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  • Tue, August 20, 2019 9:55 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    HAMBURG, NEW YORK – The all-time attendance record for the Erie County Fair was shattered as the “Best 12 Days of Summer” in Western New York State concluded Sunday night. Final 2019 attendance is 1,238,456. This number represents a 3.3% increase from 2018 and makes 2019’s number the highest attended Fair in the history of the Erie County Agricultural Society. The previous all-time record was achieved in 2014 (1,220,101). 

    Read official release here >>>

  • Tue, August 20, 2019 9:00 AM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)
    U.S. On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices*  
    (dollars per gallon) full history
              Change from
      08/05/19 08/12/19 08/19/19   week ago year ago
    U.S. 3.032 3.011 2.994   values are down -0.017 values are down -0.213
    East Coast (PADD1) 3.055 3.034 3.019   values are down -0.015 values are down -0.188
    New England (PADD1A) 3.107 3.073 3.048   values are down -0.025 values are down -0.213
    Central Atlantic (PADD1B) 3.233 3.215 3.199   values are down -0.016 values are down -0.181
    Lower Atlantic (PADD1C) 2.923 2.904 2.892   values are down -0.012 values are down -0.184
    Midwest (PADD2) 2.942 2.924 2.900   values are down -0.024 values are down -0.229
    Gulf Coast (PADD3) 2.787 2.763 2.751   values are down -0.012 values are down -0.230
    Rocky Mountain (PADD4) 2.965 2.940 2.939   values are down -0.001 values are down -0.410
    West Coast (PADD5) 3.605 3.580 3.564   values are down -0.016 values are down -0.142
    West Coast less California 3.182 3.164 3.158   values are down -0.006 values are down -0.265
    California 3.940 3.909 3.887   values are down -0.022 values are down -0.042
    *prices include all taxes

    https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/gasdiesel/

  • Wed, August 14, 2019 11:05 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    100th annual Mississippi Valley Fair, Davenport, Iowa, drew a record attendance of 325,000, up from last year's 300,000, according to Shawn Loter, who has been with the fair for 30 years, the last three as General Manager. He succeeded Bob Fox in that post, who he said is now residing in Arizona.

    Loter and I hesitated to say that Davenport is unique in that it offers free gate admission, and access to six concerts, all featuring big names, for one price, but we couldn't come up with another that does it. For $85, fans got to see Dan + Shay, Jake Owen, Brooks and Dunn, Brad Paisley, Nickelback, and Tesla. Loter, who attended the Country Music Association Festival in Nashville, booked the acts.

    In the last three years, the price has gone from $65 to $75, to its current $85, a bargain by any standards, especially with such well known and very popular acts. “That's just the way we've done it, and it works for us,” said Loter. I suggested that nobody would have any justifiable complaints if the price were $100, or even more. He grunted and said, “You should have seen the flack we received when we went up to $85. If these people went to the Iowa State Fair, or any other fair, I believe they might have a better undertstanding of how great this situation is.” I guessed that Dan + Shay drew the most people. I was wrong, not being a millennial. It was Nickelback, followed by Brad Paisley. Obviously, at that price, all acts drew big crowds, which was a help to Evans United Shows.

    Other entertainment included an appearance by the Budweiser Clydesdales, the Superchuckler Comedy Pirate Show, Tim “E” world famous Elvis impersonator, and Majestic Spectacular FMX Free Style, Globe of Death, and Moto on the Wire. “We had sky divers carrying the American flag before every concert, fireworks, and added a lot of amenities around the grounds. It was special,” said Loter.

    Loter said Tom and Jimmy Evans were on hand from the carnival that has been providing the midway for as long as anybody can remember. “They were very happy, and said they had a record year,” said Loter. Evans United is based in Plattsburg, Missouri. It moved to Davenport from the July 17-23 Great Jones County Fair in Monticello, Iowa, and went to Maquoketa, Iowa, next for the July 23-29 Jackson County Fair. Before Jones County, Evans played the Mighty Howard Fair, Cresco, Iowa, June 25-30, and Winneshiek County, Decorah, Iowa, July 9-13. Upcoming is The Pineywoods Fair in Nacogdoches, Texas, October, Oct. 3-8, located in what is called the oldest town in Texas.

