Midway Talk – July 9, 2009
McDonagh’s Amusements told Carnival that so far the season has seen a lot of rain with some spots up and some not so good. New rides that hopefully will be out soon are a refurbished Round Up and a used Orbiter that originally belonged to Crown Amusements.
Playland Amusements of Auburn, New York has acquired three kiddie rides for the 2009 season. They are an Eli Kiddie Scrambler, an Eli Wheel and an Eyerly Ladybug. Playland recently played the Barnard Firemen’s Carnival in the Rochester suburb of Greece, N.Y. for the first time, that was previously played by the Reithoffer Green Unit, Arbroo Shows and Carol Stream Amusements. The show fielded 19 rides at the 4-day event from June 24 – 27.
Strates Shows unloaded their train at Middletown, NY in early June and hauled the equipment overland to their mall spot at Danbury, CT for the June 19 – July 18 event. Several rides such as the heavy Huss Top Spin were left in Middletown. The show will return to Middletown to play the Orange County Fair July 23 – August 2. From Middletown the train will head to Hamburg, NY while 20 to 25 pieces of over the road equipment go to the Chemung County Fair in Horseheads, NY for the August 4 – 9 event.
Midway Rides of Utica, NY has refurbished a Hampton Combination Car Ride and added a Hampton Motorcycle Jump Umbrella Ride for 2009. The show has also purchased a new Sellner Dizzy Dragons that was on display at Gibtown. A new date for Midway Rides was the fair at Cayuga County, in Weedsport, NY, July 2 – 5. Prior to Weedsport, one unit of the show played the Rochester, NY Harborfest.
Fun City Shows has been renamed “Fun For Everyone Shows, Inc.” and is still run by Mike Robb. Fun City was originally started by Mike’s father, Dave Robb, in the early 1970’s. For 2009 the show acquired three new rides: A Zipper, a Venture Cobra and a Dizzy Dragons. In addition, the show’s Go Gator has been completely refurbished and the ARM Quasar was sold to make room for the new pieces. The show’s route is concentrated in the Buffalo, NY area and runs from late April to around Labor Day. A few pieces are booked independently in the south during the winter.
Many sources have reported to Carnival that all of the show dates in the northeast have been plagued by heavy rain and that as a result, business has been way down.
North American Midway Entertainment enjoyed perfect weather, a record ride gross and an attendance increase at the June 12 – 21 Red River Exhibition in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The top five rides were: The Niagara Falls Flume Ride, Crazy Mouse Spinning Coaster, Polar Express, Fireball and the 130 foot Mega Drop Tower.
The nation’s largest high school fair, The St. Mary’s Polish Country Fair in Orchard Lake, Michigan, held on the campus of Orchard Lake St. Mary Prepratory attracted over 110,000 people to the May 22 – 25 event. NAME provided 50 rides for the 38th annual fair.
A record 1,274,442 people attended the San Diego Fair this year breaking the previous record of 1,265,997 set in 2007. Food sales at the fair totaled $886,000.
Powers Great American Midways has taken delivery of a 109 foot A.R.M. Swing Tower (Vertigo) with a spectacular LED lighting package at the Big Butler Fair in Prospect, PA. The ride is purple, magenta and yellow. The riders are 76 feet off the ground when the ride is in motion. The Vertigo moves on one trailer with 3 axles and weights 87,000 pounds including the tractor.
Midway Talk – July 16, 2009
. Tim Casper of PBJ Happee Days Shows of Marion, Arkansas spent $100,000 on LED lighting for their Fabbri 20 millimeter, Giant Gondola Wheel and the resulting light show has caused the revenue from the ride to go up dramatically. The LED lighting package was purchased through Len Soled of Rides-4-U. The show also has purchased a Tilt-A-Whirl that will be refurbished this coming winter. A new date for the show is the Batesville County Fair in Batesville, Arkansas. The show also bought the fair route of Steve Davidson of Davidson Amusement Devices and will be adding a new unit to play these additional dates. This is their third year of using the JKJ Workforce and the Caspers are very pleased with the quality of the employees. For 2010 they will be adding the KMG Inversion to their ride lineup. KMG will be showing the Inversion at the 2010 IISF Trade Show.
. Playworld Amusements of Alma, Michigan, owned by Jeff and Joyce Brady, have added for the 2009 season a Majestic Wiggle Worm, a Dartron Quad Runner, a Wisdom Sizzler, a Wisdom Cobra Coaster, a Gullwing generator, seven Peterbilt tractors and a used Tilt-A-Whirl from UsedRides that will be refurbished in winter quarters. Jeff and his brother Scott Bradd have purchased a new Fabbri Vortex. Scott also purchased a new Hitch-Hiker chicken on a stick food trailer
. On Thursday, September 24, the State Fair of Virginia will open the fair’s new home at The Meadow Event Park, a 360-acre property 25 miles north of Richmond and 30 miles south of Fredericksburg in Doswell, VA. The beautiful, rural setting has open grassy fields and views of rolling hills and forests.
. North American Midway Entertainment has signed a five-year agreement to provide the midway at the Manitoba Summer Fair. N.A.M.E. and the former company, Conklin Shows have now been the midway providers at this great Canadian Exhibition in Brandon, Manitoba for 29 consecutive years.
Midway Talk – July 30, 2009
The Salem Virginia Fair, held July 8-12 had a ten percent increase in attendance in spite of rain on the first Sunday and the second Saturday. Approximately 300,000 patrons came through the gates according to Manager Cary Harveycutter. Deggeller Attractions has provided the midway for all 22 years of the fair’s existence.
