The International Independent Showmen's Foundation (IISF) Trade Show and Extravaganza held in Gibsonton, Florida is celebrating it's 50th year. Trade Show attendees can expect more exhibitors, more rides, and relevant seminars packed into a shorter trade show.
Teresa Rimes, the Executive Secretary for the IISF is enthusiastic about this year's trade show February 6th-9th 2018. According to Rimes, "the building is sold out and the outside area is busting at the seams." This year, the trade show will feature 27 new exhibitors compared to last year's 13 or 14. "We are all very happy about this year," says Rimes.
The trade show will be one day shorter this year, a change that trade show attendees have been pushing
for, according to Rimes. The trade show will be Tuesday-Friday and with Saturday being cut. "The 4 day structure is happening on a trial basis this year," says Rimes. When asked why people pushed for the decrease in dates Rimes guesses "People in the industry have a lot to get done before the season really gears up so I think they're just ready to get home and get prepared."
The number of rides outdoors is increasing.
Fajume Rides is back this year and bringing their Sky Copter kiddie ride.
PWS Rides from the U.K. is bringing a PWS Sizzler ride and a Booster ride.
Kolmax-Plus is bring rides and their space requirement is larger this year than last, says Rimes. At last year's trade show they brought about 4 rides. This year they are bringing a Bumper Car ride, a Carousel-menagerie, a Tea Cup ride, and a Flying Elephants Ride.
Luna-Park will be at the trade show and exhibiting two rides including a Ferris wheel with a new look and a children's Carousel ride.
Three different Czech Republic companies are bringing a Miami-type Ride to the trade show this year: Amusement Ride Imports, Funlight Amusements, and Bojuxcom S.R.O. Rimes says that these companies are American brokers for Czech rides. "All three rides are ready to go and ready to be sold at the trade show.
Wisdom Rides Inc. will bring their new highly anticipated Y-Factor ride.
A new company joining the outdoor exhibit space is Play 8 Ltd. "they're picking up a 30x100 space and bringing inflatables," says Rimes.
Action World will show a mobile trampoline park.
KMG Europe will be showing the new Speed ride they built for Kissel Entertainment this year.
Rides 4-U will be bringing in 5 rides to the trade show according to Len Soled. The Frog Hopper, Mini Break Dance (sold to Eric Bates with Majestic Midways), a Mini Pirate Ship, a Circus Train, and a Drop & Twist manufactured by SBF and sold to Triple Treat Shows, will all be on display in the Rides 4-U area.
One new exhibitor in the indoor space is a company from Russia called RoboLabs which is bringing an innovative cotton candy machine. Rimes recalls seeing them at the 2017 International Association of Amusement Park Attractions (IAAPA) trade show in Orlando, Florida. "It's a fancy, stand-alone machine. He starts spinning the cotton candy onto the stick near the machine but then he starts walking away from the stand and continues spinning. Once he was done, the round had to have been about 1ft wide," says Rimes. RoboLabs calls it Flying Cotton Candy.
Also exhibiting inside is a company from Cyprus called WCA International which is doing business at the trade show as "Ride Zone." Rimes doesn't know exactly what they're bringing but says they described their product as "the first app for amusement ride operators."
Rimes says that they have a lot of ATM companies exhibiting in the indoor space, "we have probably 7 ATM companies this year," she says. The electronic ticketing company, Magic Money, is exhibiting indoors and has requested a big space. Magic Money utilizes machines for re-loading tickets on to Magic Money wristbands.
Educational Topics and Seminars
Because the trade show was cut down to only 4 days, the time for seminars and educational programming is more limited, says Rimes. On Tuesday, February 6th, there will be two, hour-long, educational seminars sponsored by LJM and Associates, a safety company. "One seminar is called 'Documentation, Prove It' and it elaborates on documents companies should always have updated and on hand to be safety compliant," says Rimes. The second seminar is about Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Regulations.
On Wednesday, February 7th, Jim Judkins from JKJ Workforce will have a seminar about labor in the industry from 12pm-3pm. Later that day, the OABA will do a recap of the seminar and a general update as well as hold a fundraiser for their Political Action Committee (PAC).
Thursday night, February 8th, the IISF will hold its annual banquet so the seminar space is not utilized. All events that normally take place on the Saturday of the trade show will now be on Friday. The memorial service, Mass, and forklift certification class will all be held on Friday, February 9th.
Last, but not least, the IISF will hold Serv Safe classes all 4 days of trade show from 11am-3pm. The IISF has decided to expand the availability of Serv Safe classes from years past to provide all attendees the opportunity to get this important certification. "Attending the Serv Safe classes and attaining the certification is very popular as more cities and states are requiring it at events throughout the country," says Rimes.
2018 IISF Trade Show Coverage