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.

  Please contact Carnival Magazine at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 704-638-0878 if you have information for Midway Talk.  Visit us online at www.carnivalmag.com for more Midway Talk. 

5.20.11 Midway Talk

Inners Shows of Franklinton, NC informed Carnival Magazine that they have purchased a Wisdom Dragon Wagon kiddie coaster, Zamperla Crazy Bus, and a Spacecraft 53’ office/living quarters trailer.


Carnival Magazine contributor, Dan Zapata, reports that longtime veteran of the South Texas carnival scene, Harvey Moore passed away recently.  In his youth, Mr. Moore performed in “AT Shows” that his dad, Jake Moore, had on the Moore Shows midway.  When Harvey inherited the show, he renamed it Moore’s Greater Shows.”  Harvey continued to keep it based in the southern Texas valley region while playing a mostly Midwestern route.  Harvey ran the show for several decades before handing over the reins to his son, Ricky Moore, who has run it for the past several seasons.  Harvey stayed on the road for many years serving as special consultant to Ricky.  He is survived by his wife, three sons, one daughter, two daughters-in-law and multiple grandchildren.


Fellow contributor, Mike Prelesnik, provided an update on memorial plans for Clara Lee “Charlie” Brott.  As reported in May’s issue, Charlie passed away on February 23, 2011.  She had been a veteran of the industry, working with Wade Shows, Elliott Amusements, and Ingall’s Amusements.  Her memorial service will be held at the English Inn, 677 South Michigan Road, Eaton Rapids, MI 48827 on Tuesday, June 7, 2011 from 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.  Appetizers and refreshments will be served.  More information can be found at www.englishinn.com or by phone at 517-663-2500.


According to www.NJ.com, 10,000 tickets for this year’s State Fair Meadowlands (June 24 – July 10) will be donated to underprivileged children from Hudson County, New Jersey.  The donation will be organized in partnership with local outreach professionals.  This will be the 25th edition of the annual event located next to the New Meadowlands Stadium.  Amusements of America is the midway provider for State Fair Meadowlands.


As part of the planning for the annual Rhododendron Festival in Port Townsend, Washington, officials will be testing the field conditions of Memorial Athletic Field.  The field is the proposed midway space.  Due to a long winter and recent rains there are concerns about wet field conditions.  According to www.ptleader.com, “On May 11, a county dump truck partially loaded to the approximate weight of a carnival truck will be taken onto the field.”  Midway provider, Funtastic Shows, will be on hand to witness the test.  Depending on the results, the midway will either be set up completely on the field, only partially on the field, or in a different location.  The festival will run May 19 – 21.


In a news release, David A. Norton, President and CEO of Norton Auctioneers, is pleased to announce the return of Daniel Satow and DARIN Spieth to the company.  The two are taking over the day to day operations of the Michigan-based company while David Norton will continue as President and CEO.  Dan and Darin will handle most listings, set-up and on-site work.  “This is an exciting time,” says CEO David Norton.  “The addition of Dan and Darin will ensure the professionalism of Norton Auctioneers, Inc. as we continue to play an important part of the amusement industry.”  


Under the Electric Sky: The Legacy of the Bill Lynch Shows is a new book by Christopher A. Walsh now available through Pottersfield Press.  The Canadian-based Bill Lynch Shows dates back to the 1920’s. The book is a mixture of show history and the author’s observations from travelling with the current show.


The Utah State Fair has hired a new Executive Director, Clark Caras.  Mr. Caras has a strong background in marketing and worked in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development as marketing director for five years.  The Utah State Fair will be held September 8 – 18.  Mighty Thomas Carnival is the midway provider.


A new observation wheel manufactured by Nauta-Bussink is set to open at Myrtle Beach in late May.  The massive attraction, themed “SkyWheel” carries 42 gondolas and allows for 25 mile distance views when at the 200-foot peak of the wheel’s journey.  The wheel is decorated with 1-million LED lights and a special light show will occur every night.  The wheel’s revolution takes about three minutes and each ride cycles through four revolutions.


In other wheel news, plans for a semi-permanent observation wheel in Seattle, Washington have been stalled.  The project is planned to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1962 World’s Fair in 2012.  After receiving city approval, the project is now delayed while liability insurance is secured.  The 196-foot wheel was planned to run for an eighteen-month period and is managed by the British company, Great City Attractions. 


