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  • Midway Millennials - Heidi Deggeller Elsperman
    4/24/2017
    Midway Millennials is an ongoing series profiling the new generation of fair professionals.  If you know someone you think should be profiled, please email us with information.

    Heidi Deggeller Elsperman comes from a long line of carnival men and women; she and her brother, Andy, are currently the third generation of carnival workers in their family. 

    Deggeller's Great Uncle, Irvin, and Grandfather, Allen, started in the business, her Dad and her uncle followed suit. Now, she and Andy, along with his wife, Jamie, run the show together.

    Heidi graduated from the University of Florida in 2008 with a degree in nutrition. "I always joke that my degree was in nutrition but now I sell funnel cakes for a living," says Deggeller. 

    Her first full year working for Deggeller Attrations was 2009, although she was not a novice to the business as she had worked during the summer and other school breaks breaks prior to that time. Additionally, she spent her childhood on the road with her family attending Deggeller Midway Academy until middle school when she enrolled in public school back home. 

    Before deciding to work for the family business full time, Heidi tried some different things out; she worked in hospitals and pharmacies but ended up going back on the road. She came back to Deggeller Attractions at a time when her brother, Andy, was taking the reins a little more. As the bulk of her job, she works in the office alongside sister in law, Jamie. "There's always a need in this business. There's so many moving parts, you can never have enough hands," says Deggeller. Although she finds herself in the office she has never had a set title at the company and is happy to help wherever needed.

    Heidi's primary responsibilities are to manage daily accounting (ticket sales), handle ride inspection submissions, annual permits, and other paperwork needed to open at a spot. She also handles all paperwork for H2B visas. 

    Deggeller Attractions has a pretty large in-house food and game operation so she and sister in law, Jamie are highly involved in daily food and game operations. 

    She works closely alongside Andy to get paperwork together for newly purchased rides. Her favorite part of the job is that she never knows what the day will bring; she is provided with different challenges each day.

    Andy and Jamie have two children on the road with them and Heidi has three. One of Deggeller's biggest focuses with such a large family presence on the road is to administer the revamped Deggeller Midway Academy that she attended during her childhood. Linda Brewer is the Deggeller Midway Acadamy teacher and is no stranger to the business; she was with NAME for at least 15 years prior to joining Deggeller Attractions and has been with them the last 2 years. "She is absolutely wonderful," says Deggeller. They currently have 12 children in the school from preschool-9th grade. 

    Deggeller Attractions primarily acts as one unit but they split into two units for six events a year. According to Deggeller, the company prefers to stay together and they feel fortunate to have a nice route that works mostly as a single unit. 

    They primarily operate in FL, NC, VA, MD but mostly VA and MD. Deggeller Attractions currently operates two state fairs - the Maryland State Fair and the State Fair of Virginia. They play the VA Beach area most of June. 

    Heidi's father, Don, and mother, Cathy, come on the road from the Fourth of July onward full time and pop in and out during the Spring. Don does not have a hands on, day-to-day role but he enjoys being there and around his grandchildren, and gives advice when needed. He has a shop trailer he pulls around to work on his antique muscle cars. Cathy is still day-to-day hands on, and works with Heidi and Jamie in the office. 

    As a millennial in the carnival industry, Deggeller always looks for ways to modernize the company and stay current with the times. One of Heidi's favorite technological innovations is using drones to take overhead pictures of the Midway. 

    According to Deggeller, it helps to increase revenue and change the layout of the midway. She says, "Using the drone, we get an overhead view and say oh my goodness, we have a pocket here, we can utilize this space better. And the next year revenue may go up because of that change." 

    Deggeller also looks for ways to use smart phones in the day to day operation of the show. This past year, Deggeller Attractions tried a new outlet, Innovative Ticketing, for advance sale ticketing for one of the county fairs in Maryland. All the customer had to do was have their phone with the ticket voucher uploaded and a ticket seller scanned the QR code on their phone and they were on the way. "Instead of sending teenagers to the fair with lots of cash, the voucher just takes the place of that. From a parents' perspective it's a lot safer and better," says Deggeller. 

