Midway Talk – December 22, 2009

Elaine B. Wisdom, 78 of Sterling, Colorado died Sunday, December 20, 2009 at her home.  Funeral services will be held Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 10:00 AM at Christ United Methodist Church.  Burial will follow at Riverside Cemetery.  Elaine is survived by her son, Victor Wisdom and wife Mai, daughter Carol Silvey and husband Russ, grandchildren Vanessa Davis, Jared Davis and Bryan Wisdom, great-grandchildren Randall and Joshua Anderson.  She was preceded in death by her husband Jerry Wisdom, mother Hazel Osborn and father Alfred Osborn.
Memorials may be made to the Jerry and Elaine Wisdom Memorial Fund for Children, in care of Chaney-Reager Funeral Home, 443 South 2nd St., Sterling, CO 80751.
The Just Dance competition fund-raiser held at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas at the annual IAFE convention was won by Mike Williams and Amber Swedgan of North American Midway Entertainment.  Amber and Mike won with the highest judges’ scores as well as the most popular votes.  The event was held as a fund-raiser for the OABA Duke Smith Memorial Education Fund and the Showmen’s League of America Scholarship fund.

New officers elected for the Showmen’s League of America are as follows:  President – Mike Featherston of Goldstar Amusements; First Vice President – Rich Byrum of Butler Amusements; Second Vice President – Mary Chris Piche of Allied Specialty Insurance; Third Vice President – Chris Atkins of Mighty Thomas Shows;  Treasurer – John Hanschen of Mighty Thomas Shows;  Executive Secretary – Rich Byrum and Secretary Emeritus – Bob Drewke.

Five hundred plus carnival executives and employees attended the IISA Welcome Home Party at the association’s headquarters located in Gibsonton, Florida.  Dave Hanson reported that this was the largest gathering of “show folks” in three years.

Frank Zaitshik of Wade Shows, Inc. told Carnival that he has purchased a Zamperla Frog Hopper 16, a Reverchon Himalaya from Blue Grass Shows and will be refurbishing it at winter quarters.  He has also purchased three bunk-houses from Recreation By Design.

Father John Vakulskas and Patti Goloskie were part of a U.S. delegation that addressed the National Directors of the Pastoral Care of Circus and Carnival People at the Vatican in Rome.  Father Vakulskas is a priest who has two parishes in Sioux City, Iowa and uses most of his vacation time to minister to carnival people.  Patti Goloskie is a carnival food manager from Ft Lauderdale, FL.

Carol Silvey of Wisdom Industries reported to Carnival that Majestic Midways owned by Jake Inners has purchased a Wisdom Himalaya, that Frank Zaitshik of Wade Shows has purchased a Wisdom Sizzler, John’s Incredible Pizza has purchased a Wisdom Tornado and that Jack Vallee of Beauce Carnival bought a Monster Truck.

The Calgary Stampede and North American Midway Entertainment have signed another five-year contract extending their partnership through 2014.  NAME and the former Conklin Shows have been the midway providers since 1975.

Butler Amusements has purchased an Orbiter and a Musik Express from an amusement part located next to the Seattle Center.

Midway Talk – December 10, 2009

After an investigation by the New York Attorney General, Dreamland Amusements has agreed to settle a complaint on behalf of H-2B employees for $325,000.  Dreamland neither admitted nor denied the charges of making false statements to the State of New York regarding violations of the wage and hour law and treating Mexican workers in a disparate manner from domestic workers but agreed to the settlement anyway.  The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour.

The “Heartbreaker” manufactured by Mondial and previously owned by Jane Baxter Vivona has been sold to Marcel Menges of Warendorf, Germany. Vivona had returned the ride to the manufacturer after owning it for two years.  The “Heartbreaker” appeared as a loan unit on a number of Belgian fairgrounds in late summer and has recently also been presented by the manufacturer at the EAS exhibition in Amsterdam.

The dates for the Central Florida Fair in Orlando have been moved up to February 25 – March 7.  The dates for the Strawberry Festival are March 4 – 14 so there will be some overlapping of days.  The Florida State Fair will run from February 4 – 15.

