6.16.11 Midway Talk
Carnival Magazine sadly reports that Archie E. Brotzman passed away on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30. Archie was born February 28, 1941, in Easton, he was a son of the late Archie E. Sr. and Grace Merwarth Brotzman. He and his wife, the former Dottie Lawson, celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary on April 1, 2011. Archie was the owner and operator of AEB Amusements, for over 50 years. He had also been a delivery driver for Merwarths Flower Shop, for many years. He graduated from Wilson High School Class of 1959 and served in the Army. Memberships: Archie was a life member of Order of Fleas and a member of the PA State Showmens Association. In addition to his wife, Dottie, he is survived by four sons, Christopher, of Perry Hall, MD, Adam, of Greencastle, PA, Aaron and Archie IV Bubba, both at home; four daughters, Angela Skirnski and her husband Andy, of Roanoke, VA, Audrey, of Thiells, NY, Amanda Turille and her husband Brian, of Omaha, NE and Ashlee Brotzman, at home; two brothers, Roger, of Easton and Jerry, of Stockertown; a sister, Elizabeth Ritter, of Allentown; 5 grandsons and 4 great-grandchildren. A great-grandson, Xander Stout and a sister, Grace Tordonato, died earlier. Archie was 70 years old. Our condolences to the Brotzman family and all at A.E.B. Amusements.
Sadly, NICA has informed Carnival Magazine that Robert Jack Pinson passed away on May 30. He was the owner and operator of Pinson Novelties for many years and served in the Army during the Korean Conflict. He is survived by his wife of 50 years and five children.
Big Rock Amusements suffered a severe storm at an event in Bristol, Tennessee in early May. The storm tore holes in 20 of the carnival’s Yo-Yo seats. There was also damage to their Mardi Gras Fun House and Dragon Wagon. “Over 75% of our lens caps came off our lights,” said carnival owner Matt McDonagh. “It looked as if it had rained lens caps after the storm.” In addition to ride damage, several show trucks and living quarters were dented by hail. Thankfully, no one was hurt on the show grounds during the storm. Big Rock’s winter quarters in Barnesville, Georgia narrowly escaped a tornado that touched down just two miles away during the same time as the storm in Bristol. Repair work from the storm is nearly completed and being done on the road. The company had just finished a total refurbishment of their Sea Ray when Carnival Magazine spoke with Matt McDonagh.
Two workers suffered a fall while dismantling Drew Exposition’s Seattle Wheel at the Greensboro Youth Carnival in Greensboro, NC. 42 year-old Michael Douglas was pronounced dead at a local hospital. We extend our sympathies to everyone at Drew Exposition and the Douglas family.
Gene Dean, owner Fiesta Shows based in Seabrook, New Hampshire reports delivery of a new A.R.M. Rides Vertigo. The spectacular ride arrived in late March. In May, Fiesta Shows took delivery of a new Owen Trailers Magic Maze Glass House. Gene told Carnival Magazine that Fiesta Shows has refurbished their Tilt-A-Whirl and both of their Pharaoh’s Fury.
Bobby Hauser of West Coast Amusements in Langley, BC Canada reports that the carnival took delivery of a new A.R.M. Rides Drop Tower in June. The 110-foot tower is the tallest of its kind on a carnival midway. West Coast Amusements also recently purchased a Wisdom Alien Abduction, the latest version of the company’s Starship.
Perhaps an indication of a new trend in midway food, deep-fried peaches were featured at Memorial Day Weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Race in Charlotte, North Carolina. The wedged peaches are floured, egg-washed, rolled in crushed Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and flash-fried. The final dish is served with a yogurt sauce. The concession proved enjoyable even to skeptics who gave it a try. As reported in the Charlotte Observer, also available at the race were “Bologna Q” sandwiches (deep-fried bologna topped with mustard barbecue onions), “Lug Nutz” (pimento mac and cheese balls with bacon that are battered and deep-fried), and funnel cake fries served with strawberry ketchup.