    Like many of her peers, Deggeller uses all the social media outlets and understands their value. While she makes sure to keep her sites updated one challenge Deggeller has found is that customers tend to look up the fair's or location's social media sites or websites before the carnival's. To direct more viewers to Deggeller Attraction's sites, she tries to link their sites to the event sites. Deggeller hosts giveaways and contests on social media pages like most other companies in the industry but she also works hard to come up with more creative ways to engage social media followers. For example, Deggeller Attractions has an employee of the month program. A lucky staff member wins lunch with Andy Deggeller and a gift card to Walmart. The winner's picture is featured on the social media sites; Deggeller says that advertising this promotion on social media helps to combat negative stereotypes sometimes associated with carnival workers. Deggeller also highlights new rides and spots added to the route.

    While Deggeller is always looking for ways to modernize and streamline the company, she also recognizes the constants in the business and looks to the generations before her for advice; "I have such a great respect for the generations before me in this industry." 

    Lots of Deggeller Attractions' ride supervisors and other staff members have been with the company for decades. Heidi is appreciative of the lessons they've taught and their willingness to accept the changes that she and her brother, Andy, implement. "Whether it be technology or the way we move the unit on the road, they listen to us and I have such a great appreciation for their advice."

    For Heidi, the carnival industry is truly her whole life and she wouldn't change a thing about it. She attended her first fair just three days after she was born, her family had the contract for the SC State Fair at the time. She was born during set up of the fair, and her mom flew home to have her and flew back to be at the fair. Because of her timely arrival, Cathy Deggeller almost named Heidi Carolina. "That story shows that this business is our whole lives. It's what we do," says Heidi. 

    Heidi says that her mom was always good about making sure she experienced everything outside of the business, she attended lots of summer camps. "Sometimes with a family business the child feels drawn to it. She didn't want me to feel forced. I love it and I know what else is out there. I love being close with our family and that our kids are together. I wouldn't trade it for the world."

    Heidi advises her peers in the industry to listen to the generations that have come before millennials in the industry. "Lots has changed in this industry but a lot has stayed the same. Bide your time and pay your dues and the industry has a lot to offer if you pay attention and do your part." She also advises people to be active in trade organizations. Andy is on the board of the OABA and Heidi is a showman's ambassador for the OABA. "We are involved in the OABA but there are lots of others and it is invaluable to be part of a trade organization in this industry," says Heidi. 




  • Manatee County Fair Has Record Turnout and Community Support
    4/21/2017
    A real grass roots fair is how Dan West, General Manager of the Manatee County Fair describes this annual Florida event. The 2017 edition of this 101-year old fair had ideal weather condition for its 10-day run, an increase of more than 10,000 attendance - a noticeable  uptick pushing attendance to 182,675.

    "It was a good year, we had impeccable weather, we were blessed with 10 days of wonderful weather," said West. "We have a good product, and we have a clean, wholesome fair, one that the whole community supports." 

    From community competitions that range from cheerleading to decorating hay bales to a high-profile concert by Country Music legend Ricky Skaggs - and a stellar midway by Belle City Amusements - this celebration of Americana in Florida  had a great turnout in 2017. "The economy was better than previous years," agreed West. "Agriculture in this area is holding its own, and there has been a lot of growth and development. All the vendors told me they did very well, and that spending was up." 

    Fair Fun 101
    Like many county fairs, agriculture and agriculture education are main components of its mission. The advertising campaign - a modest $80,000 - utilized a marketing theme that had fun with the educational mission while at the same time furthering it. Most fairs will tie marketing into an anniversary year - such as the century mark. This being the one year after the centennial of the fair, the marketing theme was hiding in plain site: Fair Fun 101. "What we do is teach the community about agriculture, and how agriculture is important to this county," said West. "We were able to incorporate the theme into signage and other marketing, it was one of our more successful themes." 

    The fair also created a mobile app, enabling an expansion of the social media marketing. "We were able to do more on Facebook. "We also reached out to the Rotary Club and other organizations, we made a live video that we were able to distribute. We had a lot of people download the mobile app, which tied into our website."

    The fair's marketing included "the whole gamut," said West, including TV, radio, newspapers, and an enhanced website and e-marketing. "We had more online presence," he said. "With the newspapers, we also had banner ads on their website."

    A new video from a birds-eye view - footage made with camera on a drone that "was set to music, and really showed what the fair is about, and we shared this on social media and got a great response," West said. 

