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  • Central Floria Fair stands out in competitive marketplace

    What do you do when you're running a fair and you have so much competition staring you in the face that you could get dizzy from the sparkle and fireworks of the other events?

    You do the very best you can and always hope for the best.

    That's the philosophy of Will Price, marketing manager for two years and operations manager for seven years of the Central Florida Fair, in central Orlando, Florida.

    This time of year, from February 27 through March 9, the Florida Strawberry Festival is the biggest competition for this regional fair, which has been going on since 1910. But the annual strawberry festival - by far - isn't the Central Fair's only competition.

    There is also Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, Fun Spot U.S.A. and Natural Wonders, said Price.

    "And we never wish for great weather for our fair," he said. "We wish for good weather. If it's great weather - they'll all go to the beach!"

    Fair organizers didn't have to worry about that this year. The combination of rides, entertainment, food and fun at the fair brought in an estimated 175,000 fair attendees. That number is slightly down from several years ago, before all of the competition moved in, said Price. And fair officials have tried to make some changes to correct the situation, but the progress has been slow, he said.

    The date of the fair was changed eight years ago from February to April. It was later changed back again to the end of February and the first of March, and attendance has been gradually building back up, he said.

    This year, the fair was kicked off with a ribbon cutting on Thursday, February 27 by the board of directors of the Central Florida Fair Association. Gate admission for the night was $1 with the donation of one can of food to Second Harvest Food Bank. Just short of four tons of food was collected, Price said.

    "We were told we'd collected about 1,200 meals," Price said. "Many parts of this community are still feeling the effects of the recession. We feel like we really helped with this effort."

    The major entertainment for the fair was Cold and Saliva.

    Cold is an American post-grunge band, formed in 1996 in Jacksonville, Florida. With two gold albums, Cold has sold around two million records in the United States alone. On November 17, 2006, it was announced on MySpace that, after a period of uncertainty since February, the group had decided to disband. In July 2008, it was announced that the original line-up would reunite for a tour in early 2009. This situation became permanent, and the band released their fifth studio album, Superfiction on July 19, 2011.

    Saliva is an American rock band formed in Memphis, Tennessee, in September 1996 and currently under Rum Bum Records. Saliva released their self-titled debut album on August 26, 1997, under Rocking Chair Records.

    They were signed to Island records and went on to release their second studio album, Every Six Seconds. Saliva later released their third studio album titled Back into Your System on November 12, 2002. The album reached number 19 on the Billboard 200. Back into Your System launched one of Saliva's most successful songs, "Always," reaching No. 51 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Modern Rock Chart. Three years after Survival of the Sickest, Saliva released Blood Stained Love Story on Jan 23, 2007, repeating Back into Your System's chart performance at No. 19 on the Billboard 200. Saliva's first single, "Ladies and Gentlemen," peaked at No. 2 on the mainstream rock chart.

    The seventh annual Cattleman's Ranch Rodeo and the fifth annual Youth Ranch Rodeo were held at the fair this year along with the Lego Family Block Party competition and a chicken wing eating contest sponsored by Kerr's Wing house.

    Television reality star and Professional Mounted Shooting Competitor Denny Chapman, of History's 'Top Shot,' provided Wild West Entertainment and Mounted Shooting exhibitions March 5 and 6, and hosted an exciting Mounted Shooting competition on March 7, which was free with fair admission.

    Regular gate admission to the fair was $10 for adults and $6 for children. Children under five were admitted free. There was a 36 percent entry fee discount available from Walgreen's Pharmacy until February 28.

    In addition to all of the agricultural exhibits, there was plenty of additional entertainment. The Sea Lion Splash Show was a hit ewrurning from previous years as was the Hambone Express Racing Pigs Show. New to the Central Florida Fair were the No Joes Circus and the Eudora Farms Petting Zoo.

    The Central Florida Fair was designed to celebrate the agricultural industry in Orlando and the surrounding counties of Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Brevard, and Volusia counties, known collectively as "Central Florida." It is the largest not-for-profit fair in Central Florida and among the top five largest fairs in the state. The Fair is centrally located just minutes from downtown Orlando on 87 acres with free parking and a Lynx Bus stop at the main entrance.

