Midway Talk – June 4, 2009
Butler Amusements experienced a 24 percent increase in their gross at the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival in Garden Grove, California Memorial Day Weekend. That was the highest gross ever at that festival. Earl “Butch” Butler reported that the show was experiencing very good crowds so far this season. From Garden Grove Butler moved to Palm Springs where the weather was hot during the day and the crowds sparse but the cool nights brought out large crowds.
The proposed history museum for carnivals and those who run them has been revived with a $1 million contribution from Jim Frederiksen, president of Frederiksen Industries. The museum, to be located next door to the showmen’s association offices in Gibtown, had been put on hold because of a lack of funds. According to Chuck Mayo, who is a voluntary archivist for thousands of photos to be exhibited at the museum, another $1 million is needed to get the project fully funded. Anyone wishing to contribute to this worthy cause should contact Chuck Mayo at 813-992-5012. A large contribution would entitle the donor to have his or her name placed on the building.
Kevin Dalton of Dalton Kid-Rides has sold a Quad Runner to Lon McQuarter of Mac’s Amusements. The ride has been booked for the Minnesota State Fair. Quad Runners have also been sold to: Tom Murray, Paul Murray, Billy Clark of Smokey Mountain Amusements and R. C. Cole of R. C. Cole Shows. Dalton now offers new style Sweep Runners for Hampton Jump Cycles. They have busy with orders for replacement vehicles, fences and gates. Kevin is optimistic about the upcoming fair season and believes that the carnival industry will have a good year financially.
Jim Frederiksen owner of Frederiksen Industries of Tampa, FL has sold a used 90 foot slide to Eagleswood Amusement Park in New Jersey. New 90 foot slides have been sold to the following: Z.D.T.’s Amusement Park in Texas, Mad-Jax Amusements of Minnesota and Gillians Amusement Park in New Jersey. Five new train trailers were sold to Rides-4-U. A new custom-made Ice Slide trailer was sold to Magic Run USA Ice Works. (This slide involves the use of a sled.) Jim reported that he hopes to close on the sale of a new five lane Slide to Bell’s Amusements of Australia. “The year has been a little slow, but not bad at all,” said Jim, adding, “We have four new slides in stock and three used ones.” This is Frederiksen’s 22nd year of making fun slides and his best customers have been the traveling carnivals here in the U.S.
Betty Gillette of Gillette Shows told Carnival that their early still dates have been ok and that the weather has been a lot better than last year when rain was a major problem. “People seem to be staying close to home and going to local events,” said Betty.
Midway Talk – June 11, 2009
Joseph A. Sofo, 87, died Sunday, May 31, 2009, in the U.S. Veterans Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y. For 58 years, Joe, along with his late wife, Micalena Pronti Sofo, owned and operated Sofo’s Amusements. Joe was a member of the Outdoor Amusement Assn., the Greater Tampa Show Peoples Association, the Pennsylvania Showman’s Assn., and was a past president of the New York State Show Peoples Assn. He was a decorated veteran of the U.S. Army, having served in WW II in the South Pacific where he received the Purple Heart for wounds sustained at the battle of Guadalcanal. He is survived by two sons and one daughter.
Clarence Preston, 67, manager of the Albion, New York 4H Fair died unexpectedly on May 31, 2009 at his home. Before he became fair manager, Preston volunteered for 30-plus years at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds doing everything from mowing, watering flowers or unlocking a building for someone. Clarence would take his vacation at fair time so he could work there. He is survived by his wife, Ann, three children and eight grandchildren.
NICA and the OABA have joined forces as they look for better fuel programs that would serve the carnival industry on major inter-state and secondary highways in the U.S. The idea is to negotiate with the major fuel suppliers/vendors for diesel fuel discounts.
Butler Amusements bought several rides from Michael Jackson’s now defunct Neverland Park including a Zamperla’s Samba Balloons and a large Majestic Bumper Cars. CEO Butch Butler also reported that he had purchased a new Wind Surfer from Wisdom Industries.
Don Deggeller of Deggeller Attractions reported that the Clay County Fair in Green Cove Springs, Florida had more than twenty sponsors and that they had placed many ads with newspapers, radio and television. The fair admitted the first 500 patrons for free believing that the ride revenue will more than make up for the lost admission fees. Deggeller has added a Crazy Chopper from Fajume and has ordered a Wind Surfer from Wisdom.
Midway Talk – June 25, 2009
The Showmen’s League of America has launched a brand new website – www.showmensleague.org. The new website, created by Showmen’s League of America Communications Director, Amber Swedgan, and ikrave designs, Dave Kitt and Coran La Pierre offers a fresh look and a new perspective on the almost 100 year history of the Showmen’s League of America.