    The 74th annual California Mid State Fair, Paso Robles, held July 17-28, remained flat at 426,000, according to a press release sent out by the fair where Michael Bradley is Chief Executive Officer.

    Dave Helm and Sons Amusements of Colton, California, generated $1,270,000 in total revenue, a 3.3 per cent increase from 2018. All carnival rides were free on opening day with paid gate admission.

    For the fourth straight year, the Bud Light Concert Series featured two sold out concerts, Cardi B on Saturday, July 20, and Blake Shelton, on Sunday, July 21. All in all, more than 76,000 tickets were sold. Other top selling acts included Old Dominion, Miranda Lambert, Zac Brown Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Billy Idol, and Smokey Robinson. Other acts were Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo and Melissa Etheridge, and Why Don't We, along with Monster Trucks with Bikes and Bulls.

    For the third consecutive year, revenue from corporate sponsorships exceeded the $1 million threshold, increasing by 10.4 per cent from 2018, to just over $1.4 million.

    Ron Porter of Fare Foods, DuQuoin, Illinois, tells a story about meeting a group of Clemson football fans while he and his wife, Laura, were trying to find a seat in a packed sports bar across from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. “We didn't have any of their orange colors on, and we kept brushing against each other. Then this one guy proclaims he's from a small town in South Carolina, and he bets that I would not know anybody from his hometown, which happened to be Branchville. I smiled and said Bill Lordy, my best friend. The guy exclaimed, “You mean Elephant Ear Bill?”

    The late Lordy, who owned and operated The Elephant Ear Bakery with Traycie Brewer, was actually born in Detroit. Bill and I had a lot of fun together. I took him to the Super Bowl with me one year in Tampa, and we sat in a suite in front of the Rock group Phish. His biggest thrill, however, came during a pre-game Miller Beer party when I introduced him to Joe Paterno, the legendary Penn State football coach. Charlie Cox of Cox Concessions let us park in his space on the grounds that memorable day.

    Dick Knoebel of Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa., an OABA member who always attends the February trade show of the International Independent Showmen's Association in Gibsonton, Fla., sent me a note. In it, he wrote, “Tom, you da man, how you can recall all the names and connections is amazing. Thanks for the lead paragraph in your column about my 80th birthday celebration.

    “My sons, Brian and Rick, totally surprised me with a gathering of about 200 people for a big party. Gary Slade of Amusement Today came in from Texas, and Mary Chris Smith and members of her staff with Allied Specialty Insurance were here from Florida. Also from Florida were Bob and Kelly Dean and John Arie with Funspot.” Knoebel said other guests included Roxanne Pope of the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions, who came up from D.C.; Will Morey from Morey's Pier, Wildwood, N.J.; Gary Chubb and Laura Washburn from Hershey Park, and Jack Silar, a ride inspector who is a former general manager of Hershey Park, along with staffers, family members, and personal friends. “Brian and Rick pulled off the surprise of the decade. I missed you and Christine.”

    Reached by phone on Monday, Aug. 12, Knoebel said the park is experiencing one of its best years, despite a slow start due to rainy weather in June. “We're coming off packed parking lots Friday, Saturday, and today,” he said, adding that for some reason, Mondays are always good. “I can remember when parks were closed on Mondays, but people seem to be stretching their weekends.”

    Catering has always been a big part of Knoebel's business, and he said two upcoming picnics for competitors Weis Markets and Giant Markets, will each draw more than 10,000 people.

    Carey Harveycutter, general manager of the Salem, Va. Fair, who is also Director of Tourism, was nice enough to send along a list of concessionaires who worked his successful July 3-14 fair. They include Mike Broad, Erick Schenck, Brian and Sue Gillette, Robin Smith, James Harvell, Ken Harvell, Henry Towner, Billy Level, Jim Labrato, Jody Conklin, Ronald Doege, with Nancy Concessions; Greg Miller, Jessie Patterson, with Robbeloth Concessions; Dennis Lilly, Susan Shorb, Zachary Swift, John Bell, Berkley Roberts, and Rose Lopez. Deggeller Attractions was on the grounds for the 32nd straight year.

