1.18.11 Midway Talk

Jeff Blomsness and Danny Huston have taken ownership of North American Midway Entertainment from The Cypress Group.  Read this month’s article, “A N.A.M.E. Change,” for the full story.


Corky Powers of Powers Great American Midways has informed Carnival Magazine that PGAM has purchased a Skydiver from Jack Fanelli.  The ride has been used less than 40 times.  It will be fitted with LED lights and completely refurbished during winter quarters.  PGAM has also purchased a new ride from Wisdom Industries.   The new ride is entitled “Looney Lagoon.”  It is a spinning coaster and will be on display at the IISF Trade Show in Gibtown.


Powers Great American Midways has also received the contract for the 2011 Danbury City Fair at the Danbury Fair Mall in Connecticut.  2011 marks the 11th year for the Danbury City Fair.  The fair is shifting dates in 2011, from June/July to May 13 through 30.  PGAM’s Dark Blue Unit will provide the midway.


Deggeller Attractions has signed the contract for the York Fair in York, Pennsylvania.  The 2011 edition of the fair will be held September 9 - 18. 


Billy Clark of Smokey Mountain Amusements told Carnival Magazine that he has re-signed all of his carnival’s fair contracts for 2011.  Smokey Mountain Amusements has also re-signed the Drexel Community Fair in North Carolina after a three year absence.  In winter quarters, Smokey Mountain Amusements is busy refurbishing rides including their Steeplechase and Tilt-A-Whirl.  The two refurbished rides will re-join the carnival’s ride line-up in 2011.


Ron Netterfield of Netterfield’s Popcorn & Lemonade Food Concessions reported that all of the company’s canvas is being replaced in time for the 2011 season.  The new canvas, purchased from Waterloo Tent & Tarp of Waterloo, Iowa, will offer a new color scheme for Netterield’s.  The new colors are a mix of green, orange, yellow, and blue, which will all be offset by a white background.  The canvas will replace all of the past canvas, including house trailers, cable covers, and concession stands.  “It was time for a change,” said Vice President Ron Netterfield.  Netterfield’s is also adding a new lemonade concession to their fleet.  Netterfield’s premiered their new canvas and new color scheme at the South Florida Fair in West Palm Beach, January 14 – 30.  Netterfield’s will be at the 2011 Florida State Fair.


The Showmen Club in Gibsonton, Florida (IISA) went on their annual group trip.  This past year they went on a Carnival Cruise “The Dream,” which departed from Port Canaveral in Florida.  The 7-day trip took place December 4 – 11, 2010.  “We went to Nassau Bahamas, St. Thomas, and St. Marten,” says Kim Netterfield.  “The ship was just a year old and very nice.  We had 155 people in our group.”  This was one of the largest groups in recent history.  The theme this year was “Life is Good Cruizin’ with Dr. Feelgood.”  The group had t-shirts made for trip-goers.   The shirts were donated by Marty Pinson.  Working on this year’s trip is incoming IISA President Beau Pugh.  Tickets will be sold at the trade show in Gibtown, February 8 – 12. 


Checkers Industrial Safety Products introduces the new GUARD DOG® CABLE PROTECTORS WITH ADDED TRACTION.  For increased traction, GUARD DOG® Cable Protectors are now available with optional anti-slip rubber pads for use on smooth surfaces. Protect electrical cables and hoses from damage while providing a safe crossing for vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Hinged lid allows easy access to cables/hoses. Easy to setup, disassemble, and store. Visit www.cableprotector.com.


James (Jim) M. Hodson passed away on October 28, 2010.  Jim was born on May 28, 1950 and was an independent concessionaire.  He was a past president of the National Independent Concessionaires Association.  Jim is survived by his wife Melody, mother Thelma Hodson, and children Billy, Mark, Mike, and Zack Hodson.


Available through ECW Press, A.W. Stencell’s Circus and Carnival Ballyhoo: Sideshow Freaks, Jaggers, and Blade Box Queens is available now.  For a century and a half, sideshows adorned the midways of both circuses and carnivals.   Circus and Carnival Ballyhoo: Sideshow Freaks, Jaggers, and Blade Box Queens is a new book from Carnival Magazine contributor A.W. Stencell, a Toronto-resident and ex-circus owner.  He is the foremost authority on the subject of the world’s oddest business.  This follow-up to Stencell’s Seeing is Believing (ECW, 2002) and Girl Show (ECW, 1999) lifts the curtain on sideshows and provides an in-depth history of carnivals and circuses in North America.  Fully indexed, and brimming with rare historical photographs, including many from Stencell’s own private collection, Circus and Carnival Ballyhoo is a fascinating look at the inner workings of the circus and sideshows.  A.W. Stencell was born in Perth, Ontario.  In 1973 he started his own Canadian tent circus; he and his wife toured 135 Canadian towns annually for 11 seasons.  The book is available through Amazon.com and other bookstores and online booksellers for $22.95 U.S./26.95 CDN.


The Grand Island Independent Newspaper has named Cindy Johnson Woman of the Year.  Cindy was instrumental in moving the Nebraska State Fair to Grand Island from Lincoln.  The Nebraska State Fair will take place again in Grand Island in 2011, August 22 – September 5.


The State Fair of Texas reported a record ride gross in 2010 with $16 million taken in.  Among the top ten rides on the independent midway were the Texas Star, Texas Skyway, Steve Vander Vorste’s Crazy Mouse Coaster, Talley’s Super Slide, The fair’s Lady Bug Himalaya, Vander Vorste’s Windstrom Roller Coaster (new), the fair’s Log Ride, Mike Demas’ KMG Rocket (new), Danny England’s Haunted House, and Steve Edens’ Pirate Ship.  There were 73 rides in total.  Also new in 2010 was Bob Hauser’s A.R.M. Vertigo Star food attractions were the Fried Fritos Pie and Fried Beer, which were winners of the Big Tex Choice Awards.  Dates for 2011 State Fair of Texas are set for September 30 – October 23, 2011.



Another record breaker in 2010 was the Arkansas State Fair in Little Rock, AK, held October 8 – 17.  The fair hosted 472,000 attendees, breaking 2008’s record of 467,000.  The Deggeller Attractions midway gross was up 12 percent as well.   The 2011 Arkansas State Fair will be held October 14 – 23.


According to the state news website, Arkansas Online (www.arkansasonline.com) a relocation of the Arkansas State Fair is still being decided upon.  A decision to move the fairgrounds or renovate the current location was planned for December 2010, but has been delayed.  The State Fair has taken place in Little Rock for 70 years.  If the grounds remain on location, renovations are expected to cost $57 million.  Relocation is estimated at $119 million.  Three pieces of property in the Jacksonville area are being considered as new locations for the fairgrounds.  The city is making preparations in case they are awarded the project.


The Glenn County Fair has selected a new Fair Manager for 2011.  Susan Taylor will replace outgoing manager, Jake Walgenbach.  Fair Board Director Trish Saint-Evens reported to the Willows Journal that “[Susan] has experience managing the Nevada State Fair in Reno and working at fairs in Eureka, Red Bluff, Placerville, Oregon, Nevada and at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.”  According to the Willows Journal, Jake Walgenbach is retiring from his position due to health issues.  The 2011 Glenn County Fair in Orland, California will take place May 18 – 22.