    Each year, the fair provides free tickets for up to 30,000 school students in Orange and Seminole counties. The fair also carries on its longstanding tradition of showcasing livestock, creative arts, fine arts, food arts and sciences, horticulture, FFA and 4H exhibits.

    On the midway, the Wade Shows brought about 75 rides for children and adults.. Wade Shows has been with the Central Florida Fair since 1997, said Price, and the show has been a "good partner" to the fair.

    The Central Florida Fair invests about $125,000 in its advertising budget, using TV, radio, outdoor and print advertising, according to Price. "The ring leader is print," he said.

    Throughout the rest of the year, the Central Florida Fair continues to support community and educational projects. Annual scholarships are presented to high school seniors and fair endowments support college students at the University of Florida, Valencia and Seminole Community Colleges.

    To date, the Central Florida Fair has awarded over $1 million in financial aid. Additionally, the Central Florida Fairgrounds is busy at work during non-fair time as the Exposition Park is host to over 2 million visitors. The 87 acres of fairground hosts countless events including trade shows, RV rallies, concerts, ethnic festivals, antique shows, dog shows and much more.

    No taxpayer support is received from city or county governments to support the fair and only $4,400 annually is designated from the State of Florida towards the premiums paid to fair exhibitors. Instead, the fair is sustained by fair ticket sales, off-season rental income, and partnerships with local businesses to provide the community with its annual celebration of the best of Central Florida.

    For him, Price said, being fair spokesman is always fun.

    "This is the best job in the world," he said. "It's always one big party."

  • At 10 Years, N.A.M.E. Succeeds with Basics

    Officially North American Midway Entertainment (N.A.M.E.) celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, but the company represents decades of midway experience. The self-proclaimed "largest midway provider in the world," is the rare carnival that traverses both sides of the Canadian/United States border, with a circuit that begins in March and winds down in November, but for Danny Huston, Owner / Chief Operations Officer, regardless of the milestone of ten years, his outlook remains optimistic.

    "We expect 2014 to be another huge success for North American Midway Entertainment and our clients," said Huston.  

    While declining to discuss his revenue results, Huston insists that the company has continued the upward trajectory since its founding. "In 2013 our overall revenues were up and we expect 2014 to be another success," said Huston.

    10th Amalgamated Year
    North American Midway Entertainment was incorporated on October 13th, 2005, an amalgamation of what at the time were five leading midway providers in the Outdoor Amusement industry. The merging companies included Conklin Shows, which was founded in 1927 and at the time of amalgamation had become the largest midway provider in North America; Farrow Shows, incorporated in 1981; Astro Amusements, incorporated in 1973; and All Star Amusements, incorporated in 1974. According to Wikipedia, in 2006 N.A.M.E. also acquired Mid America Shows and several contracts and rides from Cumberland Valley Shows. Four years ago, on December 20th, 2010 Huston and Jeff Blomsness purchased N.A.M.E. from the Cypress Group.

    At the time of the original merger, Conklin was the major midway providers to the Canadian market, which enabled N.A.M.E. to establish a foothold in the lucrative north country market. "We have so many great and long-standing partners in both countries and we make every effort to provide the best services possible," said Huston.

    While the Canadian market is still profitable, rising energy costs remain a concern. "The main challenge for us is the fuel and trucking costs with all the miles we travel," he added.

    Canada & U.S.
    According to Huston, N.A.M.E. owns more than 200 rides, food and games concessions, providing entertainment "to approximately 15 million attendees at over 130 events annually, including 10 of the top 50 fairs in North America, in 20 states and 4 Canadian provinces."

    He added that this "number is a steady number," but "we have several new events this year and currently are in the process of signing contracts with new clients."
    The leading N.A.M.E. fairs in its 2014 season include: Eastern States Exposition - Springfield, Mass; Canadian National Exhibition - Toronto, Ontario; Calgary Stampede - Calgary, Alberta; Indiana State Fair - Indianapolis, Indiana; Illinois State Fair - Springfield, Illinois; Edmonton K-Days - Edmonton, Alberta; Mississippi State Fair - Jackson, Mississippi; Kentucky State Fair - Louisville, Kentucky; Miami Dade County Fair - Miami, Florida and South Carolina State Fair - Columbia, South Carolina.

