January 2016 Midway Talk
Tony Fiori, Vice President of Media and Marketing for Ray Cammack Shows passed away on November 18, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona at the age of 64. Born and raised in Sonoma County, Tony spent many years in the family restaurant business before starting the first water carts on the fair/carnival circuit in the 1980’s . He then joined Ray Cammack Shows where he rose through the ranks to become the Vice President of Media and Marketing. He was on the Board of Directors for the Texas Fairs Association and was the first non-Texan to be asked to be on the board. Tony was also inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Pima County Fair in Tucson, Arizona. Tony's greatest joy was his family, his children, his grandchildren and equally his other carnival family.
The global attractions industry is as dynamic and strong as it has ever been. The tremendous results of IAAPA Attractions Expo 2015 reflect the industry's overall success. More than 32,900 industry professionals from 120 countries explored the innovations on display across the 558,610-net-square-foot trade show floor. The 2015 event is the largest Expo since IAAPA began producing three trade shows around the world and second largest event in the association's history. The weeklong trade show and conference took place November 16-20 in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
Global attractions industry leaders gathered at IAAPA Attractions Expo to experience the future of the industry. More than 21,200 buyers, including attractions industry owners, presidents, general managers, directors, and managers joined with designers and innovators throughout the week to announce new products, test the latest technologies, discuss trends and hot topics, taste new food and beverage options, and learn from leading experts. IAAPA Attractions Expo is the largest conference and trade show for the $39.5 billion global attractions industry and serves as the marketplace of innovation for attractions around the globe. The event is owned and produced by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA).
Marla Calico took over the position of president and CEO of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) from outgoing President & CEO Jim Tucker on January 1, 2016.
"We are pleased and excited Marla is taking over for Jim. We did a very serious national search, conducted several interviews, and are confident Marla is the correct person to take the reins of IAFE at this important time in history," stated 2015 IAFE Chair John Sykes of the East Texas State Fair in Tyler. "There is no doubt she has the knowledge, professionalism, and enthusiasm to move the IAFE to an even higher level."
Ms. Calico joined the IAFE in 2006 as director of education and has served as chief operating officer since 2014. Prior to joining the IAFE professional staff, she served as general manager of the Ozark Empire Fair in Springfield, Missouri. She earned her Certified Fair Executive designation in 1988 and in 2003 she served as chair of the IAFE. She was inducted into the IAFE Hall of Fame in 2012.
The process was led by a Search Committee consisting of the IAFE Executive Committee -- First Vice Chair and Chair of the Search Committee Kent Hojem of the Washington State Fair; IAFE Chair Sykes; Second Vice Chair Becky Brashear of the Maryland State Fair; Past Chair Marlene Pierson-Jolliffe of the State Fair of Virginia; and Past Chair Debbie Dreyfus-Schronk of the San Antonio Livestock Exposition -- and added 30-year fair veteran Jerry Hammer of the Minnesota State Fair and Young Professionals Initiative (YPI) Representative Jessica Underberg of the Erie County Fair (New York). Executive search firm Witt/Kieffer sought leaders from around the world to be considered for the position and presented them to the Search Committee.
According to Hojem, "It was exceedingly critical that an exhaustive search be undertaken for the new IAFE president and CEO. This organization and the fair industry in general will continue to face increasingly complex and diverse issues. The need to identify and engage the best individual to lead this organization into the future was always our primary focus. Marla represents those qualities we deem paramount to insure a successful future for our organization."
Ms. Calico holds a Bachelor's degree in Agri-Business from Missouri State University and throughout her long career at the Ozark Empire Fair served the Springfield community as a volunteer and/or board member of numerous civic organizations. She has been recognized as an Outstanding Young Alumni from Missouri State University and as one of Springfield Business Journal's "Most Influential Women."
The North Carolina State Fair has received three proposals to build a sky ride over the main midway at the fairgrounds in time for next fall’s State Fair. The ride which will carry people in chairs or gondolas strung along cables that run about 1,400 feet from near Gate 8 and the Village of Yesteryear to a point just east of Restaurant Row will serve the dual purposes of giving riders a nice view of the fair, as well as carrying them over the crowds as they go from one end of the midway to the other.
Fair officials had originally hoped to have a sky ride that circled the fairgrounds at this fall’s fair, but potential bidders indicated that scheme was too complicated. Early last month, the state asked for proposals for a simpler ride, with a single leg across the midway.
The companies that made proposals are American Sky Lifts of Sanford, Skyfair Inc. of Contoocook, New Hampshire, and W.G. Wade Shows Inc. and Powers Great American Midways, which submitted a joint proposal.