The IAAPA Attractions Expo will be held from November 16 – 20, 2009 at the Las Vegas Convention Center – South Halls. The Trade Show Floor will be open from November 17th through the 20th.
Tim Coleman of Coleman Brothers Shows of Middletown, CT reports that he feels that they can make money if it will quit raining. The show purchased a Starship Gravitron from Jeremy Floyd of Cumberland Valley Shows for the 2009 season and they are also hoping to purchase a dark ride to add to their inventory. Among the list of refurbished rides at winter quarters was a Chance Thunderbolt, which is their best grossing ride. The Majestic Bumper Car usually comes in at number 2. The show currently carries 23 rides and plays 7 county fairs and festivals. A new date for the show is the Gouverneur & St. Lawrence County Fair in NY. Robert Coleman III has rejoined the show this season and his grandfather, Robert Coleman Sr., 83, is still very active in the day-to-day operations.
Midway Talk – June 18, 2009
The Steele County Free Fair of Owatonna, Minnesota will feature the Sling Shot thrill ride at the August 18 – 23, 2009 event. The ride launches its riders 220 feet in the air at the rate of 6G’s. The ride operates on cables and springs for the smoothest and safest ride of its type. It has thrilled patrons at the Florida State Fair, Texas State Fair, Minnesota State Fair, Illinois State Fair, Mid South Fair in Memphis and the San Diego County Fair.
Steve Ianni has joined the staff of J&J Amusements as their new lotman after working at the same job for Amusements of America for many years. Ianni also provided several games at the Brookhaven, NY Fair. Pleasant weather brought out big crowds resulting in increased revenue.
Mark Fanelli of Fanelli’s Traveling Amusement Park told carnival that he has brought over from his father’s show a Zamperla Red Baron, a Sellner Tilt-A-Whirl and a Majestic Scooter. At their winter quarters, attractive new ticket boxes were constructed and the Round-Up, Yo-Yo and Slide were refurbished. Two new bunk houses were purchased.
Midway Talk – July 2, 2009
A tub on an Octopus ride fell off, dropping 15 to 20 feet to the ground and injuring a 14 year old rider at the Buchanan Volunteer Fire Department’s annual 4th of July Carnival in Buchanan, Virginia on Tuesday, June 30. The Octopus, belonging to Red Roach of Magic Midway, had just been inspected the prior week. The rider, Dustin Young, received a bump on the base of his skull and numerous bruises to his stomach and arms but was ok.
Bud & Jeanette Gilmore of Smokey’s Greater Shows of Bangor, Maine have joined the carnival industry chorus saying, “if it will quit raining, we could make money.” The show carries 30 rides and in the spring, divides into two units. A High-Lite Rides, Inc. Swing Ride was added for 2009. The Gravitron, Zipper and Star Trooper were refurbished this past winter. The Thunderbolt, the Mulligan Giant Wheel and the Ali-Baba are the top grossing rides on the midway. The show owns most of the food stands and plays festivals and 12 county fairs.
Pat Guthrie of Jules & Beck Combined Shows and Gold Medal Shows of Barnesville, GA told Carnival that Gold Medal is carrying 12 rides and is playing the greater Atlanta area. Jules & Beck, carrying 22 rides, is playing the Michigan area until mid August when they will pick up their county fair route in Kentucky and Tennessee. The company added the Watkins Heart Flip and Swinger for the 2009 season. The Roundup and Scrambler were refurbished in winter quarters. Pat reported that a lot of rain was experienced at the Greater Atlanta Fair. That midway was made up of 35 rides.
The Galax Fire Dept. of Galax, Virginia is trying to find out why the carnival company from New Jersey, Tolve Amusements, did not show up for the Fire Dept’s annual 4th of July fundraiser event. Tolve Amusements had agreed to fill in after Jules & Beck Combined Shows of Georgia told Galax Fire Dept. officials in January that they would not be returning to Galax because of fuel costs. Fire Dept chief, David Hankley, is trying to find another company to fill in for what is the department’s biggest annual fundraiser. Previous providers of the midway have been R. C. Cole Shows, W. H. Harden Shows, Larry’s Amusements and James Drew Expositions.
James Walker, 76, of Durham, NC, longtime concession owner died recently at his home. He, along with his wife, Rethe Walker, have operated a mug joint for the past 35 years, working the Carolinas, Virginia and Florida circuits. James had many friends in the carnival business and will be sorely missed.
The September 11th – 20th Tennessee State Fair in Nashville will feature a “green initiative” that will use manure and other waste collected at the fair to make electricity to help run the midway. A company by the name of TSTO has manufactured a machine called the Mobile Bio Oil Processor (MBOP) that will turn manure, straw, hay and paper into bio diesel fuel. The midway provider, North American Midway Entertainment will use the fuel to help power their generators.