|Exclusive News and Interviews
Trade Show Vendors Ready For Opening
New rides, food stands and services offered
By Ron Weber, Editor
Gibsonton, FL -- The trade shows grounds is a hive of activity as trade show manufacturers and suppliers ready their booths for opening day on Tuesday, February 5th. "Things are really rolling in", said Steve Ianni, 2nd Vice - President of the IISA.
The feverish pace will continue to ready the rides, booths and displays that make up the largest trade show for the outdoor amusement business. When gates open on Tuesday, vendors will be offering equipment and supplies both old and new.
Between the trade show and the Florida State Fair, the ride manufacturers will have plenty of equipment on display for prospective purchasers. We talked with several of the ride manufacturers and dealers who will be presenting equipment at the show.
Tommy Coffing of UsedRides.com said interest has been extremely high for his new Wiggle Worm ride. The Wiggle Worm is an old concept, the Jolly Caterpillar, with an all new look, safety updates and higher capacity. The old ride seated 16 and was ground mounted. The Wiggle Worm seats 34 adults and kids and is mounted on a 28' trailer. The ride takes 2 people only an hour to set up and tear down and retails for $140,000.
"Tom Gaylin of Rosedale Attractions will take delivery of the first one", said Coffing. "We have also sold rides to J and J Amusements, Otterbacher Enterprises and Powers Great American Midways who had a prototype of the ride at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh", Coffing added. All three will be taking delivery later this year.
Coffing brought his concept for the new ride to majestic Manufacturing where Vince and Jeff Kudler designed the ride with its Robins chasing the worm theme. Coffing says they have the ability to deliver one ride each month and interest for the piece has been high.
"It's a great family ride with high capacity and easy set-up and tear-down", said Coffing. "When they see the ride in Gibtown, we'll sell plenty of them".
RIDES 4 U
Len Soled was very enthusiastic when describing the equipment being offered by his company, Rides 4 U, at the trade show this year. He said his company has been doing "excellent" business so far this year and he is very pleased with his lineup of new and used equipment.
According to the company's website they represent SBF and Visa International, Moser Entertainment, EOS of Italy as well as sell used equipment. Soled said the company will be bringing a new ride from Spectrum to the trade show this year, a "Clown Bounce" which is similar to the "Frog Hopper" ride.
Visa will have two new rides on display. West Coast Amusement's "Hog Wild" train which features choppers for cars. Power's Great American Midways has purchased a second edition of the ride. Bill Swank of Steel City Shows will have a Circus Train they will be taking delivery on.
Other new rides for sale by Rides 4 U include a new Raft Ride with a capacity of 16 adults or children. "The ride has a unique action that customers are very impressed with" said Soled. SBF has a Surf's Up with a quick circular action taking the rider up and around while they face the midway.
EOS's Mindblaster is also a popular ride being offered by Rides 4 U. While they will not have one in time to display at the trade show, Soled said one has been sold to A.D. Toller of Power's Great American Midways. The ride is a half-pike coaster type ride. It has two gondolas of 8 seats each. The two cars move from left to right and vice versa. After a couple of runs the cars start to rotate at a speed of 15 rounds per minute and then lifts towards the front at a 45 degree angle. This ride provides three movements at the same time for a fantastic thrill.
Also on display at the company's booth is a Visa Mini Pirate which has not yet been sold. "First come, first served" was Soled's response to who would be getting the piece.
Wisdom will be bringing their Viper to the trade show this year said Carol Silvey, VP of Wisdom Industries. The ride is a remake of the old Cobra ride with plenty of new updates and enhancements.
"The ride lays down flat so all the rides can load at once" said Silvey. "It also has incredible scenery and lighting".
The company has sold 5 Vipers so far, Reed Expositions received the first ride last summer and Butler Amusements is taking delivery on the latest ride this week.
In addition to the Viper, the company may also have a Himalaya on display from one of their Florida based customers.