Hawaii will be the first U.S. state to ban wild performing animals, according to Leap Daily. The move will ban the use of bears, elephants, tigers, primates, rhinos, hippos, hyenas, crocodiles and big cats used for entertainment purposes.
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture board unanimously approved a proposed rule change Tuesday to define "dangerous wild animals" and prohibit the import of them "for exhibition or performance in public entertainment shows such as circuses, carnivals and state fairs," according to The Huffington Post.
"We're hoping of course that Hawaii will set an example for other states to take the next step," said Inga Gibson, Hawaii senior state director for the Humane Society, calling the ban a long time coming. Gibson expects the new law to be in effect in early 2016.
Corky Powers of Powers Great American Midways purchased a new 33 meter (108 foot) Dutch Lamberink Ferris Wheel which is scheduled to ship April 2016. He has also ordered a new Speed ride from KMG. The ride will be ready for delivery in June 2017.
DECEMBER 2015 MIDWAY TALK
Reithoffer Shows is proud to announce that Ricky Reithoffer and Vicki Clime are officially engaged. He popped the question early one morning during a hot air balloon ride in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Rick and Marianne, proud parents of Ricky, already consider Vicki part of their family and are thrilled. Everyone at Reithoffer Shows wishes them a happy and long life together.
Schantz Manufacturing recently built new custom comcession trailers for Kelley Butler, of Butler Amusements, an ice cream trailer for Lee Grigsby, a 25' trailer for Armstrong Shows and a new corndog trailer for Mechelle McKinney.
The International Association of Fairs and Expositions’ (IAFE) contract with The Paris & Bally’s Hotels in Las Vegas for the annual convention and trade show will end in 2017. Last year the Board of Directors authorized the staff to seek requests for proposals from hotel and convention facilities in Las Vegas as well as throughout the United States for consideration for their annual event beginning in 2018.
Unfortunately, only one Las Vegas hotel submitted a bid on the 2018-2019 Convention, and that hotel’s proposed room rate was the highest of all responding hotels in the final review. Additionally, the Association would be subject to penalties of up to $250,000 of members chose to stay in hotels rooms outside the IAFE room block. Finally, the hotel demanded an unreasonable minimum guaranteed expenditure for food and drink at the Convention.
After a long but thorough process, the Association’s Board of Directors authorized the staff to negotiate a contract with the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center and nearby hotels on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas for the 2018 and 2019 events.
The IAFE is now pleased to announce that contracts have been signed and the planning has begun for the Convention to be held in this new site in 2018 and 2019.
A larger than life dark ride known as Daemonium premiered at Munich’s Oktoberfest (September 9 – October 4) this year. The ride was developed by Martin Blume who has been building large attractions for decades. The Daemonium ghost train is a whopping four stories tall with spinning cars and an array of effects. As described in a press release: “In absolute darkness, gruesome living creatures impersonated by trained actors appear and perform monstrous deeds. Ultramodern laser technology and special effects from the USA ensure top-class creeps.” From a bubbling blood bath, to a spinning skull and sword, the exterior of the ride is full of detail. Live performers outside the attraction add that extra touch. At 23 meters in height and 36 meters long in front, the Daemonium is the largest mobile ghost train in the world. It joined three other ghost trains at the Oktoberfest where this style of attraction has been on hand since 1931.
Also new to Oktoberfest this year was Sebastian Kühenmeister’s KMG XXL swing ride themed, Konga. The jungle-styled attraction features 30 theme effects and 70 decorative elements. The top of the ride throws out a giant flame, representing a torch in the jungle. Voodoo masks, tropical volcanoes, a giant gorilla spouting water, and a host of jungle noises all enhance the experience, as does the live transmission video of ride goers that plays for passengers-to-be next in line.
Food Network Canada show Carnival Eats will feature Norfolk County Fair food vendors Elliot Coelho, the owner/chef of Three West Trends Bistro, David’s Restaurant, and Poutine Crazee of Oshawa, season three airs in early 2016.
“This is pretty exciting,” Coelho said. “I was really nervous about this before. But once they got here, everything was great. The crew has been amazing. They really make you feel comfortable because they’re so laid-back and fun.”
To maintain the suspense, Three West Trends, Poutine Crazee and David’s Restaurant cannot divulge what they were showing off for the cameras, but the cast and crew were blown away by what the three vendors had to offer.
“The food was amazing here,” show host Noah Cappe said. “We had a real assortment of things. All three places were awesome. This will be a great episode.”
