Midway Talk from the November Issue

Midway Talk

President of A.R.M. Rides, Mike Gill, reports that the company has purchased a High Definition CNC Plasma/Oxy cutting system that allows the ride manufacturer to cut profiled steel components for fabrication and incorporate new uses of their 3D CADD design software in the form of custom artistic scenery panels.  “In 2012 we have made deliveries of our newly themed Rock Star and Flying Dutchman to Ray Cammack Shows, Rockwell Amusements, Ottaway Amusements, Murray Brothers Inc., Dixieland Carnival Co., and Powers Great American Midways,” states Mike.  “We have also had continued success with our Super Shot drop tower and Vertigo Swing Tower with customers such as Beech Bend Amusement Park, Dreamland Amusements, Mike Safie-Eminsa, and N.A.M.E.”  The ride manufacturer has also been busy with refurbishment and re-theming projects: “In all of our rides we have made a commitment to using digitally printed vinyl wraps on most of our scenery panels and bally clothes…We have worked closely with Chuck Wheeler and his team from Amusement Wraps to develop the very popular Rock Star and Flying Dutchman Themed Ali Baba and Full Tilt.  Not only has this lead to a revived interest in a past favorite of many carnival owners, it has also allowed us to offer a great refurbishment option to our present Ali Baba ride owners.  In addition to theme refurbishments A.R.M. can also replace existing DC drive systems with a newly designed A/C frequency drive and motor.  “The new A/C drive system offers greater reliability, higher efficiency, and less costly motor repairs,” states Mike.

A new attraction is set for construction in New York City.  Plans are in place to build a 625-foot, $230 million amusement wheel on Staten Island.  The wheel will be the tallest of its kind and offer views of the Statue of Liberty and downtown Manhattan.

Gold Star Amusements provided the midway at the Steele County Free Fair in Owatonna, MN.  The event ran from August 14 – 19 and welcomed a 5 percent increase in attendance this year with 321,926 patrons visiting the event.  Midway revenue was also up this year with a 20 percent increase compared to 2011.  Gold Star provided 40 rides.  The top rides included a Freak Out, Century Wheel, Alpine Bobs, Muzik Express, Remix II, Carousel, and Monkey Maze.

Sadly, Elmer Reseland who retired as fair manager of the Steele County Fair passed away on August 17.  Elmer managed the fair for 18 years, retiring in 2011.  The fair board, concessionaires, midway staff, and fair patrons participated in a moment of silence on Saturday, August 18 in tribute to Elmer.

Gold Star Amusements also provided the midway at the 2012 South Dakota State Fair in Huron, SD.  The event ran from August 30 – September 3.  Total attendance reached 192,790, an increase of 1 percent from 2011.  Fair revenue increased 10 percent.

Top five rides at the 2012 Wisconsin State Fair were led by S.J. Entertainment’s Windstorm Rollercoaster followed by the Alpine Bobs (Blake’s Concessions), Freak Out (Poor Jack Amusements), Starship 3000 (Lazer Fair, Inc.), and Cliffhanger (Playworld Amusements).  Sky Attractions’ two new KMG attractions, the Fun Factory and the Stratosphere, came in at six and seven.  As reported in last month’s magazine, attendance at the WI State Fair hit 920,962—a two percent increase over 2011.

Battech Enterprises of Salem, Oregon delivered a Cliff Hanger to Archway Amusements during the 2012 season.  Also during the season, City of Fun Carnival took delivery of a new Zero Gravity from Battech Enterprises.  See this month’s article on the IAAPA Attractions Expo for more information on Battech’s upcoming ride, Hog Rally.

West Coast Amusements took delivery of a Majestic Charlie Hopper during the 2012 season.  The new ride traveled with WCA to the State Fair of Texas in Dallas along with the show’s Ring of Fire and Zero Gravity.

The Puyallup Fair in Puyallup, Washington drew 1,117,323 people in 2012—58,141 more than last year.  The event ran from September 7 – 23.  Funtastic Shows provided the fair’s midway.  The fair will operate under the new name of Washington State Fair beginning in 2013.  Dates for the 2013 Washington State Fair are September 6 – 22.