Ground has been broken on the Skyvue Las Vegas Super Wheel, a new amusement wheel that reaches a height of 500-feet once completed. Standing tall in an amusement park near the Mandalay Bay Resort, the Super Wheel will be the tallest wheel in the United States. The project is headed by real estate developers David Gaffin and Howard Bulloch. There are also plans in the works for an even taller amusement wheel located in Las Vegas. The proposed 600-foot wheel would be located in a new commercial district full of bars, shops, and restaurants now called “Project Linq.” The development is backed by Caesars Entertainment.
The Sacramento County Fair celebrated its 75th year May 26 – May 30. The annual event is held at Cal Expo in Sacramento, CA. The midway was provided by Brass Ring Amusements Midway of Fun of Oroville, CA. The carnival is owned by Harry Mason. The Sacramento County Fair moved its event to Memorial Day weekend in 2006 and averages 69,000 guests per year.
Blake Huston of N.A.M.E. and his wife Amy welcomed Lucy Lynn Huston to their family on April 18. Their new daughter weighed in at 6 lbs., 10 oz. and measured 20 inches. Congratulations to Blake and Amy as well as grandparents, Danny and Diane Huston. In other good news from N.AM.E., Pat Repp’s son, Adam, graduated from Western ILL with a Law Enforcement degree. He was the head of the ROTC class and will be entering the US Army as Second Lieutenant. Pat was featured in June’s Carnival Magazine as a Midway Personality. Also at NA.M.E., Bob and Diane Gill announced the birth of their first great-grandchild, Connall, born March 4.
Carnival Magazine contributor, Ted Fitzsimmons, visited Jeff Blomsness on the N.A.M.E. midway on Memorial Day weekend. He reports that a new LED package decorated their wheel and a new two-story Hitch-Hiker Grill was up and running, owned by Jeff’s wife, Patti.
Tony Fiori reported to the Contra Costa Times that attendance was up about four percent compared to 2010 at the Orange Festival in San Bernardino, CA. The 96th annual event took place May 26 – 30. Admission to the festival was $5.00. Unlimited ride wristbands were available each day for $15.00. Weather was pleasant for the entire event.
Funtastic Shows provided an A.R.M. Vertigo among other rides at the CityFair Carnival along Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, Oregon. The event, which ran for three consecutive weekends, is part of a broader event called the Rose Festival. According to the festival’s chief executive officer, Jeff Curtis, Funtastic Show’s Vertigo is the tallest ride ever brought to Waterfront Park. The event ran on the weekends of May 27, June 2, and June 9.
Nebraska State Fair Executive Director Joseph McDermott reported that the State Fair is planning on changes to build upon a successful 2010 event. The State Fair changed location in 2010, moving from Lincoln to Grand Prairie where the event will be held again this year. While not all changes have been released, McDermott told TheIndependent.com that the shuttle bus system will be better organized this year. The fair will also open one hour earlier this year, changing from 10:00 am to 9:00 am. McDermott expects even higher attendance in 2011 compared to 2010. The Nebraska State Fair will be held August 26 through September 5, 2011.
The new amusement wheel entitled Sky Wheel debuted in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on May 20. Tickets for the ride cost $12 for adults and $8 for children between the ages of 3 and 11. The first 100 people in line for the attraction received a free ride on opening day. The wheel is 187-feet high and carries 42 gondolas. The ride experienced some closures during its first week in operation due to adjustments of the lighting system and longer than expected daily safety checks.
In a critical year for organizers, the Glenn County Fair in Orland, California saw a sharp rise in attendance for its 2011 event. Compared to 2010, preliminary attendance numbers were up 41 percent. Food concessions saw a rise of 25 percent in total gross sales. Due to State budget cuts, the event will lose funding next year. Organizers believe that the positive results from this year’s event—held May 18 -22—will help fundraising efforts. Butler Amusements provided the midway for the Glenn County Fair.