    "We truly do not have a favorite event," said Huston. " All of our events are important to us and we strive to always do our best no matter what size the venue is."

    In other words, the company prides itself on its flexibility. "Our company is diverse and we have the ability to provide smaller events with 20 rides as well as the ability to play large events such as state fairs with as many as 100 rides," said Huston.

    Enhanced Games/New Rides
    Around the country, games are not as popular as they once were, but Huston insists that N.A.M.E. has mitigated the decline, maintaining top-of-the-line plush prizes and implementing an overall enhancement of the games division. "We begin with the simple concept that everyone likes to win and then we inundate our midways with quality stuffed animals and toys," said Huston. "Our Upgrade Program theme, together with the newly-designed canvas, clear and professional signage, and our energetic staff makes playing the games almost as much fun as winning. Our games are supervised by our management team to ensure that they meet our exacting standards."

    For the 10th anniversary of the company, N.A.M.E. has re-introduced Remix, one of its signature rides. In fact, the company also acquired a new Remix so now two of its touring units can feature this crowd favorite.  "Remix has been refurbished and we bought a new one," said Huston. "This high speed ride can best be described as an extreme version of the classic ride the Scrambler. The ride holds 36 passengers and sends riders spinning on six arms with each end holding three cars rotating on a vertical axis at approximately 21 RPMs.  Each arm supports a cluster of cars, which rise into a 90 degree angle at a horizontal position.  The center spins in one direction and the satellites spin in the opposite direction while the arms simultaneously spin outward.  The brilliant colors on Remix make this a high-speed exciting ride that very few thrill riders will ever pass up."

    Introducing new and/or refurbished rides is essential to the N.A.M.E. philosophy, "We always keep our Midways fresh with new rides each year, which attracts new guests and also retains happy guests who come back every year," he said.

    While the Remix may get some new attention, the mainstays of the N.A.M.E. midway remain, "Our Giant Ferris Wheels and Roller Coasters are always perennial favorites for our guests."

    In addition, he added that other new rides include a Himalaya, Fun House, and Zero Gravity as well as Elephant Ride and a Wacky Worm roller coaster, which are children's rides. "We are also refurbishing a Camel Fun House that will be ready soon," said Huston. 

    The most important improvement to the N.A.M.E. Kiddeland occurred in 2006, when it became smoke free. "We place smoke-free suggestion signage at all entrances to Kiddieland and placed other signs throughout Kiddieland," said Huston. "This is a volunteer / suggestion program that we do not enforce but have found the vast majority of our customers choose to not smoke while in the children's area.  We also have implemented family-friendly pricing that is affordable for families."

    One of the first shows of the year for N.A.M.E. was the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair & Exposition, an 18-day Florida fair that concluded March 31st. According to fair organizers, per-capita spending was up more than 5 percent, including midway revenues and reportedly, Miami-Dade granted N.A.M.E. a contract extension through 2017.  For Huston, the fair was a positive harbinger for the season. " We just completed the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair and it was another success with increased attendance," he said. "We are expecting an overall great season.  And, we are hoping after the long cold winter, fairgoers will be raring to go to have tons of fun on our Midways."

    The secret is a simple one, making sure every experience at the Midway is a positive one. "We want each guest to leave our Midway with a smile and a happy memory of their day at the fair," Huston said. " We do that by providing the safest and most exciting rides, delicious food, fun games and workers who are attentive and kind to each guest."

  • Robust Comeback of Miami-Dade Youth Fair is Credited to Improving Florida Economy

    The 18-day Miami-Dade County Youth Fair & Exposition had what most fair managers desire: Good weather and an attendance that outpaced by several percentage points the tally of the previous year's fair. But the robust record of the 2014 edition of this distinctive South Florida event suggested developments of a larger scope than just a upbeat outcome. According to Bob Hohenstein, President & CEO, Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition, the success of the this year's fair was a certain indication that economic recovery in South Florida, a region of the United States that was severely impacted by the recession, has arrived.

