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  • Illinois Fairs Unite Against Funding Uncertainty & Struggling Economy
    2/24/2017
    The state government of Illinois still has no budget. The impact of this state-of-the-state on the 102 fairs who are members of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs has meant a lot of struggle, but also is a powerful catalyst that has resulted in a better motivated fair coalition. 

    Even as challenges loom in the year ahead for Illinois fairs, the 107th annual convention of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs, which featured the annual crowning of Miss Illinois County Fair Queen was a success. "We had a successful convention," said Charlyn Fargo, Executive Secretary, Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs. "For a lot of our fairs, it's their way of saying thank you to their volunteers by sending them to the convention. Our fairs get really involved in the pageant and the convention. They come here and get a lot of new ideas." 

    Budget Impasse
     More than 90 of the association's member fairs and festivals were represented with more than 3,500 in attendance, a strong, if not record, turnout. The trade show exhibition floor featured 90 booths, an increase over the 2016 exhibition booth allotment; also 30 associate members sponsored hospitality rooms, including carnivals as well as motor sports/tractor & truck pulling companies. "We had a very successful trade show," said Fargo. "There continues to be an increase in fairs offering motorized sports, and we had a nice wide variety of entertainment."
     
    Both the economy and many fairs are struggling due to the inability of the legislature and governor to agree on a state budget. "The business climate is very difficult in Illinois, the lack of a budget has affected everything," said Fargo. 

    A recovery-resistant state economy, lagging consumer confidence and uncertain status of fair funding are just some of the main ramifications of the state government operating without a state budget. In spite of these obstacles - not to mention an unbearably hot heat wave - the fair industry in Illinois had a positive 2016. "Some fairs were hard hit, but overall, last year was successful for fairs," she said. "A lot of people are staying local for their vacation, because of the economy, so that helped fair attendance."

    While the state has cut funding for agricultural fairs, Fargo said it remained flat in 2016 but even that spending was hampered by the state government issues. In lieu of a state budget, spending approval is conducted by the slower and less sustainable stop-gap measures. By the end of last year, government support may have arrived later than previous years causing some budgetary headaches for fairs, but "most of the fairs have gotten checks from the State Department of Agriculture," said Fargo. "The funding ended up being the same last year as it was the year before." 

    What lays in store for funding in 2017 was uncertain at the time of the annual convention of the  Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs, with Fargo noting that the opening days of the new legislative session coincided with the association's meeting. "We're hopeful that funding will continue and will be in the new budget, but the legislature was just in session with the convention," she said.
     
    The association has "hired a full time lobbyist to make sure we are part of the budget debate," she said. However, the lobbying effort was not "part of the convention," she said. In March, the organizations holds a legislative meeting focusing on lobbying and other political issues. Two years ago, the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs released the "Economic Impact of Illinois Agricultural Fairs," a study conducted by the University of Illinois that concluded Illinois fairs generated $170 million in spending. 

    Fargo said the association is intent on "making sure the legislators" understand the findings of the study, but also "the county fairs are encouraged to use the impact study to show how important fairs are for each county's economy. We can bring this to companies and use it not just for funding from the state, but for sponsorships and support from communities and local businesses." 

    Sponsorship Emphasis
    Jeremy Parsons, manager of the Clay County Fair, was a keynote speaker at the convention, and he addressed how fairs can better outreach to communities. "He spoke of making an impact and how we can tally up the volunteers and employees, and how to make people know who your fair is impacting your local economy, making people aware that the money spent at the fair is staying local." 

    In addition, Jennifer Giesike President/CEO Washington Town and Country Fair Washington, MO, spoke on how after enduring the loss of state support for the fair, "succeeded with sponsorships."

    According to Giesike (A PDF of highlights of her presentation are available on the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs website), sponsorships at the Washington Town and Country Fair went from $65,000 in 2003 - the year state funding was cut - to $246,000 in 2015, a more than 300 percent increase in the last 10 years. One of her points is expanding the array of available sponsorships and customizing "benefit packages for sponsors," with Sponsorships now ranging from $100 - $25,000.

     Other workshops at the convention included: "Using Social Media Tools to improve your Fair's and your Business' Bottom Line." With future state support in jeopardy and the state economy stuck in the doldrums, the consensus at the convention was that the fairs had to become more proactive in increasing their community outreach, attendance and spending. "We are trying to encourage our fairs to be less dependent on state funding and get more of their funding from sponsors and other things," said Fargo. "Some fairs are forming nonprofit foundations to fund some of their projects that need to be done, and we had several workshops on marketing, advertising and looking at ways that were successful in creating more excitement for your fairs through social media, so you don't have to spend as much of your budget on advertising." 