    Please send news to tomp@OABA.org, or call 615.280.7257.

    Have all great days, and God Bless!

  • Mon, August 12, 2019 5:52 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    Opening Weekend Milestone Made During
    Strates Shows 95th Year in Hamburg, New York

    Monday, August 12, 2019

    HAMBURG, NEW YORK – The James E. Strates Shows announced today that it has reached an all-time, single day gross revenue record at the Erie County Fair on Saturday, August 10th. This single day milestone was just one day of a record-breaking opening weekend in Hamburg, New York as the Strates Shows celebrates its 95th year providing the amusements at the Erie County Fair. Gross revenues for the Strates Shows midway are trending 25% over 2018 number. 

    “This past weekend we recorded three, all-time high ridership days. Since 1924, when my grandfather James E. Strates first brought his show to the Erie County Fair, the show has never had a three-day run like the one we just experienced.” said John Strates, Strates Shows Operations Manager. “To say we had the biggest day in our history during our 95th year makes the milestone even more special.” 

    During the 180th Erie County Fair, the Strates Shows “mile long” midway includes 67 rides and over 100 games & concessions. The show is highlighted by the return of the beloved “Sky Wheel” (double Ferris wheel) and the addition of several spectacular rides including the “Claw,” “Frisbee,” the “Avenger,” and the “Crazy Mouse” rollercoaster. These rides join traditional Strates amusements that include the “Big Wheel,” the two-story carousel and Huss manufactured “Pirate.”

    In addition to new rides, the Strates Shows debuted a new “guest relations” booth located on the midway with the goal of increase customer service satisfaction. 

    The exclusive, 95-year relationship between the Erie County Fair and the Strates Shows is considered a historical milestone in the modern amusement industry as it is considered the longest continuous run of any carnival midway in the United States.

    About the Strates Shows - The Strates Shows is a 96-year-old family owned business with headquarters in Orlando, Florida. Founded in 1923 by Greek immigrant James E. Strates as the Southern Tier Shows in Elmira, New York, the Strates Shows is considered one of America’s premiere providers of carnival midways. After the death of James E. Strates in 1959, his only son E. James Strates, took over as manager of the company and is still actively involved in its operation. Now in its 9th decade, the Strates Shows are led by the 3rd generation of Strates family members including Susan, Jimmy, Sibyl, Jay and John. Nick Strates, who officially joined the show full-time during the 2015 season, is the 4th generation of the Strates family to continue the tradition.   Over the decades, the Strates Shows has brought many innovations to the carnival industry, including cooperative promotions, a centralized ticket system, advance ticket sales, and, most recently, the FunCard electronic ticketing system that utilizes bar codes to control access to carnival rides on the midway. 

    About the Erie County Fair - The Erie County Agricultural Society is a private not-for-profit membership organization. Established in 1819, the Society is the oldest civic organization in Western New York. The mission of the Erie County Agricultural Society (ECAS), sponsors of the Erie County Fair, is to preserve and enhance, by educational endeavors, the agricultural and historical legacy of New York State. The Fair strives to fulfill appropriate aspects of the agricultural, educational, entertainment and recreational needs of Western New York. The 2019 Erie County Fair concludes on August 18th (www.ECFair.org).

    -30-

    The 3rd generation of the Strates Family:  Jay, John and James E. (Jimmy) Strates

    New Strates Shows Guest Relations booth

       
     
    The Strates Shows midway,   Erie County Fair 2019 
  • Thu, August 08, 2019 6:41 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    Tom and Mary Talley's Talley's Amusements of Fort Worth, Texas, had a great run in their first year of supplying the carnival midway at the July 24-Aug. 4 Ohio State Fair, Columbus, where excellent weather helped attendance grow to 934,925, an increase of three per cent over that of 2018.

    “We were very well received by the public and fair officials and we had a great midway with 78 rides,” said Mary Talley, whose late father, Buster Brown, owned Bill Hames Shows, with her mom, Barbara. “I haven't had a chance to go over all the figures yet, but it was a lot of money, well over last year, something like 28 or 29 per cent, as far as midway revenue.”  Alicia Schoults, the fair's Marketing and Public Relations Director, confirmed that it was up by 28 percent. “We were told they can't wait for us to be back again next year. One person wrote a letter that he had been attending the fair for 52 years and by being there this year was like receiving an unwrapped Christmas gift. That's a pretty damn good compliment,” said a very happy Mary Talley.