    Marketing timing can be tricky for the fair, which is held in mid-January, because the Christmas holiday can absorb a lot of attention - and also during the peak holiday sales seasons, ad rates are too expensive. "We begin our advertising the first week of November and then pick it up after Christmas," said West. "The only advertising we do during the holidays are during the College Bowl football games, where we buy a bowl package. We did begin our advertising earlier than we have in the past, we started booking time for earlier in the fall."

    Belle Extends Contract
    The Belle City Amusements midway featured 54 rides, which include a new Alien Abduction, a Marioland ride in Kiddieland, and two new Dalton Kiddie Rides. "We added new Kiddieland rides this year, this is a very family oriented fair," said Charles Panacek of Belle City Amusements. 

    He added, "we had a big year. We had an unbelievable increase of over 20 percent over last year, it was our biggest increase and our highest revenue at the fair."
    The 2017 edition of the fair had special significance for the carnival veteran, "we signed a new contract at the fair that extends our run there another seven years. It was a great fair this year, people were very positive." 

    The weather was of course a main factor, with an ideal streak of weather taking place for the event. "We always got rain, and there's a possibility of cold weather in Florida at this time, but we this year we had absolutely gorgeous weather with temperatures in the mid-70s." 

    Panacek noted that the fair's marketing - "did attract more people," but attributed most of the increase in midway revenue to "we had more return business this year, people came to this fair more than once."

    The economy may not have improved over the previous year according to indicators, but there has been  positive change in consumer attitudes, which Panacek credited for improving attendance and midway revenue in 2017 "People feel better about the economy this year, they are spending more money than last year," he said. "If fuel prices stay down and the economy will keep improving this will be a great year."

    The fair also made some landscape improvements that enhance the fairgoer experience. "They spent a lot of money on the fairgrounds," said Panacek. "They paved the walkways, they have troughs for all of the electrical wiring. The improvements in the fairgrounds, that definitely increases attendance."

    The best grossing rides at the fair was the Giant Wheel - "which is always number one," said Panacek - as well as the Rock & Roll Himalaya and a Nitro ride.

    Food Vendors Happy
    The Manatee County Fair featured 40 food vendors, which included famous corn dogs by the Sunrise Kiwanis Club. New food vendors include Wisconsin Cheese and Amish Donuts. "Sales were up for all the food vendors," he said. "There are were a lot lines and the vendors were happy." 

    The fair offers limited entertainment - although a high profile show was performed by Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, a rare performance for his renowned bluegrass ensemble. "It was a really great concert and he loves playing here, it was the third time for him at the fair," said West. "We also had Little Texas. Our music is always free."

    Live music is mainly presented on slower weekday nights. The fair only has 32 acres of fairgrounds and the grandstand also doubles for staging the various competitions and exhibitions, including Youth Livestock Competitions, the Manatee County Fair Queen Pageant - which has four age divisions - and the Cheerleading Competition. For this community oriented fair, these events draw the biggest and most enthusiastic crowds.

    In addition, there was an Arts and Craft Competition , also deeply rooted in the community showcasing home crafts produced on Manatee County farms. Other contests included: the Corn Dog Eating Contest, Pie Eating Contest, the 4-H BBQ Chicken Competition and the 10th Annual BBQ Competition.

    New free acts at this year's fair included Rocket The Robot, Johnny Welde & His Bears, Dennis Lee, Steve The Pretty Good, and Sally Ann "America's Country Darlin." West said, "we try to have something for everyone, but we are offering more grounds acts. People love being surprised by what we offer."

    The animal acts, which included a petting zoo, fit into "the educational mission of our fair," he said. West added that two other attractions were a Fire Fighter Training Show and the Agri-Puppets, "which fit right into our marketing theme, but it was for younger children, where we use puppets to educate people about agriculture." 

    With an attendance increase, a major country star, and a community enthusiastic for the fair, 2017 was a successful year for the Manatee County Fair. "We had a quality fair, and it is always satisfying when everything comes together," said West. "We had a good mixture of everything at this fair. We had a lot of those attributes, and we try to surpass each fair every year." 