    Queen Coronation
    A main feature of the convention however was the annual coronation of Illinois royalty. 

    Claudia VanOpdorp of the Henry County Fair was crowned the 58th Miss Illinois County Fair Queen. VanOpdorp will be a summer employee of the Department of Agriculture, travel to about 30 county fairs, and will be the official hostess of the Illinois State Fair in Springfield and the DuQuoin State Fair. As Queen, VanOpdorp's main duty is to emphasize the importance of agriculture and county fairs to Illinois.

    Another highlight of the annual convention is the bestowing of the Friend of Illinois County Fairs Award, which recognizes individuals from county fairs across the State who have donated their time, efforts and unique contributions to the Fair Industry. According to the association's press release, the prestigious award was given to five recipients in 2017:

     Phil Hartke, Effingham County Fair; Dean Page - Boone County Fair Association; Jane Cross - Richland County Fair; Don Moffitt, Representative in the Illinois General Assembly for 23 years; and State Senator John Sullivan, who is retiring from office this year. According to the association's press release: "Senator Sullivan…the lone State Senator with a farm background… was always accessible, approachable, and always willing to work with the Association concerning funding issues..."

  • PA Fairs Fight Funding Cuts & Recommit to Agriculture
    2/22/2017
    Last year's summer heatwave and rainy weekends took a toll on Keystone State fairs, but when the Pennsylvania fair industry gathered in January they found an expanded trade show floor and  a well-organized association ready to confront critical problems concerning the longevity of their fairs, especially damaging changes to a key state fair funding law recently proposed in the Pennsylvania State legislature.

    The Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs represents 109 affairs, and at their annual mid-January convention 1,665 fair professionals attended, according to Harry Reffner, Secretary/Treasure, who said the attendance was about the same as at last year's meeting. The state's fair industry was coming off a sometimes difficult year in 2016 but never-the-less are positive things will improve in 2017. 

    "Weather had a big factor for those that had problems" he said. "Pennsylvania is slowly coming out of the recession, and there are other places that are vying for the entertainment dollar that makes it more difficult to compete."

    He added that "the convention was very productive" and overall, fair members "are optimistic that 2017 will be a better year."

    Trade Show Grows
    Some of that optimism can be attributed to the growth of interest in the fair sector by an array of vendors seeing an opportunity. There were 187 trade show booths, an increase of about 10 percent, said Reffner. The Entertainment Showcase was expanded to 19 acts, "we got a lot of high quality acts, so we decided to increase the amount of the acts we see, but cut the time of their performance," he said. 

    While regional music acts had a strong presence, as both vendors and showcase participants, there were more ground acts present this year. "There is more interest in local entertainment, we had music, magicians, hypnotists and grounds acts," he said. "Fairs seem to be looking to expand that area of the fair, picking up more local entertainment."

    An entertainment highlight of the convention was a performance at the Annual Banquet of the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs by Jo Dee Messina, a Grammy Award Nominee whose had nine number one hits on the Country Music Charts.

    The increase in entertainers as well as other trade show vendors has been a steady trend for Pennsylvania fairs. "Our reputation keeps growing, and people, entertainers and business, are becoming more aware of our convention and fairs. We are seeing more people who want to participate and hearing from them throughout the year wanting to participate in the convention. We are getting more people not just from Pennsylvania, but New York and Ohio."

    Fighting Cutbacks
    The political situation concerning fairs in Pennsylvania was a much on the minds of attendees. Unlike many states that are cutting back fair funding, Pennsylvania may not be drastically slashing funding, but there is a legislative move to reapportion the funding.  The proposed new formula for determining the funds may mean some fairs will no longer receive their support. Pennsylvania has a diverse range of smaller fairs, including small fairgrounds, fairs that lease space and even old fashioned Grange Fairs, which are essentially tented fairs with little to no buildings on the fairgrounds. 

    State funding provided supplemental support for both operations and capital improvements, but the new proposed Fair Fund Act restricts that support to only capital improvements, essentially upkeep and improvements to facilities and infrastructure.

