After 50 years with Reithoffer Shows, the Bloomsburg Fair has signed a new midway provider. Amusements of America will be headed to Bloomsburg for the first time in 2018, providing the carnival and concessions. Paul Reichart, Bloomsburg Fair President, says that the fair is looking forward to a change. When Rick Reithoffer of Reithoffer Shows told Reichart that he would not be interested in renewing the contract for financial reasons, Reichart and fellow board members began looking for a new midway provider; "There are no hard feelings. Business is business," says Reichart.
Reithoffer started a westward expansion in 2015, gaining the New Mexico State Fair contract, a contract it recently renewed. In 2017, they also booked the South Plains Fair in Lubbock, TX, a date which conflicted with Bloomsbur
g. With a trip from New Mexico all the way back to the East Cost, increasingly unfeasible, Reithoffer decided to step away after a long relationship
Seeing a possible opportunity with the Reithoffer move, Amusements of America had expressed interest in the Bloomsburg Fair just before Reithoffer Shows' contract was up. "I initially contacted them a year before the contract was up and then when the contract expired I told them I was interested in the fair," says Morris Vivona Jr. Reichart said that the Vivonas were able to visit the Bloomsburg Fair while they were open this past year and that the Bloomsburg Fair sent 4 people to the Coastal Carolina Fair in Ladson, SC to check out Amusements of America's operation and, according to Reichart, the fair was very impressed with the way things ran.
"I'm very excited and very proud to be part of such a long-running, prestigious fair," says Vivona. The Bloomsburg Fair fills a 2 week hole in his unit's route which he has been trying to fill for a while now. "The Bloomsburg Fair is a fair I've had my eye on for a long time and I'm looking forward to doing a great job there," says Vivona. Amusements of America will be coming from Virginia's Isle Of Wight County Fair back up to Bloomsburg, but it was a move the company is willing to make to play this Top 50 event.
Amusements of America will bring approximately 40 rides to the 2018 Bloomsburg Fair. The ride list will include a wide variety of kiddie, family, and thrill rides, says Reichart. When asked in what ways Amusements of America would be different from past midway providers, Reichart said that they're looking forward to working on some special pricing and a nice entranceway into the midway portion of the fairgrounds.
"Working with Amusements of America will be a partnership; We will listen to their suggestions and they will listen to ours. We plan to promote the change in carnival companies pretty heavily leading up to the fair," says Reichart.
The Bloomsburg Fair had a great run in 2017. Their fiscal year officially ends November 30th but Reichart says they'll hopefully end with an excess of around $500,000. Last year's fair featured 1,000 vendors, 1,500 animals and tons of free entertainment for fairgoers to enjoy. "We had a $125,000 entertainment budget last year so we had a great main stage lineup including Chicago, Martina McBride, and Alabama," says Reichart.
Admission into the fair is normally $8 for adults but the fair partners with one of the local supermarkets in order to sell advance sale tickets. 2017 was the first year the fair offered a weekly admission pass into the fair for $35; "This was a great promotion for us, many local people like to come to the fair just for lunch or dinner so the weekly pass was a nice option for them," says Reichart.
Reichart and the Bloomsburg Fair look forward to working with Amusements of America "Change is always a good thing," says Reichart.
Along with the Bloomsburg Fair, Amusements of America has added another new spot to their 2018 route: The Upper South Carolina State Fair. The fair, located just outside of Greenville, SC was also played most recently by Reithoffer Shows. The fair and the carnival were also affected by Reithoffer's westward expansion.
Amusements of America played the event several years back, before acquiring the Delta Fair near Memphis, TN, owned by Universal Fairs. After Amusements, the spot was played by Playworld Amusements then back to Reithoffer before returning to A of A.
"We are very pleased to return to the Upper South Carolina State Fair. We have some great marketing strategies we want to incorporate to make the fair bigger and better than ever," says Dominic Vivona Jr., the company's CFO. Vivona says the event is located in a tremendous, growing area of the country with lots of young families and he believes that adding some great equipment and marketing the event well, could make it one of the best in the state.
The Upper South Carolina State Fair fits well into Amusements of America's route; the unit will becoming out of the midwest from the Ohio State Fair and will begin its southern route with the Upper South Carolina State Fair in Greenville. The company also plays the Gwinnett County Fair in Lawrenceville, GA, the Georgia State Fair in southern Atlanta, the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair in Statesboro, Ga, the Eastern Carolina Agricultural Fair in Florence, SC and they end the season at the Coastal Carolina Fair in Ladson, SC.
Vivona said the company was not traveling to Puerto Rico this year for the first time in many years because of the devastation the island received from Hurricane Maria in September. They company does have a unit in the Cayman Islands where Vivona was reached for this interview.