Chris and Allison Walden have announced the birth of a daughter, Hadleigh Reese Walden on December 8, 2009.  Hadleigh weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces and was 19.5 inches long.

Rides4U reported to Carnival that as a result of the IAAPA show they have many new orders from parks, carnivals, indoor entertainment centers and fun centers from foreign countries.  Mona Doligosa said that they have written two new contracts for the Drop ‘N’ Twist Tower.  Additionally, they sold an SBF/VISA Puppy Love to Beauce Carnival of Canada, 2 Mini Jets to the World’s Greatest Shows, a Fun Forest Galleon to Oscar’s Amusements, a Tornado to A & P Enterprises, an LED lighting package for a New Entrance for Butler’s Amusements and a Chance Century Wheel lighting package to a park in Mexico.

Midway Talk – November 19, 2009

The Georgia National Fair’s 20th edition in Perry, Georgia resulted in an attendance of 416,709.  That was 9,573 over last year’s figures.  The October 8 through 18, 2009 fair set four daily attendance records and attracted the convention of the Future Business Leaders of America, which brought around 8,000 high-school youths to the grounds on Thursday, October 15th.  Reithoffer Shows has provided the midway for every fair since its beginning in 1988.  The 2010 fair will run from October 7th through October 17th .

One of the most famous amusement parks in America, Coney Island, is being revitalized by the City of New York.  The city has purchased the land and its investment in the park is expected to be in the multi-millions.  The Coney Island Development Corporation will be in charge of the project and is expected to have the park completed by May of 2010.

At the IAAPA Expo in Las Vegas gave its “Best New Product Award” to S&S Worldwide of Logan, Utah for its Free Fly Rollercoaster.  The best new Kiddie Ride award was given to Extreme Engineering of Newcastle, California for its Extreme Air Single Jumper.

The IAAPA awarded its Lifetime Service Award to Roland Koch, its Outstanding Service Award to Colin Dawson and its Meritorious Service Award to Tim Sorge.

Alan Exum of Century 21 announced that they are currently in the process of moving their winter quarters from Corpus Christi to Stockdale, Texas, a small town 30 miles southeast of San Antonia.  Numerous break-ins and losses of equipment at the Corpus Christi facility prompted the move.

The IAAPA announced on November 17th that Chip Cleary would be the new Chairman of the Board of the IAAPA for 2010.

The IAAPA International Charity Golf Tournament raised $45,000 for “Give Kids The World” charity program.  The GKTW creates dreamlike experiences for children with life-threatening illnesses.

Midway Talk – December 4, 2009

The Orange County, California Board of Supervisors have asked Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to cancel the sale of the Orange County Fairgrounds. The state, in order to maximize the profit from the sale, has indicated that the fairgrounds would be sold to “anyone” and not necessarily as a fairgrounds. The Supervisors are afraid that the land could fall into private hands and developed.

Attendance at the Arizona State Fair in Phoenix, October 16 – November 8, reached 961,000, a decrease of around 130,000 from the 2008 figures. Fair organizers indicated that the numbers were ok, but Guy Leavitt, of Ray Cammack Shows was not pleased at all, indicating that there was not enough advertising to the Hispanic community, which makes up a majority of the population. Guy also placed some of the blame on the state for increasing the entrance fee and parking fees.

Chestnut Identity Apparel, usually known for supplying clothing, hats and other apparel is adding LED lights to its inventory. Officials indicated that the company had been using LED lights on their hats for years so selling the lights for carnival rides will be nothing new.

The Greater Jacksonville Florida Fair finished up over 2008 at the November 4 – 15 event in spite of 3 days of rain. Attendance was helped on opening day with a $2 gate, $2 rides and a $10 POP ride wristband. Admission for other days was $8 for adults, $6 for children and free admission for those five and under. The usual POP charge was $20 during the week and $25 on weekends. Belle City Shows provided the midway.