    This could hurt the dozens of smaller fairs that either do not own their fairgrounds or do not have an abundance of buildings or other facilities. These fairs rely on the operational support by the state government, support that could be eliminated if the new act is signed into law. "It could be very detrimental to the smaller fairs," said Reffner. We are in the process of looking over the proposed changes and are working with our legislators." 

    Zachary K. Gihorski, Fair Coordinator with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Bureau of Market Development, conducted a round table discussion on the Fair Fund Act, although Reffner emphasized that while parts of the act will potentially hurt some fairs, the bill is still in a preliminary stage.
    Reffner pointed out the association has strengthened its lobbying efforts "for the past several years, and we are increasing the awareness of fairs with the state house and senate." 

    Farm Commitment
    Much of the support - and the awareness - has come from the association member fairs' commitment to agriculture. "We get strong support from the department of agriculture and from Governor Wolfe (Tom Wolfe, Governor of Pennsylvania). We have stronger representation and support. Agriculture is the number one industry in Pennsylvania and fairs are an important part of agriculture."

    The commitment to agriculture by the association was apparent at the annual conventions, with a fresh approach to some perennial topics, such as If a Livestock Disease Outbreak Happens at the Fair - Are You Ready?. A real nuts-and-bolts seminar, the discussion all aspects of handling an outbreak, from publicity and dealing with news media to who should be in charge and how to handle with the diseased animals. "Fairs are very aware the potential problems with an outbreak," he said. "Last year the avian ban was lifted, and we've had swine flu outbreaks. It was very well attended." 

    Another seminar on Ag Media Communication, presented by Kirby Dygert, explored "how to bridge the gap between the non-ag community.  He also presented "Two Organizations With A Common Goal, Same Mission: Working With Livestock Associations," which encouraged fair organizers to search for opportunities to "to work with livestock associations whether they are youth associations such are the National Junior Swine Association or adult associations such as the New York Beef Producers. No matter if they are national or local organizations; the joint efforts of the two combined always help to increase the attendance at your shows and help promote the industry as a whole.," according to the convention program."

    Why Think Ag. presented by Jean Lonie, Director of Student Recruitment and Activities, Pennsylvania State University, was even  more directly aligned with the ag mission of the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs - looking at how fairs can use "agriculture in promoting your fair and connecting the community to Pennsylvania's number one industry… your fair can be a key part of the story in why agriculture matters- and agriculture can be a great way to engage and attract more visitors.

    "Our top priority and primary purpose is to promote agriculture, and we are finding new ways to relate agriculture to fairgoers," he  said. "One of the top things people like to see at the fair are live animals, whether it's showing how cows are milked or chickens are hatched. It's important for people to know where their food is coming from and it's remarkable how people love the education exhibits at the fairs." 

    The annual convention of the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs also saw the swearing in of President David Hallstrom, Board Director, of the Clearfield Fair & Park, and as Vice President, Dr. Sally Nolt, Secretary of the Elizabethtown Fair. Fair of the Year Awards were given to: Zone 1 - Clearfield County Fair; Zone 2 - Kiwanis Wyoming County Fair; Zone 3 - West Alexander Fair; and Zone 4 - Delaware Valley A Day Fair.

  • Goldstar Amusements Celebrates 25th Anniversary in 2017
    2/20/2017
    Gold Star Amusements celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and in theory, the carnival's owner Mike Featherston has more time to reflect on the milestone. His three grown children basically run the show these days, giving Mike and his wife Connie the freedom to come and go as they please without having to stay on the lot 24/7.

    But as everybody working in the industry knows, it's not always that simple. In addition to his primary operation, Featherston runs the old Sellner Manufacturing plant in Fairibault, Minn. He refurbishes kiddie rides originally produced by the Minnesota company whose assets were purchased by Larson International in 2011. Combined, the two businesses keep the Featherston family busy year-round.

    "I just turned 60 and I think I have at least two good years left," Featherston said, half-joking. "My kids do the bulk of the work. All three are married and their spouses help out too. Connie and I stay home mostly, but we still check on the route and help lay out the lots."

    "I bought the old Sellner plant [in 2011] as an investment and as soon as I signed the paper, [Larson] talked me into getting into the fiberglass business," he said. "Larson owns the rights to the rides but I do all the fiberglass work. We have a shop foreman, an office manager and several full-time employees."

    For Gold Star Amusements, the season started Feb. 9 in Laredo, Texas in tandem with 20th Century Rides. The two-week festival celebrates George Washington's birthday and this year marks the 120th celebration in the Texas border community. From there, Gold Star moves to Brownsville Charro Days, set for Feb. 19-26. Leonard Martin, owner of 20th Century Rides, holds the midway contracts for both events, Featherston said.