North American Midway Entertainment has signed a new three- year contract with the Northern Wisconsin State Fair in Chippewa Falls. Manager Rusty Volk reported that the fair experienced perfect weather for all five days, which resulted in a 20 percent increase in attendance. The fair was marketed as ‘Spend Your Vacation in Your Backyard.’
Griffin Gillette, independent concessionaire, has purchased a state of the art, two story, Hitch-Hiker Polar Bear Ice Cream Parlor. Jeff Swartz, owner of Hitch-Hiker says that the unit is a complete ice cream store on wheels. (See picture in the September issue of Carnival on the “Concession Stands” page.)
David Griffith of Fajume reports that a Crazy Chopper was purchased by Miguel Martinez of M & M Amusements. David indicated that several carnival companies have expressed an interest in purchasing Wacky Worms for the 2010 season.
James B. Ryan, 79, of Groveland, Florida died Monday, June 29, 2009 at his residence following an extended illness. James was in the amusement business for 30 years and was involved with the Cumberland Valley Shows for 23 of those 30 years. He was also a member of the OABA. He is survived by his wife, Della, four children and fourteen grandchildren.
The Gillette Shows will make their first appearance in Connecticut at Wethersfield, Connecticut’s 375 anniversary celebration at Cove Park October 16th – 18th. The sponsor will be the Richard M. Keene Foundation.
Midway Talk – July 23, 2009
Ronnie Lindekugel, 56, of Ruskin, Florida, longtime concessionaire in the amusement business (mainly with Wade Shows) for over 35 years, passed away on May 29, 2009. Ronnie and his longtime companion, Peggy King, were traveling through Hannibal, Missouri where he was stricken and died. Peggy wishes to thank everyone for their care and concern. He will be sorely missed.
Mike Szuder of Winter Garden, Florida, died on July 12, 2009. Mike was concession manager for Carol Stream Amusements until illness forced him off the road last winter. He is survived by his companion, Jerrie Outten, three children and ten grandchildren.
The OABA’s “Just Dance” competition and fund raiser has been moved to Las Vegas, Nevada and will be held during Jean Clair’s SLA’s President’s Ball on December 1.
The San Diego County Fair held in Del Mar, California set a new attendance record of 1,274,442 surpassing the 2007 record of 1,265,997. The highest grossing ride at the fair was Steve VanderVorste’s Crazy Mouse followed by Ray Cammack’s Grand Wheel. Coming in at number 3 was Mary & Tom Talley’s Fast Trax Slide. Number 4 was Cammack’s Sky Ride and number 5 was Michael Wood’s Magnum.
The 58th Red River Exhibition in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada had a total attendance of approximately 190,000 for the ten-day event between June 12th and June 21st. Tony Diaz, manager of North American Midway Entertainment reported that the carnival was up by eight percent and three percent overall. General Manager of the fair, Garth Rogerson, noted that food sales were off by one percent.
Tony Salerno Jr., president of Windy City Amusements reported that the season has been good up to this point. The show has added two new dates for the 2009 season: Chicago’s Cinco de Mayo in Douglas Park and a festival in the Chicago suburb of McCook, IL. Two rides added were a Wisdom Himalaya and a Carousel.
Midway Talk – August 6, 2009
Chris Hurley, Office Manager of McDonagh’s Amusements told Carnival that McDonagh’s has purchased a Zamperla Z-Force from Mighty Bluegrass Shows, that is themed as Big Ben. It was set up for the first time in Fraser, Michigan and was then transported on four trailers to the Minnesota State Fair. Chris says it will be repainted and refurbished.
The new federal minimum wage of $7.25 went into effect on July 31, 2009.
Charlie Belknap, Director of Marketing/Public Relations for Powers Great American Midways, reported to Carnival that the show has taken delivery of a new Zamperla Kite Flyer Family Ride and that Eddie Powers has purchased a new 26-foot Hitch-Hiker pizza trailer. Both have LED lighting. Charlie says that the Schoharie County Sunshine Fair in Cobleskill, New York experienced rain on July 31 and August 2 but that Saturday, August 1 was a great day. Advanced ride ticket sales were up compared to last year.
The Capital Ex in Edmonton, Alberta saw an increase of one percent in attendance over last year’s figures in spite of inclement weather during the opening weekend. The fair, with North American Midway Entertainment as the midway provider, enjoyed good weather for the remainder of the July 16-25 run.
N.A.M.E. also experienced a good run at the July 3-12 Calgary Stampede in Alberta even though attendance was down from 2008, which was a record year.
Attendance at the Saratoga County Fair in Ballston Spa, New York was estimated at 75,000 by the retiring manager, Dick Rowland. Attendance at the 2008 fair was 65,000.
The Marin County Fair, just north of San Francisco, boasted that 40% of the electricity used at the fair was produced by solar power and wind turbines. A carousel with LED lighting was powered with enough solar energy to run it well into the night and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s sound stage, with LED lighting, entertained fairgoers with a 6kw solar array.
Ross Owen of Owen’s Trailers, Inc., of Riverside, CA told Carnival that Jim Dillman of Belle City Amusements of Winter Springs, FL, Tony Lowery of Lowery Carnival Company of Gulf Shores, AL and Fiesta Shows of Seabrook, NH have all taken delivery of Mardi Gras Glass Houses. Danny England, independent ride operator, has taken delivery of a Super Dark Ride that will make its debut at the Minnesota State Fair.
The N.C. State Fair is asking fairgoers to wash their hands to help protect pigs from human-borne illnesses such as the H1N1 flu. Anyone exhibiting any flu-like symptoms is asked to avoid the fair. Veterinary officials have also recommended that fair managers add a 6-foot barrier around any swine exhibits to further separate humans from the animals and that the swine be vaccinated with any available swine flu vaccines.