By Ron Weber, MCW Editor
Gibsonton, FL — The IISF Trade Show entered its fourth day with attendance up over last year for the combined three opening days. Incoming President Steve Ianni said the organization was very pleased with the results. Many vendors, despite the poor economic conditions, are also happy with the results so far.
Ed Bush is owner of Jersey Shore Imports, LLC and a first time vendor at the show. His company has exhibited at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions trade show and others and he says his business in Gibsonton has been very good. “We have over 100 leads so far”, said Bush. “We saw a lot of people and they were the right people”, he added.
Jersey Shore sells licensed sports jerseys and merchandise from the NBA, NFL, NCAA and MLB as well as NASCAR. He has been working with these products for two years, mostly as game prizes.
His prizes are featured at the Florida State Fair in Wes Wilbur,s Blockbuster game. Bush says that he has seen game grosses double with the addition of the licensed equipment.
Another big show supporter is Jim Frederiksen of Fredericksen Enterprises, builders of portable slides. Fredericksen has sold three slides so far this year including one at the trade show to a carnival in Norway. “He wanted to buy two but decided to get the first and see how things go”, said Frederiksen.
2008 was the second best year for the company. They had sold 10 slides by the end of the trade show in Gibtown. Frederiksen is hoping for a good year in 2009 as well.
The company keeps its factory going year-round. “We have never stopped building in 19 years”, said Frederiksen. The company keeps slides in stock and sells throughout the year. About 75% of his business is in carnivals and 25% in parks. He estimates there are over 200 of his slides on traveling carnivals.
Fredericksen developed the 5 lane “State Fair Slide” which travels on one trailer. He has sold 5 of those over the years. Fredericksen has blueprints to build a larger, approximately 30 foot tall Giant Slide which will travel on two dually loads and has 8 lanes. He said several shows have expressed interest in this new, larger model slide.
By Ron Weber, MCW Editor
Gibsonton, FL — Overcast skies hurt attendance early on Thursday as the IISF Extravaganza entered its third day. By afternoon, the skies had cleared and crowds began to come. Many people have been visiting the MCW booth at the show and we get to keep up on the news and information that has occurred during the year.
Andy Deggeller came by to work on his website with Matt Cook and we had a chance to talk with him about Deggeller Attractions. Andy is Don Deggeller,s son and general manger of the show. Don is now the sole owner of the show, having purchased Greg Deggeller,s shares of the company. Jeff Deggeller still travels with Deggeller Attractions as well as an independent with his Wave Swinger, Cliffhanger, Dark Ride and funhouse.
A big change for the Deggeller this year is the move of the Virginia State Fair from the city of Richmond to nearby Doswell, VA, home of King,s Dominion. “The fair has done everything they could possibly do to make it (the state fair) successful”, said Deggeller. “I am very optimistic about the fair”, he added. Deggeller said the midway would be laid out similar to the midway as it was at Richmond International Raceway, the former home of the fair.
The show will be bringing in the same number of rides as they previously have had and they will be doing some additional landscaping to make their presentation even more attractive at the fair,s new home.
Deggeller Attractions will open next week at their hometown event, the Martin County Fair, in Stuart, FL. They will then play several dates in Florida before moving to Ft. Bragg, NC. From there the show jumps to Virginia Beach, VA for several weeks before spending the balance of the summer in VA and MD. They play the Howard County Fair, the Price William County Fair and several other events culminating in the Maryland State Fair over Labor Day, one of the Top 50 Fairs in the US. They then jump to Greensboro, NC before coming back to Doswell, VA for the Virginia State Fair. They then jump to Little Rock, AR for another Top 50 event, the Ralph Shoptaw-managed Arkansas State Fair, before ending the season in Deland, FL.
Deggeller Attractions has been busy in the off-season purchasing new equipment and working on several amenity projects. The bought a new office from Hi-Tech Trailers in Los Angeles. The modern design has a private office for Don Deggeller and 15 additional workstations with high speed connections.
In winterquarters, they have been refurbishing their Raiders and Ring of Fire. They area also developing some unique new facades for the midway that will double as storage for the show,s midway.
Deggeller had their foreign worker visas approved, both J-1 and H2B, and they will be taking on employees from Mexico and South Africa.
By Ron Weber, MCW Editor
Another sunny Florida day met visitors to the IISF Trade Show on Wednesday. Wisdom,s new Windsurfer ride made its appearance and caused a buzz on the midway.