The Miami Dade County Fair ran from March 17 – April 3 with North American Midway Entertainment providing the midway again in 2011.  This was the 60th anniversary of the annual event.  Attendance was up 4% from 2010 with 586,100 fairgoers in 2011.  Ride gross was up 7% from 2010 as well as food concessions, which rose 4%.  Another positive note was game concession revenue, which were up 16% from 2010.  The midway was comprised of 90 rides, which included PBJ Happee Day Shows’ Nemesis 360, Playworld Amusements’ G-Force, Jane Baxter Vivona’s Space Roller, and Amusements of America’s Avalanche as well as N.A.M.E.’s pieces.


Poor Jack Amusements of Milton, Indiana purchased a new Zamperla Happy Swing prior to the start of the 2011 season.  They have also refurbished their Sizzler and Hy Five Ferris Wheel.  Poor Jack Amusements began their season in mid-April with rain.  The carnival is planning for good weather at other upcoming events, which includes the Hartford City Heritage Days, the Dillsboro Homecoming Festival, and the Dunkirk Glass Festival.


Bonnie Tripses of D & B Shows says they have been busy with winter quarter work for their 2011 season, which begins the second week of June and runs through October.  D & B Shows has repainted a number of rides and refurbished their Tilt-A-Whirl and slide.  The show has also updated their cotton candy trailer, including new awnings.  In addition to the carnival, the organization also owns a fiberglass shop and has been busy with orders from other carnivals this year.  D & B Shows is based in Lone Tree, Iowa and has been in operation for 35 years.  Early season events include the Farmington Strawberry Festival in Farmington, Iowa and the Riverside, Iowa Trek Fest that celebrates the future birthplace of Star Trek icon, James T. Kirk.


Among new industry products is Checkers Products’ FASTLANE® Drop Over Cable Protectors.  This new cable protector offers added traction with an optional Carpet Kit with VELCRO® brand fasteners and/or anti-slip rubber pads for use on smooth surfaces.  These interlocking cable protectors reduce trip hazards and can be extended to any length.  Find out more at www.cableprotector.com. 


Also new is Cretors’ OriginateAir.  The OriginateAir pops kernels in a steady current of hot air, creating uniform popcorn with very little scrap. A built in sifter removes unpopped and undersized kernels, while a digital control panel allows the operator to set an exact temperature for the best popping efficiency depending on the grade and popcorn used.  The stainless steel popper is a smaller version of Cretors’ original Model 80 Continuous Hot Air Popper, measuring in at 34”D x 59” W x 63” H. Customers can add the Cretors 50 pound Caramelizer for a complete popper and coater combination that creates consistently coated caramel popcorn.  For more information, visit www.cretors.com. 


Fantasy Amusement Company will take delivery of a new KMG Freak Out this June.  The carnival also recently sold their Screamer to McDaniel Brothers Shows in a deal brokered by Rides 4 U.  Read this month’s full article on Fantasy Amusement Company for more information.


Sadly, NICA reports that Mr. Anthony Gordon "Tony" Hill, Sr. age 54 a resident of Auburndale, Florida passed away May 2, 2011 at his residence. Tony was born May 2, 1957 in Winter Haven, Florida to Roy E. and Linda (Phipps) Hill. He was the owner/operator of Florida Food Specialties, a lifetime resident of Polk County. Anthony Hill began his concession about five years ago. He purchased his equipment from Glenn Morrison of Frostproof, Florida, who also worked the Strawberry Festival. He was preceded in death by his mother. Tony is survived by his; son - T.J. Hill of Mulberry, Florida; daughter - Megan Hill of Cummings, Georgia; brother -Mike Hill of Auburndale, Florida; brother - Sam Hill of Lake Alfred, Florida; sister - Angie Hill of Winter Haven, Florida and granddaughter - Autumn Hill.


Please contact Carnival Magazine at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 704-638-0878 if you have information for Midway Talk.  Visit us online at www.carnivalmag.com for more Midway Talk.

4.15.11 Midway Talk

Carnival Magazine sadly reports that Larry Joseph Orme passed away on Friday, March 11.  Larry was the founder and president of Carousel Foods, Inc.    Born July 29, 1938, Larry was 72 when he passed away in Brandon, Florida.  He was also a co-founder of the National Independent Concessionaires Association.  Larry is survived by his wife, Olivia Ruth Miller Orme; his son, Michael Anthony Orme (Diane) of Corydon; his daughter, Cheryl Elaine Orme Reas (Dennis) of Corydon; his grandchildren, Jeremy, Joshua (Beth) and Isaac (Brittany) Orme and Blake (Amy) and Kyle Reas; his great grandchildren, Alexis and Bailey Orme and Abram Reas; his brothers, Melvin, Donald, Dennis, Gary and Randy and his sisters, Bonnie and Patty.