Jacob Ulrich, a story producer for Carnival Eats, agreed. “It’s hard to compare food from other fairs, but where else do you see some of the things these guys are making?” Ulrich said. “I haven’t seen some of these things before. The vendors here are wonderful to work with. I like how inventive they are.”
Ulrich said the food was so impressive, they submitted more food from the Norfolk County Fair for approval than they usually do.
“There’s a real demand for something like this.” Cappe said. “ For me, my favourite part is seeing the crazy food. That’s what I get excited about. That’s why I love this show. That’s why I’ve really enjoyed my time here at the Norfolk County Fair.”
As for the fair itself, the crew was even more than impressed with what Norfolk had to offer. “This fair is great because it’s like a Swiss Army Knife,” Ulrich said.
Ben Carson and Hillary Clinton were the top choices among people who voted in the Georgia National Fair's Presidential Peanut Poll.
But Donald Trump was a close second on the Republican side of the race, while Democratic voters' second choice was "undecided."
Visitors to the fair got to drop a peanut in a Mason jar, as a vote for their favorite presidential candidate -- or for Undecided. While more than 28,000 people voted in the fair's first-ever straw poll, more than 23,000 of them cast their votes on the Republican side.
In a tight race, they backed Carson, who got 37 percent of the GOP vote, over Trump, who got around 35 percent. Following them, in descending order, were "Undecided," Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, John Kasich, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, Lindsay Graham, Bobby Jindall, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore.
Just over 5,200 people voted on the Democratic side, where Clinton got 48 percent of the vote. "Undecided" drew 22 percent of the votes and Bernie Sanders 18 percent. They were followed in descending order by Jim Webb, Lincoln Chafee and Martin O'Malley.
The Coastal Empire Fair Association has announced that it is committed to doing a fair in the years to come even though the fairgrounds has been bought by the city of Savannah, Georgia. They just need to find a new location.
Bill Gardner, president of the association, said the fair has been going on at this location, just north of DeRenne Avenue, for about 65 years, and they want to keep that tradition going. They decided a while ago to put their land up for sale, and with the city buying the property, they think it's a win-win. The city will turn the 67 acres in the middle of Savannah into retail space, recreational areas, and affordable homes.
“There's a lot of emotion in this sale,” said Gardner. “It's not something we've done lightly. It's been a hard deal for us, but we felt like it was time for us to move out to an area where folks are growing; where there's a growing part of the community."
The fair went as planned this November, from the 5th through the 15th, and
Gardner said they probably will not make any decisions on the location of next year's fair until the end of this year or beginning of next year.
October 2015 Midway Talk
Reithoffer Shows took delivery of a new Music Express at The Riot Fest in Denver, Colorado which ran August 28-30, a new date for Reithoffer Shows, Blue Unit. Manufactured by Wisdom Rides with all LED, hydraulic leveling, and top LED side scenery, this Music Express has all the bells and whistles one can buy on a new Himalaya type ride.
Reithoffer Shows is very excited to add another new Spectacular ride to their extensive inventory. Additionally, the new LED light systems give their guests a beautiful light show on every corner of the midway!
Village Park in Kannapolis, North Carolina, will soon be the home for a double-decker carousel, the only one in North Carolina. Gary Mills, director of the Kannapolis City Parks and Recreation Department, added the carousel to the city’s master plan in 2001 as a part of an emphasis on making Kannapolis a regional recreation destination.
The 1989 Bertazzon Carousel was manufactured in Italy and features 570 lights, Brazilian oak decking, and hand-painted Venetian murals. The thirty foot tall carousel was bought used for $228,000 and sent to be refurbished. Annette Privette Keller, Director of Communications, states, “The $228,000 price tag includes shipping and installation. We understand that if we bought this kind of structure brand new, it would double the price.”
Operation of the carousel will cost an estimated $25,000-$28,000 a year according to Mills. “Most of that would be manpower, but there would be significant utility costs with the lights. Hopefully we can find a good LED manufacturer.”
A 28-year-old woman and her 8-year-old daughter fell about 10 feet from a Zipper operated by Fanelli Amusement Company as they were stepping onto it on August 21 at the Cornish Fair in Cornish, New Hampshire.
New Hampshire Fire Marshal Bill Degnan said his office believes a mechanical issue caused the Zipper to move as a car was being loaded, causing the mother and daughter to fall. "The ride moved. They fell out of the car as they were loading into it," Degnan said.
One of them fell onto a 23-year-old man from Fanelli Amusement Company who was operating the ride. All three had minor injuries for which they were treated and released from local hospitals.
"When you look at the many thousands of people that come in contact with these amusement rides over the course of the summer, there are very few incidents," Degnan said.