    After playing a supporting role for those dates, Gold Star's main unit kicks into gear, playing multiple events in Texas and Louisiana before heading north in early May. The show jumps into Memphis for a three-week Hispanic festival before settling in Minnesota and the upper Midwest for the summer months. (Gold Star's corporate address is Coon Rapids, Minn., and its winter quarters are in New Orleans).

    The South Dakota State Fair has turned into a signature event for the carnival since it took over the contract eight years ago. Gold Star replaced the Mighty Thomas Carnival, which had it for many years before switching to the Utah State Fair in Salt Lake City. 

    "It's still pretty new for us in the grand scheme of things," Featherston said. "We like it. It's not the biggest state fair but there's only 50 of them and we have one. The growth has been substantial since we've been there and we're on solid footing. They've moved the dates around but it's been over Labor Day for the past several years." 

    "When I first went in there, state leaders talked about not funding it, but they turned it around and they don't need nearly the funding they once did," he said. "We're right at 40 pieces. It's not the biggest midway but we stuff it, fill it wall to wall."

    The 2017 dates are Aug. 31-Sept. 4 in Huron, S.D.

    This year, Gold Star officials must find room in South Dakota to fit the Street Fighter, a spectacular attraction purchased from Technical Park, an Italian ride manufacturer. It's scheduled for delivery June 1. The $700,000 ride will be themed as 2 Extreme, Featherston said.

    All told, the show has increased its total number of rides over the past few years for even distribution of equipment among two full units. 

    "We've been so busy the last few years," he said. "Now we have four families eating out of one carnival, so we doubled the number of rides. We now have two sets of all rides and the same for ticket boxes, bunkhouses, rest areas. Everything has doubled, along with the total number of employees."

    Two years ago, Gold Star took all the games in-house for greater control over that part of the operation. The show struggled to find dependable concessionaires and it became an issue not knowing whether the full contingent of games would be there every week. There has been a noticeable improvement since the carnival made the adjustment, Featherston said.

    "We wanted a cleaner, brighter image," he said. "The first year after we took it over, we couldn't believe how many compliments we got. Customers would ask us 'What's with the games? There's something different.'"

    As part of the move, Gold Star's international workers operate games. The carnival has used South African labor for the past 14 years through the H2B Visa program. In early February, Featherston drove to Chicago to pick up his first 10 HB2 employees, the earliest he's done it since the show tapped into the program.

    "Everything is flowing right now, it's been scary easy," he said. "We signed a ton of fairs for the second unit. We always had five to six extra rides to send off to do a little celebration. Now, with 15 to 16 rides, we have a solid second unit."

    Featherston's three children are all in their 30s now. Melissa Erasmus, the oldest at 36, met her husband Adriaan on the show after he came over from South Africa as part of the H2B program. At the time, he was one of Gold Star's first international recruits. Jessica Bessette, 34, and her husband, Tim, and Mike Featherston Jr., 31, and his wife, Krissy, round out the family operation.

    In addition to increasing the total number of rides, last year Gold Star upgraded its front gate with a new LED light package from Galaxy Amusement Sales.The 40-foot-wide marquee, a Galaxy design, stands tall on the midway, Featherston said.

    At the Sellner plant, Gold Star offiicals have developed a new puppy theme as a replacement vehicle for the Berry-Go-Round, Bear Affair and other kiddie attractions made under the old manufacturing regime. In some cases, Featherston buys the old spin rides and rebuilds them with the new theme. Carnival owners Alan Cockerham and Jimmy Drew, as well as Geoff Goody with Goodtime Amusements, have all purchased the puppy pieces.

    For Featherston, the upfront costs are about $89,000 to completely refurbish an old Sellner ride before he turns around and sells what is essentially a brand new attraction. Apart from the Sellner pieces, Gold Star's crew has become proficient at restoring Zippers and kiddie coasters such as the Dizzy Dragon inside the 70,000-square-foot facility. Last year, Gold Star renovated its own Pharoah's Fury and Century Wheel. 




    photo by Dennis Borrell


    Photo by Dennis Borrell


     Photo by Dennis Borrell



    Photo by Mike Featherston


  • Colorado Fairs See Better Economy and More Young People in 2017 Season
    2/17/2017
    In spite of budgetary cuts on the state level and trying to better manage entertainment dollars, Colorado fairs look forward to 2017 with optimism, boosted by what Jim Abendschan, a director of the Colorado Association of Fairs and Shows, sees as an a brighter economic outlook.