    Talley took delivery of a 100 foot tall ARM Vertigo and Downdraft from Battech this year, and completely refurbished its Orbiter. Added to the ride arsenal last year was a 33 meter tall Lamberink Ferris Wheel, Iron Dragon Roller Coaster, and Beast.

    Among those booked in with games were Paul Nemeth, Michael Winchester, and Joey Fowler, three of the best in the business. Bringing in rides were Steve Vander Vorste, with his Crazy Mouse Roller Coaster; Patrick Sheridan's Alamo Amusements, with a Kite Flyer; Kissel Amusements, with 14 rides; Michael and Thomas Lauther with a Fun House, Dark Ride, and Glass House; Steve Ianni, who travels regularly with Strates Shows, Red Carpet Amusements, a Circus Train and King Circus; Skerbeck Shows, with a Toboggan and Central Park Train; Jeremy and Kate Floyd's Topscan, with a Space Roller, Wiggle Worm and Flying Elephant.

    Also, Jay and Vicki Clements of Triple T Amusements, booked a Mini Indy; Primetime, with a Sea Ray and Sizzler; Tony Porter's T&D Concessions, Haunted Mansion; Monkey Maze, two rides; Clinton and Meagan Sims of M&C Attractions, four pieces, and Joyce Hutchins, Joyride, a Storm and Mini Whully Gully. The Talley's State Fair Spectacular added six pieces, and the lineup was rounded out by the permanent Slide of Vivona Family Entertainment, whose Amusements of America had provided the midway at the fair for the previous 25 years.

    Upcoming for the Talleys are the North Texas Fair and Rodeo, Denton, Aug. 16-23; Delta Fair & Music Festival, Memphis, Tennessee, Aug. 30-Sept. 8, and State Fair of Texas, Dallas, Sept. 27-Oct. 20.

    Brett Chance, who has been booking entertainment at the fair for 29 years, said this year's lineup was one of the best. Gabriel Iglesias: Beyond the Fluffy World Tour, drew a sellout crowd of 9,500. Hank Williams Jr. was the second best draw. “It went into percentages,” said Chance. Brett's late dad, Dean Chance, was not only a respected carnival games concessionaire and boxing promoter, but outstanding Major League Baseball pitcher, who won the Cy Young Award in 1961, when he threw 11 shutouts.

    Brett recalled that Toby Keith was the first act he ever booked at the Celeste Center, through the late Steve Dahl of Monterey Attractions. He had Keith back this year, with special guest Jimmie Allen. “Keith did very well, as did most of our acts.” Others included KIDZ BOP World Tour 2019, Chris Young, Lyle Jennings, Charlie Moore, and Carl Thomas; The All Ohio State Fair Band and Youth Choir, a John Denver Tribute, featuring Ted Vigil; Matthew West, with Matt Maher; REO Speedwagon, with Night Ranger; The S.O.S. Band/Midnight Star; Bad Company, with Foghat, and The Happy Together Tour, with The Turtles Chuck Negron, formerly of Three Dog Night, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap; The Buckinghams, The Classics IV, and The Cowsills. A special attraction was Jack Hanna's crew with the Columbus Zoo Animals show

    The July 18-27 Delaware State Fair, Harrington, overcame five days of what General Manager Bill DiMondi described as brutally hot weather, to set an all-time attendance record of 328,000, which was up 12 per cent over 2018. Records were broken when 54,000 turned out on the closing Saturday, and 48,000 on a Wednesday. The Budweiser Clydesdales were a big hit, as were eight nights of fireworks.

    After the hot opening, when heat indices averaged 108 degrees, DiMondi said, “We had milder daytime temperatures with lower humidity, and crisp nights.” Assistant GM Danny Aguilar noted that the official Centennial M&T Grandstand entertainment schedule featured two sold out shows by Reba McEntire and the hot selling country duo of Dan + Shay. Other acts included Sugarland, Gladys Knight, Darci Lynne, America's Got Talent Winner; Brantley Gilbert, Brothers Osborne, Christian artists Bethel Music, and demolition derby.