Tramway and Amusement Ride Safety inspectors examined the ride again the next morning.
Fanelli Amusement Company did not respond to requests for an interview.
Degnan said the investigation is ongoing. "This is an unfortunate incident, but we will look at it in detail so that we can help prevent these from occurring in the future," Degnan said.
The LA County Fair in Pomona, California, one of the largest and most diverse county fairs in the world, tempted fairgoers throughout Southern California with an array of more than 1,200 different ways to get their fair food fix September 4-27.
Fried-food phenomenon Charles “Chicken Charlie” Boghosian premiered his two new signature foods created for the LA County Fair, Deep-Fried Bacon-Wrapped Chicken and Waffles and Deep-Fried Guacamole with Ranch Dressing. Fairgoers, however, also still enjoyed two other Chicken Charlie creations that debuted earlier – Deep-Fried Peanut Butter Pickle and the ironic Deep-Fried Slim Fast Bar – plus his best-selling fair food item of all time, the Krispy Kreme Triple-Decker Cheeseburger.
Other resident LA County Fair food experts unveiled the Spicy PB&J Burger, a hotter, meatier version of the American classic made with Sriracha sauce as well as a version of Chicken and Waffles in a Waffle Cone.
“The LA County Fair takes its food very seriously, so we knew we wanted something new and amazing that says both L.A. and this year’s ‘Natural High’ theme,” said Boghosian. “Since Angelenos love their chicken and waffles, a deep-fried, bacon-wrapped version seemed like a no-brainer. Meanwhile, the Deep-Fried Guacamole, served with a side of Ranch Dressing and resembling a cupcake, could be the next LACF classic.”
For 2015 more than 60 different food vendors of the LA County Fair offered every possible deep-fried, on-a-stick, ooey-gooey, barbecued and dipped-in-chocolate creation imaginable plus vegetarian, organic and gluten-free options including many farm-to-table items grown locally.
“With a footprint bigger than the Iowa and Texas State Fairs in one of the country’s most populated counties, there are a lot of palates to satisfy,” says Michelle DeMott, VP of Branding & Knowledge Management for the LA County Fair.
Menu items ranged from hundreds of kinds of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, sausages, sandwiches, tacos, pizzas and complete combo meals to Mexican, Italian, Asian and Greek food to L.A.’s world-famous fusion food trucks to every conceivable form of candy, snack food and dessert.
Other 2015 highlights included the Bacon Wrapped Pork Belly; Frosted Flake Fried Chicken; the Koolickle, a Kool-Aid-infused pickle; Deep-Fried Nachos; Deep-Fried Nutella; the Tajin Candy Apple, seasoned with the tangy Mexican spice; and the Affogato Ice Cream Sundae.
“Of course, this being L.A., there were also hundreds of healthy options ranging from salads, wraps and smoothies to sushi, lean protein choices, produce and rice bowls, and the freshest fruit and vegetables, much of it grown right here on the property,” explained DeMott. “Contrary to popular belief, it was possible to eat healthy at the LA County Fair.”
Selfie sticks were banned from the carnival rides at the 2015 Indiana State Fair which ran August 7-23.
“Like other loose items, we asked riders to either leave it with a friend or set it aside before getting on the ride,” said Amy Girton, Director of Communications for North American Midway Entertainment, which operated the carnival.
According to Girton the sticks were grounded for safety reasons and if workers spotted one in use, they were to put the brakes on the thrill ride. “Our No. 1 priority is safety. We will stop any ride if something poses a safety hazard to our guests,” she said.
The retractable poles hold a smartphone and extend several feet, allowing the user to snap a self-portrait from a distance farther than arm’s reach. But amusement officials say they could fly loose on a ride and injure someone or get caught in a ride’s machinery.
Girton said Midway’s policy has been in place since May, and no incidents have been reported at its other carnivals.
The poles were allowed on the rest of the fairgrounds, said Lesley Gordon, a fair spokeswoman. The policy stopped short of the one at Walt Disney, which banned them from all its theme parks, including Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California.
Visitors to the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum in North Tonawanda, New York will have the opportunity to experience a new exhibit opened to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Herschell Company.
While Museum Director, Rae Proefrock noted that over the years there were four factory locations, the museum site at 180 Thompson Street was the last company. “It’s a pretty inclusive exhibit and it demonstrates the company has been in continuous existence since 1915, although they left North Tonawanda in 1959,” she said.