    Hohenstein pointed out that only a few years ago, South Florida - "in terms of travel, tourism, housing, business, was slammed by the great recession" - and as result the fair suffered. Cautious optimism still permeates, but Hohenstein sees reasons in this year's fair justifying increased optimism. "Our 2014 Youth Fair went extremely well with our attendance reaching 590,000 guests or a 2.5 percent increase over prior year and 21.4 percent up over 2012," he said. "We saw very strong spending from our guests. Guest per capita spending based on the preliminary figures was up 5 percent versus the prior year."

    These figures lead Hohenstein to conclude, "South Florida's economy is improving and on the rise."

    Ag Revival
    A less tangible, but perhaps more significant, in terms of an improved business climate were the number of "student displays" - more than 50,000. "It was our highest number of displays," he said. These displays are essentially exhibits and other projects by tens of thousands of Agricultural students. Although the "Youth Fair," as the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair & Exposition is known locally, has a distinctive focus on students and new professionals in one of the leading industries in the region,  showcasing livestock and agriculture are essential to its mission.  The increase in exhibits, "means that more young people are again entering the industry, which wasn't the case a few years ago," said Hohenstein.

    In addition, Hohenstein pointed out that, "one of our tenets is to promote South Florida agriculture. South Florida agriculture is, like the general economy, on the rise.  The recent "Great Recession" hit South Florida agriculture very hard especially within horticulture, landscape and so forth.  A bounce-back is very evident however."

    Supermarket Promotions
    The Miami-Dade County Youth Fair & Exposition did implement some new marketing strategies that aided and abetted the revived fair attendance, the "most effective 2014 promotion was with Sedano's Supermarkets." According to Hohenstein, this regional supermarket chain with about 30 locations, has been a fair partner for three years. "They are a tremendous partner and sponsor of the fair. They did a great job advertising the fair"

    Hohenstein added that the advance sales through this chain "more than doubled. The advance sales were magnificent. As a fair, you want that that commitment by your customers as soon as early as possible. That's money in the bank."

    New P*O*P Culture
    In addition to the pre-sale of admission tickets and sheets of ride coupons, Sedona Supermarkets also sold the Pay One Price (P*O*P) Unlimited Ride Passes. The fair added a new twist to this wristband program, which has been in place for a few years but only as weekday incentive. In 2014, P*O*P wristbands were available on weekends.  Passes purchased in advance at a Sedano's Supermarket location were $20 each for any day of the week, including Saturday and Sunday and $25 on weekdays and $35 on weekends when purchased at the gate on the day of visit.

    This year's Miami-Dade County Youth Fair & Exposition's successful experiment  with the P*O*P bands on weekend fair days, was launched in conjunction with North American Midway Entertainment (N.A.M.E.), the fair's long time midway provider. 

    "We were very, very pleased with the results generated by having the P*O*P Unlimited Ride Wristbands available on weekends," said Hohenstein. "We had been discussing this option for a few years and with N.A.M.E.'s input, counsel and so forth elected to test it in 2014. This was the first time in our 63 year history we have done this."

    What long seemed counter intuitive - giving a midway incentive on weekends, the most well-attended days of nearly any fair - turned out to be an effective response to the customer's expectations for added value. As result, extended midway bargains increased overall spending.  As Hohenstein explained, the weekend P*O*P wrist bands meant "that guests do stay longer on the weekends than previously as our per capita spending results show."

    New N.A.M.E. Contract
    According to Hohenstein, N.A.M.E. has been the midway provider for the fair "for decades," and featured 95 rides this year. "We recently renewed our agreement with them through our 2017 Youth Fair," said Hohenstein. "Midway revenue was up single digits versus 2013.  Very, very pleased with the midway ride results to say the least."
    N.A.M.E. rides that made their Miami-Dade debut were Backdraft, a fire-themed coaster where seven cars - holding up to four passengers each -"light up" then climb three levels before rushing down, Crazy Dance, where a dodecagonal platform rotates and the cars rock back and forth, while incorporating backdrops, a sound system, elaborate light displays and special effects and the latest in virtual-reality technology, 7-D Cinema, where participants sit inside an enhanced 7-D simulator, where spectacular footage and thrilling special effects gives them the experience of taking a breathtaking journey that traverses an array of landscapes, from prehistoric era forests to enchanted tunnels. NAME favorites that returned to the midway included Space Roller, Mark 3, Twister, Cliff Hanger, Ring of Fire and the Giant Wheel. The Kidde rides included Bear Affair, Kite Flyer, Raiders, Speedway and Teacup at KiddieLand.