While some have lamented the lack of new rides at the event, a closer inspection of many of the manufacturers have new rides to offer this year.
Jim Ziaja of World Wide Service and Supply is one such example. Zaija represents Preston and Barbieri as well as Tivoli here in the U.S. For the last several years, his main staple has been the Remix II ride. He said 2008 was a good year with lots of service work. Two Remixes were sold, one to Gene Dean,s Fiesta Shows and a second to Majestic Midways. In addition to the Remixes, a Flying Swing was sold to Talley Amusements.
World Wide will be offering several new rides in 2009 and beyond including a Spin Spider and a “Nascar”-type bumper car ride.
The Spin Spider has 12 arms and holds 24 people. It racks on only one trailer. A modern version of an old favorite, the ride should get plenty of attention in 2009. The other ride Zaija has in development is the “Nascar”-type bumper cars. The ride will have a track that the cars are driven around. The cars will be able to bump into each other as they go. The ride will be open topped with pickups in the floor. The ride should have a 48″ height requirement.
Zaija is hoping for a good year in 2009 with the new attractions and he has one open slot for delivery of a Remix II in June of this year that he hopes to sell here at the trade show.
Earlier this year it was announced that US sales of KMG rides would be handled by Rides 4-U. In Gibtown, KMG lent support for sales by way of Peter Theunisz from their headquarters in Holland. Theunisz was on hand last year when he was one of the few manufacturers to bring a new, unsold ride to the trade show. He was able to sell the Swing-It within a day of opening. Theunisz remains very optimistic about the industry both in the US and Europe. While the economy in Europe is much like the economy in the US, he said there would be “no influence from the economy on our (the ride) industry.”
For the past several years, the Fireball and Freak Out rides have been very popular in the US. At the trade show they have Powers Great American,s Freak Out ride. Since their introduction, they have sold 20 – 25 Fireballs and Freak Outs in the US.
The new ride they have introduced this year is the Inversion. The ride is similar to the Freak Out but the cars go all the way over the top. KMG sold an Inversion to Tim Casper of PBJ Happy Days Shows. This is the first model sold in the US and the 11th overall. Of the others, nine were sold in Europe and one in Australia.
Another new piece they have introduced this past year is the XXL Swing ride. This ride towers approximately 140, above the midway and costs 1.5 million Euros or about $2,000,000 US. One ride was recently sold to Switzerland.
Looking ahead to 2010, KMG is developing a secret new piece that will stand 200, tall in its largest version. Other sizes available will be 140, and 100,. Theunisz said the ride will travel on only two trailers but the retail price will come in at about 1.5 million Euros (2m US).
By Ron Weber,MWC Editor
Sunny skies and warm temperatures graced the opening day of the Extravaganza and Trade Show on the IISF Club grounds in Gibsonton, FL. At 10 am the manufacturers and suppliers were ready for another year of business with many uncertain about the economy in 2009.
While the day got off to a slow start by mid-afternoon, a nice crowd began to stream through the aisleways. The MCW booth had many people stop by to say hello and sign up for our email list.
Lee Kolozy came by to report on his new venture, midwayads.com. Kolozy is a columnist for Side Show World and has been in the business all of his life. He saw a great need for the lost art of bill posting and decided to sink his time and resources into the new venture.
In 2008 he promoted circuses in Northern Indiana from May 1 through July 4th. He then worked for several carnivals in the south including Glen Geren in Jackson, TN.
The unique selling point of Kolozy’s business is his “showmobile”, a mobile printing center where he can make posters and coupons in the same day on the road. By printing in this manner Kolozy minimizes waste, only producing what is needed, resulting in a savings to the show owner.
“Anyone can get the paper out”, said Kolozy, “its getting the coupons back in that is the hard part”. He said good strategies like getting the coupons close to the register, having a good looking ad and the offer of a significant discount are all factors in the coupon’s return. Kolozy claims a return rate of 5%, well above the national average of 2%.
Getting the posters and coupons in retail stores takes entails spending time with the store owner and building a rapport so they will distribute the coupons and assist the event. “For every four locations I visit, only one will take the information”, he said.
Kolozy observed that in this tough economy, promotions becomes even more important as people are more and more frugal with their advertising dollars. “Show owners invest so much in equipment and trucks, they also need to invest in these invitations to come to their event”, he added.
Kolozy’s midwayads.com offers several packages for bill posting from simple to deluxe.