All Around Amusements focuses on keeping their show stocked with the most updated support equipment and newest rides possible. "I would rate my show #1 in the Chicago area. I stay ahead of the competition by rotating the newest rides and equipment into my show. I am dedicated to building and maintaining a 1st rate show," says Robert Salerno, All Around's Owner.
This year, Salerno has invested in lots of new equipment and amenities for All Around Amusements. Ride-wise, Salerno has purchased 2 new ferris wheels from the Czech Republic: a 50ft wheel and a 72ft wheel. Additionally, Salerno has purchased a new Flying Bobs ride from Wisdom that will be racked on 1 trailer ride: the first of its kind from the manufacturer.
Salerno is planning to debut the new-style Flying Bobs ride, ni
cknamed "Fast and Furious" in Gibtown.
Salerno has also ordered a new food trailer that will be ready for the start of next season as well as a complete set of park benches, new ticket boxes, and new ATMs. He also purchased a new bunkhouse from Recreation By Design in order to house his H2B employees. All Around Amusements was fortunate to gain H2B laborers this year. Salerno currently has 20 H2B visa employees on his show, up from the 15 he had last season.
Salerno values his employees and works hard to keep them motivated so that his show can continue to grow and improve. "My employees are not afraid to work hard and stay organized especially when they are incentivized," says Salerno.
He currently has an incentive program in place that rewards employees for increased revenue with the opportunity to earn a $25 daily bonus. "I average about $250 a day in bonus money and I'm happy to pay employees top dollar for good work," says Salerno. Through the use of his incentive program and help of dedicated employees, Salerno is able to move his whole show in under 4 hours. His ability to move quickly and safely while keeping the most modernized equipment on his show keeps his event partners happy.
All Around Amusements' route travels through Indiana, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Two weeks ago, All Around Amusements played Fiesta Del Sol, the 2nd largest Hispanic festival in the nation which draws a crowd of around 1.2 million over the four days of the festival. "The committee is a dream to work with. We have formed a very good, respectful relationship over my years playing the festival," says Salerno.
After Fiesta Del Sol All Around Amusements was split into two units temporarily in order to play a county fair in Wisconsin and a church festival in Chicago.
Due to the recent accident at the Ohio State Fair involving a Fireball ride, Salerno has ran into a bit of a dilemma with his KMG Freak Out. Proceeding the accident, the state of Illinois decided to suspend the usage of Freak Out rides in addition to Fireball rides and Technical Park Street Fighters until the investigation into the Ohio State Fair accident was complete. This took all Illinois Freak Out rides out of service for approximately one week.
While All Around Amusements was split into two units, his Freak Out Ride was booked separately in Michigan with Bill Skerbeck. According to Salerno, the Freak Out is one of his higher grossing rides and to not be able to put it up at his spots is an unfortunate turn of events. "I am grateful to have the opportunity to book the Freak Out with Bill. He's a very good, respectable man and I enjoy working with him," says Salerno.
However, Salerno was dedicated to getting his Freak Out ride up and running on his own route again very soon. He worked in unison with other showmen who were affected by the suspension in order to get the equipment running again in Illinois for the rest of the season. KMG put out a notice asking Fireball rides through serial # 39 be grounded as well as Spin Out rides, but Freak Outs, which are manufactured differently were excluded, yet Illinois chose to suspend the ride from operating temporarily.
Salerno made a car analogy to show his frustration. "Imagine there is a recall or accident with a Corolla, you would expect the government to ground Corollas and any car that had the same issue but you wouldn't expect them to ground all Toyota cars on the road. That's essentially what is happening here", said Salerno.
Fortunately, as of August 1, The State Of Illinois announced they would be lifting the suspension on Freak Outs pending NDT testing and re-inspection of each ride.
Currently, All Around Amusements has a 5 acre winter quarters in Illinois but Salerno has recently purchased a new 7.5 acre spot with buildings so that he can keep his new equipment sheltered throughout the off-season.
He is currently in the process of creating a 60ft by 20ft state of the art spray paint booth to be used in the off season. Salerno got most of his inspiration for his new winter-quarters set up from Corky Powers. "I really admire Corky Powers' operation (Powers Great American Midways). I got a chance to see his warehouse and it gave me incentive to work harder and achieve more in this business. I want my show to be state of the art and second to none," says Salerno.
At the beginning of next season, All Around Amusements aims to have 3 food trailers and around 30 rides; this way the show can split into two units permanently if necessary. Salerno's main goal is to grow into two fully operation units: one for his son and one for his daughter. Currently, Salerno relies on the help of his wife, his daughter, and his 5 operating managers to help keep All Around Amusements a top-notch, competitive show.
Salerno has been in the business for over 35 years. He started out working on his dad's show. But, when his dad wouldn't give him a raise, he moved out on his own and got another job, saved up his money, and eventually bought out a show called Glory Amusements. He then continued acquiring more rides to continue growing his show.
Salerno says that his father was always teaching him life lessons when he was growing up that he just wasn't old enough to appreciate at the time. "at a young age, I did not understand why my father charged me $25 a week to live in his house. But then I moved out and realized how much it costs to live on your own. I know now that my dad was teaching me you have to spend some money to get ahead and I am thankful to this day that he taught me that valuable lesson," says Salerno.
Family is of the utmost importance to Salerno. He is close with his extended family, who own Windy City Amusements, they visit each other's shows and are always willing to lend a helping hand to each other when they need it. "I know that I will make money in my life, but my wife and children are my blessings and the only reason I've made it this far in my life," says Salerno.
Outside of All Around Amusements Salerno does snow plowing, landscaping, and construction work but he says the carnival is hands down his favorite job. "It can be hard work and thankless at times but when you see the whole picture and the smiling faces of the guests it's all worth it," says Salerno.