    New & Traditional
    The Miami-Dade County Youth Fair featured 170 food concessionaires, about the same as the previous fair. According to Hohenstein, fair attendees tend towards the predictable when it comes to this fair's cuisine.  "The hot items here in Miami are traditionally Elephant Ears and Roasted Corn," said Hohenstein. "The same held true in 2014."

    New concessions included, Juicy's Outlaw Grill, the self-proclaimed  "world's largest mobile outdoor grill" and boasts the capability of cooking 1,000 foods simultaneously, Bianco's Foods, family-owned and operated since 1981, offers Chicken & Waffles, a full Belgian waffle with two pieces of hand-breaded chicken topped off with maple syrup;  The Bird Dog-  two chicken tenders on a bun smothered with cheddar cheese and bacon and The Waffle Dog, A frankfurter/waffle hybrid where a hot dog dipped in batter is cooked to look like a waffle; Opa Opa Saloon, a craft beer and wine saloon, Island Noodles, which specializes in "Hawaiian Style Wok-Fired Soba Noodles," Up-N-Smoke, a Mexican barbecue, and Mr. Sticky's, a family-owned business from Amish Country  that offers five varieties of re-imagined but still traditional sticky buns.

    Exceeding Expectations
    Engaging agricultural exhibits, an exhilarating midway and a diverse food court are the main components of most fairs. At this year's Miami-Dade County, it was not enough just to show up, but go above and beyond. "Absolutely The Youth Fair exceeded expectations," said Hohenstein. "I firmly believe we met and exceeded our guests' expectations by providing a world-class, clean, safe, secure and very family friendly 18 day fair."

    Although no records were set during the fair, "we exceeded our prior year's attendance number, we exceeded our budgeted attendance number, we exceeded our 5 year average attendance number, and we exceeded the prior year's revenue number," said Hohenstein.

    The highest 2014 attendance for a single day - 53,225 - was  reached Saturday, March 22, Day 10 of the fair. In addition, mother nature cooperated. "Weather was good during our run," said Hohenstein. "We had a bit of morning rain one day, a bit of afternoon rain one day and severe thunderstorms on Saturday, March 29 at approximately 8:30 PM, but overall we were blessed with great early spring South Florida weather."

    Hohenstein declined to speculate on industry implications of his fair success or identify signs that the economic rebound in Miami-Dade may be felt in other parts of the nation. "Each fair and each market it operates in is different," he said. "I will say if the fair has created and developed a great 2014 business and marketing and sales plan, has the resources, facilities and talent to execute it and is blessed with good weather during its run, the  end results will be nothing but good." 

  • Southwest Florida Fair celebrates 90 years

    Celebrating 90 years of food, fun and fund raising was a great success for the people of southwest Florida this year. The Southwest Florida and Lee County Fair was held  February 27 to March 9, and it couldn't have been a better experience, fair manager Fran Crone said.

    "We had one of the best years we've ever had," Crone said, a few days after the fair closed. "We had four record-breaking days. We had two days that were kind of rainy, but the rest of the time, it was sunny and mild."

    Perfect weather for a perfect fair, held in celebration of "making memories since 1924."

    The fair started in 1919 at Terry Park with $250 allocated by the Lee County commissioners. In 1924, the name was changed to the Southwest Florida Fair. The Southwest Florida and Lee County Association and the local Shriners worked together to expand and improve the fair. The fair was re-located to the Lee Civic Center in 1979.

    Even through the years of World War II, unlike many fairs across the United States, this fair went on, said Crone, who is in her first year of fair management. The civic center provides about 100 acres of grounds, and about one-fourth of that area is taken up by the fairgrounds, said Crone.