  • Long Time Insurance Veterans Launch New Insurance Company
    4/19/2017
    Gene Berger and Rick D'Aprile have started a new insurance company for the amusement industry. Based in San Antonio, Texas, Amusement Entertainment Risk Insurance Agency, (A.E.R.I.A.), officially opened shop March 14th, 2017. A.E.R.I.A. will provide midway liability, automobile, workman's compensation insurance, inland marine, (cargo), and excess liability insurance. "We are fully back in business to help people the way we always have for the last 30 years," says Berger. 

    Combined, Berger and D'Aprile have about 60 years of insurance experience. Berger started working in the insurance industry in the early 80s; he provided insurance for tow trucks and towing companies. Later, in the summer of 1985, he had the opportunity to interview with Allied Specialty Insurance Agency and was offered a job.  After working with company for 10 years in Florida, he relocated to San Antonio, Texas where he resides today.  

    D'Aprile was working in the life insurance business starting since 1985.  He interviewed with Allied Specialty Insurance Company in 1988 after hearing about insurance specializing in the amusement industry. During D'Aprile's high school and college summers he worked at an amusement park and fell in love with the business.  So having an opportunity to work for an insurance agency specializing in the amusement industry  was a good fit for him. D'Aprile became a Vice President of the company in 2000 and he was promoted to  President of Allied in 20014, where he worked until 2014.  Berger and D'Aprile both left Allied Specialty Insurance Agency in 2014, working in other facets of the insurance industry.  This year, they returned to the service the industry with their new company.

    During their time in the insurance industry, Berger and D'Aprile's admiration of the amusement business grew and played a role outside of their regular work. Berger once served as the President of the St. Louis chapter of the Showmen's League of America and D'Aprile just ended his term as President of the Miami chapter of the Showmen's League of America this past February.  That love of the business helps them to understand the needs of their customers and they say that with this specialized knowledge and immersion in the business, they are best suited among their peers to work in the mobile amusement industry.

    A.E.R.I.A is licensed in most states and Berger says that he and D'Aprile are working toward gaining licenses in the remaining jurisdictions. To get the word out about their new company, Berger and D'Aprile are pounding the pavement: they each have trips planned to visit fairs and carnival companies to talk to potential clients and ask them about their needs.  D'Aprile and Berger are planning on attending future industry events and Gene also plans to attend the St. Louis Showmen's League Spring Dinner this year. 

    Following A.E.R.I.A.'s incorporation in mid March, the company welcomed its first two carnival clients.  The company signed New Jersey based Campy's Blue Star Amusements followed by All County Amusements of Long Island, NY.  Their first two customers under the new company have been friends and Berger and D'Aprile look forward to visiting with many of their long time colleagues and acquaintances in the near future. 
      
    According to Berger and D'Aprile, A.E.R.I.A.'s focus is their client-driven work ethic and integrity; "Our service and dedication to the client cannot be matched by any other company," says D'Aprile. A.E.R.I.A. assures quality of service; they are partnering with multiple A+ A.M. Best rated insurance companies so that all client needs can be met. "Rick and I just love the business. There's nothing else I'd rather do. I still want to be a part of it and I enjoy doing it," says Berger. A.E.R.I.A. is currently focusing on getting contacts in each state and talking to potential clients about amusement industry needs.



  • Record Breaking Attendance Continues Winning Streak for Houston
    4/17/2017
    Willie Nelson played a 60 minute set without a set list and received a standing ovation for his show at the Houston Live Stock Show & Rodeo. The country music legend and beloved Son of Texas played on the same day the single-day attendance record of 185,667 was set.

    In spite of a weak Texas economy - and a unsolved and alleged shooting incident - the Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo continued a trend of growing attendance for this unique event celebrating Texas and western heritage with a premier livestock auction, high-quality rodeo, an amazing line up of entertainment and a midway that debuted one of the largest mobile Ferris Wheels in the world.

    Breaking Records
    "Powered by more than 33,000 volunteers, we successfully provided a record number of visitors with a world-class entertainment experience," said Joel Cowley, president/CEO Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. "During the 2017 Show, fans were immersed in one-of-a-kind educational and agricultural exhibits, larger-than-life entertainment, and nightly celebrations of Western heritage during RODEOHOUSTON." 

    Total attendance for the Houston Stock Show & Rodeo reached a record 2,611,176. The record breaking year started off on the right note - an opening-day record of 47,883. "We had in general, about a 6 percent increase in attendance," he said. "We had great weather, there were only three days of rainy weather during the 20 days. It was outstanding."