The Great Lakes State Fair, which ran from August 31 – September 3, recorded its first edition with an attendance of over 50,000 fairgoers.  The Detroit-area event was produced to fill the void left by the Michigan State Fair, which has not operated since 2009.  Arnold Amusements provided the midway with nearly 30 rides.  Organizers have already begun planning next year’s edition of the event.

Butler Amusements reports that attendance was up at the Eastern Idaho State Fair in Blackfoot.  The event ran from September 1 – 8 and welcomed 224,000 fairgoers compared to 219,000 in 2011.

The 2012 Indiana State Fair concluded its 17-day run with a total attendance of about 800,000 people.  North American Midway Entertainment provided 47 rides on the State Fair’s midway including their Crazy Mouse Coaster, Drop Tower, White Water Flume Ride, and an A.R.M. Vertigo that made its debut at the event.  N.A.M.E. reports an increase of 4 percent in revenue at this year’s event.

The annual IAFE Convention and Trade Show will be held November 25 – 29 at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Among the events this year will be the new educational programming, Tech Tidbits.  These fifteen-minute sessions will cover useful bits of information about the use of technology within the fair and amusement industry.  Subjects include: Social Media Pitfalls, Google Analytics, YouTube, Surveys, and iPads at the Fair.

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Midway Talk from the October 2012 Issue

Midway Talk


KMG Rides reports that Ray Cammack Shows has ordered an Inversion set for delivery in May of 2013. KMG also reports that Fiesta Shows has ordered a new X-Factory set for delivery in August 2013. This model X-Factory will be a new style with tilting seats and 18 water jets. While touring the Eastern United States and Canada with Len Soled of Rides-4-U, KMG’s Peter Theunisz noted that several carnival and park owners have expressed interest in the ride manufacturer’s new “green technology” ride, the XLR8. Back in Europe, KMG delivered their new ride model named Sicko to French showman, Mr. Lerendu. The new piece is similar to a Fire Ball, but is 100 feet tall and has rotating seats (motor driven). A second Sicko is sold to Mr. Maier of Switzerland and will be delivered in July 2013.

City of Fun Carnival, Inc. took delivery of a new Zero Gravity in time for their Labor Day Celebration in Payson, Utah. “We are thrilled with this ride and know it will be a great addition to our midway,” said Pam Zoeller, VP and General Manager for the show. City of Fun Carnival is based in Pleasant Grove, Utah.

PBJ Happee Day Shows of Marion, Arkansas took delivery of a new Wisdom Himalaya on the first of July. See this month’s Direct from the Lots for a photo of the new piece alongside Victor Wisdom of Wisdom Mfg. with the Casper family—Pam, Tim, and Cody.

The OABA is now accepting applications for Directors and Hall of Fame nominations. Applications and nomination forms are available by visiting the OABA website at www.oaba.org or by contacting their office at 800-517-6222.

Also from OABA, Carnival Priest John Vakulskas Jr., is hosting an 11 day “Italy Pilgrimage” trip November 5 – 15, 2012. There are seats available on a first come first served basis. For more information please contact Fr. John at 712-754-3311 or visit www.carnivalpriest.com.

Attendance doubled compared to 2011 at the Surry County Fair in Mt. Airy, North Carolina. Inners Shows provided the midway at the 65th annual Surry County Fair. The event ran from Sunday, August 26 – Saturday, September 1, about a month earlier than it is traditionally held. The final numbers had not yet been tallied, it is estimated that over 15,000 fairgoers had attended the event, not counting the last evening. Officials will decide soon if they are returning to the traditional dates next year or keeping the same timeline as 2012, but extending the fair through Labor Day Monday.

The Minnesota State Fair concluded on Labor Day Monday, September 3 with a total attendance of 1,788,512. The busiest day was Saturday, September 1 when 226,863 people attended the fair, which began on Thursday, August 23. Last year’s total attendance reached 1,769,872.

The Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island saw attendance rise for a third consecutive year. The 2012 event hosted 336,986 fairgoers, which is up 1.2 percent from last year and 9 percent from 2010. The Nebraska State Fair ran from Friday, August 24 – Monday, September 3. Belle City Amusements provided the midway. A permanent sky ride premiered this year and was provided by Wade Shows. Wade Shows will be the midway provider for the 2013 Nebraska State Fair.