    This year, the admission price to the fair at the gate was $8 for adults and $5 for children. But there were pre-advance tickets offered for $5 and $3. On Senior Citizens/Veterans Day and Harry Chapin Food Bank Night from 2 to 6 p.m. on March 3, admission was $5 for those two groups but a $2 free coupon featured in the fair program took the price down to $3 for all.

    There was also a Mega-pass available for $25. That price covered fair admission and all rides for one day. Monday and Tuesday night had a $12 ride band available, and Midnight Madness offered everything for $25 from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

    The senior and veterans'  day and the food bank night offered one of the best experiences of the fair, said Crone. On food bank night, admission was free for fair visitors who donated three cans of food. Proceeds from gate admissions also went to the food bank. Last year, the fair raised more than $5,000 in cash and took in 7,500 pounds of food to help feed the hungry in southwest Florida and Lee County. This year, the amount exceeded 2013's figures.

    In addition, the fair also partnered with Sheriff Mike Scott of Lee County to help distribute 36,000 fair tickets to public, elementary-aged school students to allow them to attend the fair for free, said Crone. The Junior Deputy Fair Pass promotion was available for students from ages 5 to 11.

    "The fair association is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization and re-donates to a number of other non-profits," Crone said. "We give to a number of local 4H clubs, United Way, Breaking Free and the Shrine. We also offer scholarships to graduating seniors. In 2013, more than $48,000 was donated back to the community."

    The Southwest Florida and Lee County Fair doesn't typically present concerts at the fair. Fair officials have long advocated presenting more community-inspired entertainment and making it a part of the fair admission .  At the seniors/veterans event, for example, the Hat Boys Band performed as well as the popular Calendar Girls of Florida. There were also health screenings sponsored by the local hospital, Lee Memorial Health Services. Snead Eye Care, insurance companies and the veterans' administration  also participated in the health fair held at the Southwest Florida and Lee County Fair.

     The always popular agricultural and animal events were also a big hit, according to Crone. There were 300 exhibitors on several days with both large and small animals, she said. Both the Future Farmers of American and local 4H chapters participated in the exhibits. Several of the students sold the animals they had raised and put money in their own pockets to help pay for future college expenses.

    One popular act at the fair was the Gator Boys, an Animal Planet television show where the "boys" tame wild alligators with their bare hands. Grizzly Bears, based in  Florida, also entertained. The Grizzly Experience brought fair visitors in close contact with a 700-pound grizzly bear named Tonk and two adorable cubs named Boo-Boo and Yogi.

    A motorsports arena was a new feature of the 2014 fair. The new facility hosted Grasscar Lawnmower Racing and a demolition derby put on by Hardcord Events and Entertainment, LLC.

    The midway was  operated by Reithoffer Shows of Gibsonton, Florida. The midway came with 46 exciting rides, and Crone said she got several positive comments from fair visitors about the midway features.

    There was also a magic show, plenty of live music, photo opportunities with Jimmy Riffle from the Gator Boys and also photo opportunities with Those Funny Little People of America's Got Talent fame.

    Quilt making, canning and crafting exhibits provided a link with the past. A new horse arena was unveiled, and there were so many entries for the livestock show that some had to be turned away, said Crone.

    "Goat agility contests brought smiles to young and old," she said. "Local students and 4H members showed off their projects. People had the opportunity to learn how the cowboys do what they do, and there was an impressive beef breeding show and sale. Rabbits, chickens and horses were judged. Those were just a few of the many agricultural events that are at the heart of the nearly century-old fair."

    The Southwest Florida and Lee County Fair is held on the grounds of the Lee County Civic Center, located on Bayshore Road in North Fort Myers. The fair is dedicated to promoting agriculture, horticulture, creative arts and educational opportunities while also providing quality entertainment for the citizens of the area.

    The Southwest Florida and Lee County Fair  is a district fair, covering the counties of Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties.

