an area for amusements which was strictly separated from the exhibition halls. This area, which was concentrated on the city's Midway Plaisance, included carnival rides, among them the first Ferris wheel, belly dancers, balloon rides and other attractions.
In the years after the Exposition closed, midway came to be used as a common noun in the United States and Canada1 to refer to the area for amusements at a county or state fair, circus, festival, or amusement park.
- Midway. Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 11th Edition. Retrieved 2nd August 2012 from CollinsDictionary.com Web site: "a place in a fair, carnival, etc, where sideshows are located" http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/midway