Carnival Magazine contributor Michael Prelesnik informed us that Clara Lee “Charlie” Brott, Ingalls, Elliott, Arnold passed away on February 23, 2011.  Charlie was well known in the amusement industry between the 1960’s and early 1980’s.  She co-owned Ingalls Amusements with her former husband, Robert E. Ingalls.  There she operated the food and helped manage the operation, which traveled throughout Michigan and Indiana.  She also was an office manager for WG Wade Shows during their Michigan route and worked in the office of Elliott Amusements where she owned ride equipment with her former husband James Elliott.  A memorial service is planned for early June, and this information will be made available at a later date.    The family requests that those who desire to make a contribution in memory of Charlie, do so to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Church Street Station, P.O. Box 780, New York, NY  10008-0780.


Helms & Sons Amusements of Colton, CA reported a 15% increase in ticket sales at the 2011 California Mid-Winter Fair and Fiesta.  The event is held in Imperial, CA.  Although Monday, March 7 was closed due to strong winds, the fair still reached 95,514, up 5% from 2010.  On Saturday, March 5, nearly 15,000 people attended the fair, a new single-day record.  Food concessions were up a drastic 17% from last year.


Merriam Midway Shows of Somerset, Texas brought their midway to Bandera County March 17 – March 20 for an event titled the Wild Hog Explosion.  This is the first time the event hosted a carnival and marked the first time in many years that Bandera County hosted a carnival.  The event served as a fundraiser for the local library system.  Among the rides provided by Merriam Midway Shows was a 60-foot Wheel, Bumper Cars, and a new carousel.


A 46- year-old man died after falling 28-feet from a roller coaster at the Houston Livestock Show.  No problems with the Ray Cammack Shows owned Hi-Miler Coaster were found immediately after the incident or in inspections since then.  According to the Rodeo’s chief operating officer, Leroy Shafer, leg restraints and locking mechanisms were not compromised on the car that the man was riding in.  Shafer himself rode in the car after the incident and could not move the leg restraint.  RCS details their own safety and inspection policies on their website: “RCS performs daily computerized ride and equipment inspections using automated maintenance management created by RCS.  Additionally, all rides are inspected during setup and takedown.”    The family of the man has subsequently filed a lawsuit naming the Houston Livestock Show and Ray Cammack Shows.


Amanda Storment has been named vice president of public relations and media for the Kentucky State Fair Board.  She began her new post on March 1 and brings with her thirty years of experience in the field.  Also from the Kentucky State Fair, the fair board has voted to increase admission rates by $2.00.  This is the first rate increase since 2007.  Tickets will now cost $10 for adults and $6 for children and seniors.  The 107th Kentucky State Fair will be held Aug. 18 – Aug. 28 in Louisville.  2010 saw the second highest attendance numbers in four years with more than 600,000.  North American Midway Entertainment provides the midway for the Kentucky State Fair.


The Arkansas State Fair has narrowed a list of proposed fairground sites down to four.  Originally, the board was considering 17 different locations.  The remaining options vary from 450 acres to 827 acres.  State Fair Director, Ralph Shoptow explained the questions the board has to consider: “Is it feasible? Can we afford to move or do we need to stay here and try to operate with what we have?”  The board will meet in June to make a final decision.  The fair is slated for Oct. 14 – Oct. 23 in 2011 and will remain at its current home.  Attendance in 2010 was 472,194.  Deggeller Attractions provides the midway at the Arkansas State Fair.


The Big E (Eastern State Exposition) has named a new Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.  Eugene J. Cassidy of Longmeadow, Massachusetts has been named for the role.  North American Midway Entertainment provides the midway for the Big E.  This year’s exposition will be held Sept. 16 – Oct. 2.


Patty Sullivan of Eli Bridge Company reported that they have nearly completed refurbishments on Beauce Carnaval’s Trailer Mounted Scrambler.  Eli Bridge is also building new seats for the ride.  Beauce Carnaval is based in Quebec.

Worker Dies in Fall During Tear Down

Greensboro Television Station WFMY News 2 reported today that a worker died after falling from the James H. Drew Expositions' Seattle Wheel during tear down after the Greensboro Youth Carnival.  The incident occurred early Monday morning.  A second worker also fell, but no details on his injuries have been released.  The names of both men have not yet been released. 

Aaron Henderson Midway Videos

Featured in the May 2011 issue of Carnival Magazine is an article about artist Aaron Henderson.  Aaron developed a series of multi-channel videos centered around carnival rides and the reactions of riders.  These videos have appeared at screenings and festivals across the country as well as on exhibit at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.

Here are two links to Aaron's work:

Midway by Aaron Henderson (click here)

The Gravitron (click here)