All the rides from the Wisdom family of rides will be available for purchase at the booth as well as selected used equipment from the company's inventory.
Ital will have both an indoor booth and outdoor space at the trade show this year. Outside, the attraction will be Bertazzon's trailer-mounted Swing Carousel. J and J Amusements will have their ride on display for all to see. Carlo Guglielmi, President of Ital, said 5 of the rides have already been sold.
Ital represents Bertazzon, Technical Park, L & T Systems while also selling used equipment. In addition to the Swing Carousel, Bertazzon also manufacturers a popular one trailer Matterhorn ride. Guglielmi said he has recently sold one to Power's Great American Midways.
Technical Park is featuring a low price on the small version of the popular Moby Dick ride. Ital is also working with Technical Park to produce their 20 meter (65') Italian Wheel with new aluminum spokes. The new ride will be lighter and easier to move and Guglielmi hopes to be able to sell the ride at the same price as the earlier version without the aluminum spokes.
In the used ride department, Ital recently listed a rare Technical Park Street Fighter for sale. Guglielmi said those interested should act quickly because the ride "won't last long".
Al Rosenberg, president of Triangle Poster Company is excited about the company's new posters featuring gold and silver holographs. "The posters really stand out. They look like lights moving when the sun hits them", said Rosenberg. The posters were introduced at the Las Vegas meeting and the IISA Show will be the first chance for many carnival companies to view the posters.
Last year Triangle introduced new poster stakes which can be mounted on the ground similar to campaign posters. They are pre-mounted at the factory with two posters on a stake. The cost of 100 full color posters mounted is an affordable $100. Rosenberg said the posters did very good for the first year and he was hoping to triple his business for them this year due to the positive feedback last year.
A new 30-sheet poster will also be introduced this year. Every three years the company designs entirely new billboard art. Rosenberg said the design this year is "cartoony". It features a ferris wheel, carousel horse and ride cars. The design can be viewed at the Triangle Poster booth at the trade show.
For specials at the show, look for the "point of purchase" counter cards. Triangle is making the four-color version available for $1!
Chestnut Identity Apparel
Chestnut has been busy this year developing not only new products but a whole new website and line of products for the carnival industry. Amusementline.com is the place to purchase specialty hats, aprons, uniforms, flags and all the products designed for the industry.
Greg Ramage, Art Director for Chestnut said the company is known for its quality polo shirts but they have added new products including flags, specialty hats and specialty colors. "We are always looking for ways to come out with great products while also saving people money", said Ramage.
True to its word, the company introduced the new Ch 1500 soft-touch sports shirt. The shirt feels great and is affordable and durable. Made of a 55/45 cotton-poly blend, the shirt will be on display at Chestnut's trade show booth.
Chestnut also has many specialty caps available this year. The hats are themed for specific rides and there is even a zoo cap. Logos can be placed on the bill and the designs are also available on visors.
Creating the most buzz this year is Chestnut's "Camp Shirt" featuring the artwork of Sue Nichols. Calling it the "funnest shirt on earth", the design is attractive and very unique. Ramage says the shirt has generated a lot of interest both within the industry and for the general public.
When registering for the show this year, Chestnut is providing attendees with an Amusementline.com bag for carrying information from the trade show and a small sample of the company's all-new spiral flags. The flags have been very popular for carnival rides and concession stands and they are available in a number of designs and colors.
To see many of the designs described above, click on our MCW banner ad for amusementline.com and visit the Chestnut Identity Apparel trade show booth for show specials.
Hitch Hiker Manufacturing
Holly Swartz, vice-president of Hitch-Hiker Manufacturing says her company builds quality units, designed to withstand the wear and tear of the outdoor amusement business. What most people will notice when looking at one of the four stands the company has on display in Gibtown is the enormous, eye-catching marquees that draw you into the booth like a fly to the spider's web.