At the Illinois State Fair total attendance reached 918,875, a thirteen percent increase from last year. It is also the highest number of attendees since 2002. This year’s edition ran from Thursday, August 9 – Sunday, August 19. North American Midway Entertainment provided the midway. The 2013 Illinois State Fair will run from Thursday, August 8 – Sunday, August 18.

Congratulations to Melissa and Robert Blomsness who are now the proud parents of Teagan Brook Blomsness. Teagan was born on August 4 weighing 7 lb., 8oz., and was 20 ½ inches long. Very happy grandparents include Guy and Charlene Leavitt and Jeff and Patti Blomsness.

Also from NAME, Justin and Candice Peperak became parents to Kiara C Peperak on July 24. Kiara weighed 7 lbs., 14 oz. and was 21 inches long.

In Memoriam:

David A. Norton passed away at the age of 63 on August 18, 2012. David owned and operated Norton Auctioneers in Coldwater, Michigan for over forty years. He was a world famous auctioneer, conducting over 4,000 auctions in 44 states and several foreign countries. David was one of the few auctioneers licensed in every state. He was past president of the Michigan State Auctioneer Association, National Past President of the Showmen League of America, and 10 year director of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association. He belonged to the Tampa Showmen’s Club, International Association of Fairs and Expositions among other organizations. David is survived by his wife Christine.

Veteran concessionaire Paul Dell passed away on July 25 at the age of 85. Paul is survived by his wife of 62 years, Beryl. He served as IISA President and as a trade show chairman in Gibsonton, Florida. He was also a member of the Showmen’s Shrine Association.

Well-known sideshow performer Little Pete Terhurne, also known as Poobah, passed away on July 30, 2012. Little Pete was 84. In addition to spending many years with Ward Hall and Chris Christ, Pete was also a cast member in The Wizard of OZ.

Lester Colegrove of Sarasota Amusement Inc. informed Carnival Magazine that is wife, Leslie Treat Colegrove, passed away on Monday, August 13. Leslie was 64 years old. She was associated with Lamar Amusements and L & L Amusement Rides in addition to Sarasota Amusements. Lester and Leslie had been married five years.

David A. Norton Passes Away

Carnival Magazine sadly reports that David A. Norton passed away on August 18, 2012.  For more information on services and his complete obituary, please click here.

Midway Talk from September Issue

Midway Talk

After a cancelled fair in 2011, the North Dakota State Fair has returned with surge in 2012. In fact, the fair is on track to break their overall attendance number set in 2010. According to the Associated Press, “…almost 120,000 people attended the first three days [this year]. That’s more than the 2010 pace, a year when a record 308,641 people went through the gates.” The 2012 fair ran from July 20 – 28 in Minot, ND. A flooded river caused the cancellation of the fair in 2011. The midway is provided by Murphy Bros. Expositions.

Mighty Thomas Carnival of Austin, Texas took delivery of a Zamperla Surf’s Up in July. It is one of only two such rides in the United States, and the only one on a traveling show. Surf’s Up debuted at the West Otter Tail County Fair in Fergus Falls, Minnesota July 18 – 21.

Corky Powers of Powers Great American Midways told Carnival Magazine that the show took delivery of a new Wisdom Genesis in July. Also arriving in time for the Montgomery County Fair in Gaithersburg, Maryland August 10 – 18 is a new information booth provided by Denny’s Electronics. The show will take delivery of a new ARM Rock Star as well as 10 new ticket booths from Midway Stainless Fabricators at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh, October 11 – 21. PGAM will also take delivery on 4 new Gull Wing Generators.  

As the Calgary Stampede celebrated its 100th anniversary it also recorded its highest attendance record in history with 1.4 million fairgoers attending the July 6 – 15 event. The previous record was set in 2006 with about 147,000 less in attendance than in 2012. North American Midway Entertainment provides the midway at the Calgary Stampede. See last month’s issue for a full story on N.A.M.E. at the Stampede.