    Approximately 50,000 fans attended. Aguilar said pit tickets, those located directly in front of the stage, and the VIP concert packages were in high demand.

    Frank Zaitshik of Wade Shows, who again provided the midway said he was proud to work with DiMondi and Board of Directors President Ron Draper in helping to make the fair's centennial celebration such a winner. “I never would have dreamed that after being behind by six figures through Wednesday that we wound wind up by more than six figures by the time we finished. It was great.”

    Zaitshik said the season has been solid so far, after good runs at the Central Florida Fair, Orlando, where he gave most of the credit to General Manager Shawn Krauel, and the Aaron Owen-managed Ozark Empire Fair, Springfield, Mo., held July 25-Aug. 3. Zaitshik said that after the show closed Saturday in Springfield, he flew to Kansas City and then to Syracuse to lay out the lot for the New York State Fair.

    Vickie Hayward, spokesperson for the Ozark Empire Fair, said attendance was up over last year's figure of 165,000. “We had one night of rain, but other than that, weather was great.” Acts included Kansas and Shaun Munday, Michael Ray and Neil McCoy, For King and Country, and Stars Go Dim, along with Sea Lion Splash, Scott's World of Magic, Bandaloni, and Hedrick's Exotic Petting Zoo.

    Zaitshik and Owen, who has been GM at Springfield for seven years, are now at the Aug. 8-18 Missouri State Fair, Sedalia. Frank said he is getting ready to fly to Nebraska to help Mike Thomas lay out the lot for the Nebraska State Fair, which is held in Grand Island. Asked about independent operators at any of the spots, he said the only one was Mark Cox, brother of Show Manager Tom (Red) Cox, who is actually a regular on the carnival, with four or five kiddie rides.

    The Missouri talent lineup includes Dwight Yoakum, with King Leg, The Struts, with White Reaper, Brantley Gilbert, with Jobe Fortner, Tyler Childers, with Brent Cobb, Foreigner and Night Ranger, and Brothers Osborne, with Ashley McBryde.

    I hate to admit it, but after years of prodding, I allowed Christine to buy me one of those I, or is it Eye phones, to replace my trusty flip device. After a few days of half-heartedly, I admit, trying to figure it out, and deciding it was too heavy to carry around, I had her take it back. That removes a lot of stress. I still like to watch reruns of Gunsmoke, Perry Mason, Columbo, Matlock, and old black and white movies, too, that is unless there's a baseball game on, especially involving the Phillies or Red Sox.

    Please send news to tomp@oaba.org, or call 615 280-7257

    Have all great days, and God Bless!

  • Thu, August 08, 2019 6:33 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    UPDATES

    Two articles have been published regarding the PAST act since it passed the House. 
    One from a proponent of the bill
    And one from an opponent of the bill
    Both lend valuable insight into the animal rights agenda backing the legislation

    Also in the news: This past June an ordinance was introduced to city council in Nashville, TN that would have banned the use of soring devices on Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and Spotted Saddle Horses.  The city ordinance was introduced by a councilwoman that had been lauded by HSUS last year.  Fortunately, the ordinance was withdrawn once the other council members took issue with the fact that Federal Law already makes those devices illegal under the Horse Protection Act.
    Read the report here

    More "In the News" here >>>>

  • Tue, August 06, 2019 8:07 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    HAMBURG, NY – The 180th Erie County Fair will officially open to the general public at noon. There will be a short ceremony beginning at 11:40am at the Fair’s historic McKinley Parkway gate. The program will also include remarks by Fair Officials, introduction of the 2019 Ultimate Fairgoer and a flurry of fireworks at Noon. The national anthem will be performed by the Erie County Fair Marching Band. Here is what you need to know for Day 1 of the Erie County Fair:

    Read official press release >>>>

  • Thu, August 01, 2019 2:48 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    UPDATES

    The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act passed the House by 333 to 96 in a bipartisan vote. It is a federal bill that will have a huge impact on the walking horse industry.