The new style flat panel marquees fit together easily and the graphics have a flow throughout the whole presentation. This makes the food stand look much larger than the size of the actual trailer.
The marquees are front-lit, many without the chasing lights so popular in the past. With the addition of side panels, the marquee looks larger than life and the food offerings rise high above the midway, beckoning customers to the trailer.
Swartz says that when her husband Jeff purchased the company from his father 11 years ago, he saw a challenge in using modern technology to build a better trailer. He devoted himself to using these methods, especially graphic design, for Hitch-Hiker trailers. The results are some of most beautiful trailers available in the industry today.
On display at the Hitch-Hiker booth in Gibtown will be a 26' grill that will travel with Murphy Bros. Expositions, a 21' Chinese food trailer for Chan's concessions, a 21' Corn Dog for Chesley Foods and a 21' Corn Dog/office for Rino Buttazoni with West Coast Amusements.
Toy Factory, LLC
Toy Factory has gone Hollywood in 2008. Two blockbuster summer movies from Marvel Comics will be the source of a lot of sales for the company in 2008 predicts Sid Karmia, the company's president.
Iron Man, due to be released by Paramount Pictures on May 2nd will star Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man. Karmia said the company is completely sold out of Iron Man with advance orders. Any new orders will not be shipped until mid-May because the Chinese New Year this month will delay production.
If you missed the early Iron Man orders then Karmia recommends purchasing Hulk merchandise at the trade show. The Hulk Movie will be release June 13, just in time for the summer fair season.
With Toy Works securing the Marvel licensing contract, Karmia is hoping the movies will position his company to thrive in what many are predicting may be a difficult season because of fuel prices and the falling value of the dollar.
Mitch Zinder co-owner of Victor Products says the company will have plenty of show specials at their booth in Gibtown. The purveyors of everything concession related have a large display of products and equipment for sale.
Two new products stand out among the offering from Victor Products. One is a machine that cuts potatoes for waffle cut fries. The other is a new 22' wide ice machine. This machine has an incredible output of 325 lbs for a 24 hour period. Not bad for something so narrow! The machine is designed for use in a stock truck or other support vehicle or for the concessionaire who has little space to spare.
See both of these new products at the Victor products booth at the show.
We jokingly asked Larry Yaffee vice-president of Firestone Financial if the company had anything new for the show this year such as lower interest rates. Yaffee said Firestone did have a major new announcement, they will be offering a credit card processing service for the first time this year.
Partnering with J.P. Morgan/Chase Payment Technologies, Firestone will be offering low cost credit card services to new customers or helping existing credit card customers save money by converting to the new system.
While Firestone will not be selling or leasing the hardware for the systems, these items will be available through their partner J.P/Morgan Chase.
Yaffe said he has 'spoken to several carnival owners and concessionaires' about the service and he hopes to generate a lot of interest at the trade show this week.
Allied Specialty Insurance
Insurance is certainly not the most glamorous of topics at the trade show. It doesn't have lights, doesn't generate cash flow and there is usually not much excitement associated with the purchase of your annual policy. It is however, a very important part of almost every company's annual purchases.
Allied Specialty Insurance has had a long history of support for the outdoor amusement business industry and they have been a loyal supporter and sponsor of the trade show. In 2008 they will be sponsoring several Trade Show seminars as well as sponsoring the OABA party on Saturday.
Rick D'Aprile, president of Allied Specialty Insurance said the company did have a new product that he encouraged carnivals to consider carefully. Weather insurance is an instrument that can protect you against a rain disaster on an important day. D'Aprile recommends looking at your schedule to determine which days have the most economic impact on your business during the season. By isolating these days, you can get a quote for one or several to see if weather insurance will provide a level of protection you need to see you safely through the year.
While weather insurance has been out of the reach of the average consumer due to high cost over the years, D'Aprile believes Allied has put a program in place that will offer the industry an affordable option.
For a weather insurance quote or to discuss your insurance needs, stop by the Allied Specialty Suite.