    This year was the third year of continual increases for the event. "We've had stable growth in 2014, 15, and 16. Each stock show was within about 23,000 of each other."

    The paid Rodeo/concert attendance reached 1,370,263, which included RODEOHOUSTON performances that landed on the list of the Show's top 20 paid rodeo/concert attendance records: Go Tejano Day - Banda El Recodo & Siggno - 75,557 and Luke Bryan - 75,033. 

    Entertainment Success
    The entertainment lineup - a music and rodeo ticket - was "one of the most diverse" for the event said Cowley.  "We had classic country and modern country, including Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Florida Georgia Line as well as acts outside that typical genre - such as Alicia Keys, and for the first time, an Electronic Dance Music (EDM) act, Smoking Section. "It was a risk for us to have that type of show," he said. "We weren't sure if it would translate to our crowd. But it was a big hit, although we did break some chairs. It was our most diverse year for music."

    Music remains a major draw, so mixing up the genres for the concert/rodeo ticket was intentional. The idea was to appeal to the younger audience, especially students on Spring Break. While it may still be a seller's market when it comes to entertainment, booking 2017 actually was easier than previous years. "We were very fortunate this year, we got our first or second choices for every night," he said. "The prices did not go up dramatically, and we were very fortunate with routing and scheduling, and filling that line up was easier this year."

    In addition, NRG Stadium had free Wi-Fi, giving it a state-of-the-art connectivity, coupled with a new Vixi 3D board, which allowed for crowd sharing of social media photos and other images. "It gave us another level of engagement," he said. 

    For the livestock show portion of the event, this increased connectivity and engagement enabled a People's Choice Grand Champion Steer Selection - the audience got to vote for their winners. In another example of the enhanced engagement through the high-tech upgrade of the NRG stadium, the audience got to see a live birth of a foal from a championship mare. "We turned on the spotlight and we saw the birth of a foal, her daughter, and our fans got to name that filly in a contest. We had a great response, and the winning name was Houston Honey." 

    The newly wired NRG stadiums also meant that for the first time, live streaming of RODEOHOUSTON action was available at rodeohouston.com and FoxSports.com/Southwest throughout the U.S. and Canada.

    Attendee Experience
    The attention to enhancing the fairgoer experience Cowley feels is key to maintaining the growth trajectory of the event. Last year the fair implemented a sweeping upgrade of fairgoer amenities - leisure areas, which included more seating, tables and planted grass. The Houston Stock Show & Rodeo also added upgraded portable bathrooms, replacing porto-potties with restroom trailers. A construction fence around the Houston Astrodome, which underwent a renovation, was also removed so the there was an expansion of the grounds, which allowed additional customer areas. 

    "In my opinion, the guest experience is what is most important and what brings people back," said Cowley. "You look at the improvements we did, which also include more ticket buildings that improved efficiency, we really improved the guest experience."

    Not only did the improvements encourage lingering, and more spending at the fair, but the fact it was done helped push up attendance. "I think there was good word of mouth last year about how comfortable people were at the fair. That brought more people here this year." 

    Shooting Incident
    One incident did mar the event, a shooting incident - more precisely, gunfire was heard - no one was injured, nor apprehended - although a few days later a 17-year-old suspect was arrested for evading arrest in relation to the shooting, according to local news reports. A "Shelter-in-Place" warning was issued as the law enforcement personnel conducted a search, but within an hour an all clear was given and the midway resumed activity, although after several hundred people evacuated on their own volition. 
      
    The shots caused what Cowley described as "some chaos," with people reportedly evacuating the grounds in haste. Guns are not permitted on the grounds, and a local news report stated: "HPD [Houston Police Department] officials are confident in the carnival staff's process of inspecting visitors for prohibited weapons and other items."

    The day following the incident, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo tweeted: "HPD has investigated the incident reported at NRG Park Wednesday night and has stated that they have found no weapons, have no suspects in custody and there are no reports of injuries. As a precaution, Show officials instructed people to shelter in place for a short time until officers determined that conditions were safe. We will continue working with HPD, HCSO and Texas DPS to monitor the situation."

    According to Cowley, "we evaluated our security, and if a gun did enter the fairgrounds, the most likely place was along one perimeter fence. We added some more lighting in that area, and additional security. There were kids on spring break, and there were a lot of youth that night, some were causing problems, and there was some havoc. But that night was the end of the incident." 