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2013 TOP 50 FAIRS
1. Texas State Fair - Dallas, TX
2. Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo - Houston, TX
3. Minnesota State Fair - St. Paul, MN
4. San Antonio Livestock Show & Ex. - San Antonio, TX
5. Eastern State Exhibition

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The Industry Buzz
Industry veteran Jeff Pugh passes
We are sad to announce the passing of industry veteran Jeff Pugh.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the Pugh family and their friends.  Visitation will be held Monday April 14, 2014 from 1-4pm and a celebration of life ceremony at 6pm.  Services will be held at Victory Hill Church - 4000 Coonpath Rd. Carroll, Ohio 43112.  All donations to be made to his church that he loved in his memory.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 4/11/2014
Wade Shows adds fourth roller coaster

Wade Shows announced the purchase of its fourth major roller coaster, a Zamperla Crazy Mouse spinning coaster from an indoor theme park in Wisconsin Dells, WI. The coaster is in top notch condition, relatively new, and has spent its entire life in the indoor theme park. Wade Shows owner Frank Zaitshik said "We are very happy to add a fourth coaster to our lineup. We will be taking the coaster back to our winter quarters in Florida to rack it . Being a park model, it didn't have many lights so we will be adding a lighting package."  The show plans to debut the new piece this June at the Livonia Spree in Michigan, contingent on if the piece is ready in time. Other dates the new coaster is slated to appear at include the Delaware State Fair, New York State Fair, Oklahoma State Fair, Tulsa State Fair, North Carolina State Fair, and the South Florida Fair.

The show also announced the purchase of a Wisdom Landslide from Deggeller Attractions.

To view photos of the ride, click here.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 4/3/2014
TJ Schmidt Carnival adds equipment; new concessions for 2014
Standish Michigan based TJ Schmidt & Company expanded its ride offerings for 2014.  The company added a Eli Eagle 16 Wheel, purchased from Arnold Amusements; a Cliff Hanger, Mulligan "Sky Quest" Swings, and a Zipper, purchased from Jeff Brady's Playworld Amusements.  In turn, the show sold its Quasar, Sea Dragon, and Tip Top.  The show also welcomed the addition of a new concessionaire, Case Concessions, headed by Harold, Debbie, and Christine Case, who will be playing their route with food concessions and several games.  Posted by Matt Cook on 3/26/2014
Chicago area carnivals add new equipment for 2014

Chicago area carnivals have been busy this winter adding new rides and attractions to bolster their arsenal of attractions.  Among those purchases, Skinner Amusements purchased a new Cliff Hanger from Dartron.  The new Cliff Hanger will replace their existing Cliff Hanger, which has been sold to Richard Tinsley's Tinsley's Amusements.  Fantasy Amusements purchased a new Wacky Worm family roller coaster from CMD Enterprises / Fajume and a Frog Hopper from Rides 4-U.  The Frog Hopper, was on display at this year's Gibtown trade show.  Modern Midways took delivery of a new ARM Rockstar, a Motorcycle ride from Dalton, and also added a full LED lighting package from Denny's Electronics to their KMG Fire Ball.  The Rockstar will replace the 1001 Nachts that the show was using last year.


As reported earlier, three new KMG Freak Outs will debut in the Chicago area including one for Alpine Amusements, All Around Amusements, and Windy City Amusements.  All three, of which, have different paint schemes and lighting packages.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 3/24/2014
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.

AMUSEMENTS OF AMERICA IS NOW HIRING & BOOKING for the 2014 season!  Employment Inquiries call 
Dominic:  (732) 446-7144 and for 

Concession Boing call 
Rob:  (732) 337-7748

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

American Changer’s NEW Ticket Center Kiosk is designed to sell tickets to your customers.  It features a touch screen display and accepts cash, coins, and credit cards.  It dispenses tickets and provides change back to your customer in “bills & coins”.  You can offer a “POP” package with a receipt taken to guest services to be redeemed for a wristband.  The kiosk features cellular communications and offers real-time data monitoring connected to our network server.  Visit or call 800-741-9840.

We specialize in H2B Visa Filing and/or recruiting seasonal workers from Mexico for your carnival, amusement or concessions business.  We will provide a free and confidential consultation by phone.  Call us at  956-365-3344

Funway Amusements is now hiring for the 2014 season.  We are seeking general ride help, food help, and help in games especially the Duck Pond, Balloon Tag, Bank A Ball and more.  Call Nick at 985-774-8656

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