Attendance at the Louisiana State Fair, Shreveport was down only a little from the 2008 figures, although they had three days of monsoon-like weather. Around 400,000 fairgoers attended. Lowery Carnival Company and Crabtree Amusements provided the midway. Gate admission was $8 or $5 in advance. Lowery had POP unlimited ride wristbands for $24 including admission, otherwise, unlimited wristbands were $25 not including admission, or $28 including gate admission.

Approximately 24,000 people attended the IAAPA Attractions Expo in Las Vegas from November 16 – 20 including 14,700 buyers from 108 countries, representing an increase of 17% over the 2008 figures at the convention in Orlando, FL. This was the 91st IAAPA Expo convention.

Sellner Manufacturing Company of Faribault, MN has added a 12th version of their ever-popular tub ride. The new ride, that has not yet been named, will make its debut sometime in 2010. Tovah Sellner reported that their Tilt-A-Whirl continues to be a good seller and that she was very happy with the results of the IAAPA show.

Mrs. Shirley Brinkley, Mother of Bob Brinkley of Brinkley Entertainment passed away on Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at her residence. She is survived by her son Bob and his wife Bess of Walnut Cove, her sister, Betty Baldwin and husband Bob of Hillsville, Virginia and many nieces and nephews.

Midway Talk – November 12, 2009

Joe Bolchoz, Public Relations Chairman for The Coastal Carolina Fair near Charleston, S.C. reported total paid attendance of 231,272 for the 2009 fair, representing an increase of about 9,000 over last year.   Concessions were up by as much as 20% over prior years and the ride gross was up by 1.8%. A total of 45,000 people attended the entertainment shows.

Freddy Miller of Miller Spectacular Shows of Greenbrier, Arkansas bought a Majestic X-Scream from Windy City Shows, an Eclipse from McDonagh and a Zierer Wave Swinger, which is being refurbished in winter quarters.

The Georgia National Fair in Perry, Georgia produced a record attendance of 416,709 for the October 8 – October 18 event.  Reithoffer Shows provided the midway.

The New York State Department of Labor is now requiring that employers notify all new hires in writing of their hourly rate, overtime rate and payday dates and receive an acknowledgement in writing of such notification.

Five days of rain caused the South Carolina State Fair in Columbia to show a decrease in attendance of 4 % from the 2008 figures.  Concession gross was also down by 4 % and the ride gross for North American Midway Entertainment was down by 8 % to $2,606,839.

Five days of rainy weather out of the eleven days at the Topsfield, Massachusetts Fair caused the attendance to decrease by 80,000 from 2008’s figure of 482,000.

The James E. Strates Shows’ midway gross was up by 6.25% at the Dixie Classic Fair in Winston-Salem, N.C. in spite of three days of rain.  Total attendance was 321,728 for the October 2 – 11 event.  Strates has held the contract for the Dixie Classic for the past 46 years.

Chance Ride Manufacturers has refurbished Zippers for both Talley’s Amusements of Fort Worth, Texas and West Coast Amusements of Langley, British Columbia.

The State Fair of Virginia was held September 24 through October 4, 2009 at its new Meadow Event Park site north of Richmond.  A total of 247,958 patrons attended the event, representing an increase of 2.4% over the 2008 attendance.  The new site, about twenty miles north of Richmond, was chosen to attract a larger crowd from Fredericksburg, Prince William and Stafford counties.

The Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul set a new attendance record of 1,790,497 for the August 27 – September 7 event, eclipsing the old record set in 2008 by 27,521.  The record turnout was attributed to twelve days of beautiful weather.  Among the major ride attractions was Zamperla’s Sky Flyer owned by Reithoffer Shows, Reverchon’s Crazy Mouse owned by S.J. Entertainment and KMG’s X-Treme owned by Demas Enterprises.

The city of Nashville, Tennessee has announced that the city will stop putting on the Tennessee State Fair because the fairgrounds are in the wrong place and the city has “other plans” for the area.  The city contributed no funding for the fair since the fair was a self-financing organization.  There may not be a 2010 fair unless new fairgrounds can be purchased in the near future.