Butler Amusements provided the midway for the 100th edition of the Alameda County Fair. A record 534,557 people attended the event, which broke the previous record attendance mark by 18 percent. The previous record was just set last year with 452,747 in attendance. The event ran from June 20 – July 8 (closed Mondays). New rides this year included Butler’s White Water Flume Ride. The five-trailer spectacular piece made its debut on the Butler midway earlier this year at the Merced County Spring Fair in Los Banos, CA. The ride was acquired from an amusement park and completely refurbished by Butler Amusements prior to the 2012 season.

Christina Lochmiller, a 32-year-old woman from Roseville, California broke the record for longest ride on Butler Amusement’s Eli Bridge Eagle 16 Ferris Wheel at the California State Fair. She began her attempt on Monday morning, July 26 and concluded 26 hours, 43 minutes, and 46 seconds later without sleep. The record was short lived as radio disc jockey, Robbie Gibson, followed up with a 30 hour, 35 second stint on the same ride. Both feats were recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records. The California State Fair ran from July 12 – 29 in Sacramento. Butler Amusements provided 68 rides at the event.

Also making news at the California State Fair was the world’s largest cocktail. The 10,500 gallon margarita included 2,100 gallons of Jose Cuervo tequila as well as copious amounts of margarita mix, ice, water, and lime juice. A total of four gallons of Cointreau was also used. The drink, called Calarita, was provided by Nick Nicora of Ovations Food Servcies. After the drink was recorded by the Guinness Book of World Record, the concessionaire began selling portions of the cocktail on the fairgrounds. Samples of the Calarita could be purchased along with a souvenir cup.

Helms & Son’s Carnival saw record attendance at the Santa Barbara County Fair in Santa Maria, California when 161,000 fairgoers attended the July 11 – 15 event. This was the second consecutive year of record attendance for the Santa Barbara County Fair. This was the 121st edition of the fair.

Skinner’s Amusements of Crystal Lake, Illinois provided the midway for the 84th time at the Lake County Fair in Grayslake, IL, July 25 – 29. The show offered new rides this year including a Slide and Baja Buggy. They also provided their Eli 16 Ferris Wheel with new Maxtron LEDs.

Playworld Amusements of Alma, Michigan returned to the Ionia Free Fair in Ionia, MI, July 19 – 28. The event was cancelled in 2011 due to heavy rains and nearby flooding. This year Playworld provided 36 rides at the fair including new pieces such as a Remix, Rave, funhouse, the new Dalton Tractor ride (Down on the Farm), and another Dalton piece.  

The Nebraska State Fair is beefing up their marketing campaign and budget in the month leading up the event. According to the Lexington Clipper-Herald, the fair board agreed to allocate an additional $30,000 into their marketing budget. The funds will promote a State Fair Fan Club and phone app. The 2012 Nebraska State Fair runs from August 24 – September 3 in Grand Island, Nebraska. Belle City Amusements will provide the midway this year. Wade Shows has been announced as the midway provider beginning in 2013; they are also installing a Sky Ride on the State Fairgrounds that will be open this year.

The Big Kahuna Donut Dog is coming to the New York State Fair in Syracuse, NY August 23 – September 3. The midway food item consists of a bacon-wrapped hot dog sandwiched inside of a maple glazed long john donut. The New York State Fair midway is provided by James E. Strates Shows.

The Wisconsin State Fair introduced their new independent midway themed, Spin City. This is the first year the state fair has hosted an independent midway. About 24 providers offered over 50 rides at the August 2 – 12 event in West Allis, WI. Premiering at the event will be Sky Attractions new KMG pieces, the Fun Factory and Stratosphere. The Stratosphere is the tallest portable chain swing ever made, reaching 214-feet in the air. It is the only one of its kind in the United States. Look for a full report from the Wisconsin State Fair in next month’s magazine.

Leslie Treat Colegrove Passes

Lester Colegrove of Sarasota Amusement Inc. informed Carnival Magazine that is wife, Leslie Treat Colegrove, passed away on Monday, August 13.  Leslie was 64 years old.  She was associated with Lamar Amusements and L & L Amusement Rides in addition to Sarasota Amusements.  Lester and Leslie had been married five years.  Our sympathies go out to Lester and all of Leslie's friends and family.