    The Texas economy has softened, due to rising unemployment and declining fuel prices. "We lost a couple of sponsors because business was not so great," he said. "Our commercial exhibitors were up 6.5 percent, which was positive."

    Crowley pointed out the championship auctions "were off a little bit," although the junior auction sales still totaled $15,239,356. "We saw a difference as to where spending occurred. We are such a great value, that people were doing their stay-cation, so even if they are not going on a vacation this year, they still are coming out to the stock show." 

    RCS Midway
    The Ray Cammack Shows (RCS) midway featured 78 rides, and saw an increase of 9.3 percent over last year, said Cowley. In addition, the discounted Carnival Packs - which sell for $50 - increased 4.5 percent in sales. Cowley was particularly impressed with the premier of the La Grande XL, "which is the largest portable observatory wheel in North America, and it has air-conditioned gondolas, which were a big hit."

    The new Ferris wheel energized the midways and was visible from a far distant. "It's a great partnership RCS/HLSR," said Chris Lopez, Vice President, RCS Inc. "It's also very nice to see the entire community and state get behind and support the event. Our revenue was up. We have seen a trend over the last few years, being up in Houston sets the pace for a successful year throughout. It was like all the stars aligned." 

    He added, "we had great weather, great community support, one week of spring break." The fair actually started a week later than usual due to the Super Bowl, which was held at NRG stadium, although that did not seem to mar the event for this carnival company. "All those variables made for a successful equation," he said. "We had a very strong pre-sale along with big days on first responders and military days."

    The biggest grossing rides were the Skyride, Windstorm, RaveWave,  G Force of course the La Grande Wheel XL. Other new rides were: Endeavor, Big Wheel, and Puppy roll.

    The top five games were Bank a Ball #1, One Ball, Mini Basketball, Bank a Ball #2 and Tubs. 

    New foods at the fair included the Bacon Nutella pickle, "which was outstanding. That was the most popular new item. Other new cuisine was Selfie snow-cone, Flaming Hot Cheetos roaster corn and Flaming Hot Cheetos corn in a cup; Nutella funnel cake and Flaming Hot Cheetos pizza. Other favorites at the fair were local vendors, Rancho Burger Barn and Pappasito's Cantina. Fair staples still enticed the Houston crowd - Visitors consumed 47,480 tamales; 38,000 cinnamon rolls; 18,915 barbecue sandwiches; 10,819 sausages on-a-stick; 8,000 funnel cakes; and 3,400 corn dogs - as well as 122 slices of bug pizza. "The bug pizza was new this year, I don't know how popular it was," said Cowley. "People come to the stock show to eat fun foods they only eat once a year." 




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HEADLINES from the web
SHOW ROUTES
Wade Shows
Fiesta San Antonio
San Antonio, TX
4/20/2017 - 4/30/2017
Ray Cammack Shows
Pima County Fair
Tucson, AZ
4/20/2017 - 4/30/2017
Poor Jack Amusements
Poor Jack Amusements 2017 Season
MILTON, IN
4/21/2017 - 10/7/2017
Poor Jack Amusements
Golay Comm. Center
Cambridge City, IN
4/25/2017 - 4/29/2017
Butler Amusements
Santa Barbara Fair & Expo
Santa Barbara, CA
4/26/2017 - 4/30/2017
California Carnival Co.
Sanger Spring Festival
Sanger, CA
4/27/2017 - 4/30/2017
Arnold Amusements
Christ The King
Tampa, FL
4/27/2017 - 4/30/2017
INDUSTRY CALENDAR

11/14/2017-11/17/2017
IAAPA Attractions Expo - Orlando, FL
[more info..]

11/26/2017-11/29/2017
Annual IAFE Convention and Trade Show - Paris Hotel - Las Vegas, NV
[more info..]

2/6/2018-2/9/2018
I.I.S.F. Gibtown Extravaganza - Gibsonton, FL
[more info..]