    The economy is doing well," said Abendschan, who is the former fair manager of both the Arapaho County Fair and El Paso County Fair. "The economy has turned around quite a bit and so I would says the fairs are really looking forward to this year. I read the other day where the unemployment in Colorado is the lowest it has been since 2001, so the economy is good."

    Attendance seems to be rising or at least holding steady for most fairs, and according to Angie Cue, Executive Secretary of the Colorado Association of Fairs and Shows. "Our feedback has been positive as the fair spirit continues to thrive in both our rural and especially in urban areas.  Fairs do a great job marketing to our urban cousins."

    Higher Attendance
    Colorado Association of Fairs and Shows represents 43 events, and the annual convention, held in November, had 138 attendees, which according to the association was slightly higher than the 2015 turnout.

    One of the highlights of the meeting was a more extended entertainment showcase, which featured more than 10 acts each performing about 20-30 minutes each. "They were pretty standard," said Abendschan. "There were new magicians and jugglers and more ground acts. The ground acts are growing."

    What seems on the downswing are fairs booking expensive headline entertainment. With rising star and production costs and undependable drawing power, Abendschan said the trend this year is more conservative attitude among fairs for entertainment spending. "You see more fairs with regional and local acts," he said. "I've only known one fair who can still afford big name entertainment, it's not cost effective for more fair, in my opinion. With the ground acts, there's more bang for the buck, and it's a surprise for people who walk around the corner and see a ground act. With music, there is definitely more local bands."

    Volunteers & Sponsorships
    Some of the leading seminars include: What's up with 4-H?; Advertising, Get the most bang for your buck!; 1. Livestock Updates;  What makes your fair unique?; What do vendors want?; Funny Entertainment; Sourcing and Writing Grants; Volunteer Program Best Practices, Using Your Pure Imagination! and Hacking Traditional Sponsorships. 

    According to Abendschan, the workshops on volunteers and sponsorship drew large crowds. "Volunteer recruitment is very important, most of the smaller fairs have hardly any paid staff," he said. "And fairs are always looking for more sponsorships.  What  types of opportunities like sponsorship that develops a revenue stream is often discussed. Fair managers come to the convention look for more economical ways to run their fair." 

    While Abendschand was unable to comment if the improved economy has resulted in more sponsorships for fairs, but one reason that fairs are seeking to save on labor costs and enhanced revenue stream has been a near-lack of financial support by state and county. "Government support has gotten less and less every year and fairs are having to get more self sufficient," he said. "There is less and less for fairs in the budgets."
     
    "It is the smaller fairs that suffer the most from funding cuts so they are eager to learn more about gaining sponsorship funding from community members," said Cue. "The larger fairs feel it less with funding cuts due to larger budgets. Networking with smaller fairs at our convention grows more and more important."

    While a crucial component of most conventions, with the downward spiral of support by a belt-tightening legislature, the exchange of ideas and solidarity of gathering with colleagues has become more important for attendees to the annual meeting of the Colorado Association of Fairs and Shows.

    "It's a huge benefit for the fair, have a networking," Abendschan added. "We can rely on other managers to exchange ideas, we know each other and if run into a glitch, we email each other and ask questions.  Besides the annual convention, we have a managers group that meets twice a year, once in March and once right before the convention. Networking is very important to the organization, especially with the budget cuts and the need to find other revenue sources."

    Drones Soar
    Abendschan mentioned that the "Legality of Drones in Public Places" was a very popular, well-attended seminar.  "I think one trend will be more drones in different ways this year," he said. 

    The annual convention of the Colorado Association of Fairs and Shows also saw the election of some new officers including Les Linman, Delta County Fairgrounds as Southwest Director and Laura Boldt, Boulder County Fair was "board appointed for one year," said Cue.

    In addition, awards given out at the convention included –  Fair Person of the Year:  Scotty Engelhardt, Kiowa County Fair; Fair Manager of the Year:  Terry Schaaf, Archuleta County Fair; Fair Book Contest:  Middle Park Fair and Rodeo; Directory Cover:  Park County Fair; Directory Centerfold:  Park County Fair; Royalty Poster Contest:  Cheyenne County Fair and Rodeo; Royalty Centerpiece:  Boulder County Fair.