At one time on of the largest employers in North Tonawanda, the Allan Herschell Company moved to Buffalo after it left North Tonawanda and was sold to Chance Manufacturing, a rival maker of amusement rides in the early 1970s. Chance maintained a Herschell Carrousel Division in Wichita, Kansas, until 1998. According to Proefeck, when that Chance placed the company up for auction, the museum formed a business that bought the division and brought it back to North Tonawanda, at an offsite location, where it continues to sell parts for Herschell rides operating around the country.
“The workers of the time really did beautiful work,” commented Proefrock, “but did not understand at the time that they were creating American treasures. That’s really what they are now.”
On October 3 the museum will hold a 100th anniversary party celebration, including a wood carver demonstration, a chance to meet the exhibit curators, tours of the museum and, of course, cake and rides.
“It really is a museum,” Proefrock reiterated. “People are so used to thinking of it as a place for children to ride. They look at the exhibits, but that’s not the first thing that comes to their minds. Our outside visitors, who come from out of the area and out of the state, they really understand and appreciate it as a museum.”
November 2015 Midway Talk
November 2015 Midway Talk
It was retirement day for Navy Pier’s Giant Wheel in Chicago, Illinois. Navy Pier is one of the Midwest’s most visited attractions, and while the shopping, dining, and entertainment are all draws, a ride on the lakefront, 150-foot high wheel was a must-do for pier guests. The ride was built by Vekoma, a Dutch company. It was installed in 1995 and has been enjoyed by tens of millions of riders since then. According to the Chicago Tribune, around 30,000 people gathered to take one last trip on the wheel during its final weekend in operation. It closed on Sunday, September 27 with the first stages of its teardown beginning the next day. Negotiations on its sale are nearly complete, but the likely buyer has not been disclosed. A new Giant Wheel will open at Navy Pier in mid-2016—it will be nearly 50 feet taller than the previous one.
Wright's Amusements based in Elbert, Colorado is being sued by the family of a woman killed last year while working on a ride at the Texas Rice Festival. The petition filed by April Corley’s family for gross negligence and wrongful death claims the company failed to properly train its workers and neglected to replace an inside support brace that snapped, causing a wing of the Monster Trucks ride to fall on Corley.
The lawsuit accuses Wright's Amusement, which owns a carnival with more than 40 rides traveling across the southern part of the country, of providing an unsafe work environment.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Wright's Amusements $12,400 for violations related to the September 24, 2014 incident. The company has denied any wrongdoing.
Rick Larson, owner of Larson Amusements, brought back the Derby Races game started by his family to the Caruthers District Fair in Caruthers, California this October 1-4. This will be the final appearance of the game which started at Caruthers in 1970 and appeared until 2009. The game is returning in celebration of 50 years of Larson Amusements, the family-owned carnival which began touring in 1950.
Larson’s parents began running one derby race in 1965, and Larson began announcing the races for his parents’ game when he was ten. Since the 1970’s Larson Amusements has made the metal horses which were the giveaway prizes for the winners of the races. They continue to make the horses as special collector’s items.
Larson went on to start American Traveling Amusements which is now owned by his son. Larson now spends his time building different carnival attractions such as a “Jurassic Park” type dinosaur ride which will also make an appearance in Caruthers. According to Larson, it is the only one of its kind in the United States.
Attendance at the Houston County Fair in Tennessee which ran September 16-19 was down by at least 1,500 visitors mostly due to the fact that it did not feature carnival rides for the first time in nine years. Maple Leaf Amusements, a Michigan based carnival, did not show up to provide the rides for the fair. Fair officials discovered the company also did not show up for a fair the previous week in Decatur County.
According to Robin Freeman, the Fair Board manager, “Maple Leaf did not take our calls at first, and when we did talk to them, they said they had generator problems. We offered to rent a generator for them, but they said they did not have the money to make the trip so we offered to pay them. Finally, they said they were not coming.”
The Fair Board then discovered Maple Leaf Amusements was set up in a Kmart parking lot in Athens, Tennessee.
This was the first year for Maple Leaf to provide the midway for the Houston County Fair. While the Fair Board had no issues with last year’s provider, Playland, the company had declined to sign a contract.
The Oregon State Fair has contracted new Portland-based Rainier Amusements to provide carnival operations beginning next year.
The state fair has announced that it has severed its nearly forty year partnership with Funtastic Shows and signed a new deal with Rainier Amusements, which launched in 2014.
State fair spokesman Dan Cox said officials pursued a new deal because of a scheduling conflict with Funtastic Shows, which also provides carnival operations for the Washington State Fair.
Specific details for Rainier Amusement's debut at next year's state fair have not yet been announced, but several new rides are expected to be introduced.
The 2016 state fair is scheduled to begin August 26.
September Midway Talk Pg 2 2015