2016 TOP 50 FAIRS
1. Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo - Houston, TX
2. Texas State Fair - Dallas, TX
3. San Antonio Livestock Show & Ex. - San Antonio, TX
4. Minnesota State Fair - St. Paul, MN
5. San Diego County Fair - Del Mar, CA

View Top 50 Fairs
The Industry Buzz
Help The H2B Program - Call to Action

JKJ Workforce is urging supporters of the H2B program to call their senators and ask them to support the letter drafted by Senator Flake (R-AZ) that urges leadership to support the returning worker exemption.

Many carnivals and concessionaires have been denied their workers this year due to the visa cap.  Relief may be in sight with your support!

STEP #1:
Click HERE to view Senator Flake's letter to leadership.

STEP #2
Call your senators and ask them to support Senator Flake's letter concerning the returning worker exemption for H2B visas.  Call the capitol switchboard at 202-225-3121 to be connected to your senators (you have two), or click here to look them up online.
  Posted by JKJ Labor / MCW on 4/12/2017
Support H2B - Sign the Petition!
If you are involved in the amusement industry or support it, please sign the petition to help save the H2B Program!

  Posted by Matt Cook on 4/7/2017
Act Today to #saveH2B
With the 2017 H2B Visa Cap met, many shows were denied foreign workers for 2017.  This left many shows and concessionaires in our industry in a pinch trying to find dependable employees for the upcoming season.

Fortunately, there may be hope in re-instating the returning worker exemption for 2017, which would give cap relief to those who had been denied.

Congress must address federal spending bills for the remainder of fiscal year 2017 by April 28 in order to avoid a government shutdown.  The primary opportunity that we have for getting the Returning Worker Exemption reenacted and saving the H-2B program for this season is by inclusion of the language in the spending bill that must be passed by that date.  Congress needs to hear a steady drum beat from H-2B users across the country if we are going to be successful in reinstating the returning worker exemption through a year-end spending bill.  Your help is crucial in this endeavor.

Today & tomorrow week we need you to do the following:

Call and email your Representative and ask him or her to sign onto the attached letter that Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) is currently circulating. It will be sent to House leaders.  This Thursday is the deadline to sign onto the letter.   You can reach your Representative through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121.  To find out who your Representative is please click here.  To download Andy Harris' letter, click here.

If you have not already done so, please call and email your two Senators and ask them to cosponsor the Save our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act, S. 792, that was introduced last week by Senators Tillis (R-NC), King (I-ME), Thune (R-SD), Collins (R-ME), Rounds (R-SD), Cornyn (R-TX), Murkowski (R-AK), Blunt (R-MO) and Warner (D-VA).  You can reach your Senators through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121. To find out who your two Senators are, click here

Please also tweet at your elected officials and encourage them to pass H-2B cap relief immediately.  You can also thank your Senators if they are cosponsors of S. 792 or encourage them to cosponsor this bill if they have not yet done so.
  Posted by JKJ Labor / MCW on 4/4/2017
2018 Gibtown Trade Show Reduced to 4-Days
The International Independent Showmen's Association announced that the 2018 IISF Gibtown Trade Show and Extravaganza will be reduced to a four day show, opening Tuesday, February 6 and concluding on Friday, February 9, 2018.  In recent years, the show opened on Tuesday and closed Saturday, however, many vendors felt that reducing the total number of days would be more beneficial.  The 2018 trade show marks the shows 50th anniversary.  More information on the IISF Trade Show can be found on the IISA's web site at www.GibtownShowmensClub.com.  Posted by Matt Cook on 3/21/2017
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
In our efforts to chronicle the history of our industry, we could think of no better way to further this endeavor than to interview industry pioneers and preserve their videos for posterity.

MODERN MIDWAYS - BOOKING CONCESSIONS & RIDES

Fair Productions is seeking VENDORS for its spring route consisting of the Hudson Valley Fair in Fishkill, NY; the Brookhaven Fair in New York; and the Palisades Fair in West Nyack, NY.  Also seeking EMPLOYEES / CREW to help run the daily operations of the fairs.  Call Jeff 813-677-0121

Deggeller Attractions is now hiring ride, game, food, cdl drivers, and more.  Visit www.deggeller.com to apply.

DOT REGULATION UPDATE:  NEW Electronic Logging Devices must be in place by December 17, 2017!  Call Al at 844-472-4522!

KOLMAX Plus is a amusement ride manufacturer based in the Chezh Republic that produces quality amusement attractions such as the Dumbo the Flying Elephant and many more.

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