    Cue added that overall fairs are more upbeat for 2017.  Noting that unlike some fair associations, the membership is beginning to get less gray. "Attitudes are more optimistic as we are all passionate about our fairs, our kids and our communities," she said. "We see younger fair board members every year so the traditions can continue with more ideas and more energy to make our fairs great."

    More younger people attended the annual convection than in previous years, agreed Abendschan. "There's a young professional group forming, and you are seeing more young people on the fair boards. There are more young people in Colorado choosing fairs either as a profession or to volunteer their time for."

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Wade Shows
San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo
San Antonio, TX
2/9/2017 - 2/26/2017
Butler Amusements
Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival
Indio, CA
2/17/2017 - 2/26/2017
Wade Shows
Pasco County Fair
Dade City, FL
2/20/2017 - 2/26/2017
California Carnival Co.
Almond Blossom Festival
Ripon, CA
2/23/2017 - 2/26/2017
Belle City Amusement
Resurrection Catholic Church
Lakeland, FL
2/23/2017 - 2/26/2017
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St. Lucie County Fair
Fort Pierce, FL
2/24/2017 - 3/5/2017
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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
Jimmy Coffield Jr. Passes
Life long food concessionaire Jimmy Coffield Jr. passed away suddenly in his sleep this morning. Jimmy loved the amusement industry and most notably, the people in it. Jimmy resided in Durham North Carolina and traveled with his father on many shows up and down the East coast. Jimmy is survived by is wife Becky and his 2 daughters daughters Victoria and Brooke. Jimmy's sense of humor and smile made him beloved by others. If making people laugh was an Olympic sport, he would have been a gold medalist.


  Posted by Obiturary on 2/22/2017
Maple Leaf Purchases New Rides for 2017
At the Michigan Association of Fairs & Exhibitions Convention in Grand Rapids, January 12-14, Erin and John Fitzgerald owners of Maple Leaf Amusements, announced several new major ride purchases.  The show based in Brekenridge, Michigan will enter the 2017 season in April with the addition of a Mulligan Sea Ray and a Chance Yo Yo.  The Show also added a brand new Watkins Expo Wheel with all LED lighting in July last year and a Wisdom Himalaya in 2015.  The show also added the Kalamazoo County Fair, August 7-12 to its route.  Maple Leaf Amusements plays a variety of festivals and county fairs in Michigan and Indiana.  

  Posted by Michael Prelesnik on 2/20/2017
Midway Sky Eye Opens at the Florida State Fair
The Wade Shows 46 meter Midway Sky Eye made its debut at the Florida State Fair today.  The ribbon cutting was held on the fairgrounds after inspection was completed.  Frank Zaitshik, the ride's co-owner, Adam Putnam, Commissioner of Agriculture, Cheryl Flood, Florida State Fair Executive Director, Doyle Carlton, FSFA Board Chairman and other board members and Chamber of Commerce members joined to cut the ribbon and open the ride to the public.

The first rides were taken by the board members and dignitaries as well as 100 lucky "Golden Ticket" winners that were chosen to be among the first to ride.

The ride was delayed for opening when it was delayed at customs after coming in from the Netherlands.  After a weekend delay, the ride was setup while Denny's Electronics assembled the and installed the lights for each 75' sweep.  




  Posted by Ron Weber on 2/13/2017
Wade Shows signs Buc Days in Corpus Christi
Buc Days of Corpus Christi, Texas announced the signing of Wade Shows to be their new carnival for the 2017 event.  In order to accommodate Wade Shows, Buc Days shifted its calendar one week into May.  The 2017 event will run May 4-14.

"Buc Days is pleased to partner with Wade Shows. After researching and touring  carnival operators across the nation, we have found a premier operator that will bring Corpus Christi some of the largest, most exciting rides in the industry with customer service presentation second to none" says Johnny Philipello, President and CEO of the Buccaneer Commission.  

"We are incredibly honored to be chosen to provide the midway for such an outstanding event", said Frank Zaitshik, President of Wade Shows.  "We will be bringing  Buc Days amazing new spectacular rides, many never before seen at the event, along with some great family and kiddie rides, all presented in an amusement park-like setting.", he added.

Wade is expected to bring a full set of midway amenities such as benches, landscaping, guest relations areas, cell phone charging stations, and much more to the event.
  Posted by Matt Cook on 2/6/2017
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.

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