    The state of New Hampshire passed two animal related laws, HB 459 and HB 605, this past week. Please read more about the details of those laws here as they include animal ownership changes, paying for care after animal confiscation, and animal fighting paraphernalia. These were both HSUS backed bills.

    More news and updates here >>>


  • Thu, August 01, 2019 2:00 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    Butler Amusements posted a great run at the July 12-28 California Exposition and State Fair, where attendance of 601,761 was five per cent higher than the 2018 total 572,250, but lower than 2017's 636,628, according to Rick Pickering, general manager and chief executive officer.

    An all new food Festival Pass helped the fair record strong food, beverage and amusement ride sales, according to Margaret Mohr, deputy general manager of business development and marketing. The pass allowed attendees one-of-a-kind entrees and special desserts from 30 vendors at a low price of $28. If purchased separately, officials estimated that each food item would cost in the range of $10 each.

    Food sales from the Food Festival Pass generated approximately $300,000 in revenues alone.

    Willie Madaus, owner of County Fair Cinnamon Rolls, Oakhurst, California, was quoted as saying the pass was popular every day of the fair. Madaus's Bacon & Pecan Cinnamon Roll won Best of Show in the Food Festival Competition. “We had our highest grossing Saturday ever and were up more than 20 per cent this year,” said Madaus. Barbecue sales hit an all-time high with $1.3 million in gross sales. Overall, the total for food and beverage sales was $8.5 million.

    Butler, led by OABA Director Lance Moyer, who is the company's executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Sean Butler, son of the late Earl (Butch) Butler, grossed more than $500,000 on the closing Saturday, and $400,000 on the final Sunday. More than 100,000 people rode the Monorail and Skyride. Butler came to Sacramento from the Alameda County Fair, Pleasanton, and moved from Sacramento to the Sonoma County Fair, Santa Rosa, Aug. 1-11.

    The107th annual Alameda Fair, held June 14-July 7, where Jerome Hogan is CEO, drew attendance of 454,276, which was up by 7.3 per cent over the 2018 total. Butler Amusements had a good run on the midway, and live horse racing returned with attendance of 49,483 for the 15-day meet. Marketing Manager Angel Moore noted that corn dog sales of 35,320 represented an increase of 11.8 per cent over last year. Other increases were 12.3 per cent for funnel cakes; 14.8 per cent for candy apples; and 19.1 per cent for deep fried Twinkies.

    Entertainment included WAR, Ashanti, Trace Adkins, Gin Blossoms, Lifehouse, Sheila E, Loverboy, Roots & Boots Tour, with Sammy Kershaw, Collin Raye, and Aaron Tippin, Aly & AJ, BB King Blues Band, featuring The Voice's Michael Lee and Tommy Castro & The Painkillers-Killin It Live, Stellar Tribute Bands Earth to Mars for Bruno Mars, Kiss Revisited, James Garner's Tribute to Johnny Cash, Aja Vu for Steely Dan, and Vince Neil of Motley Crue.

    The Butler Unit, led by Mick Brajevich, a former OABA director, who is the company's president and chief executive officer, had terrific runs at the July 3-7 Marin County Fair, San Rafael, California, and the 161st annual Washington County Fair, Hillsboro, California, July 23-28. It then traveled 673.3 miles to play the Aug. 1-11 Clark County Fair, Ridgefield, Washington. Ridgefield talent includes Carly Pierce, with Matt Stell, KC and The Sunshine Band, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Randy Houser.

    After taking a hit in 2018, attendance at Marin County rebounded with the Fourth of July that drew 31,855, the second highest one day crowd in 31 years. A total of 116,639 attended this year's fair, the last for Charlie Barboni, longtime manager, who is retiring this year. Attendance last year was 104,942. Parking receipts were $231,700, compared to $231,415 last year.

    Libby Garrison, a fair spokeswoman, said the free shuttle helped 3,224 save on parking costs, with a SMART train transporting 10,000 to and from the fair. Entertainment included Dwight Yoakam, The Distractions, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Abba The Concert, Steel Pulse, Cheap Trick, and Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea, plus fireworks, and The Great American Petting Zoo.

    This year's Over the Moon theme, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, was the No. 1 factor that drove up attendance and revenue, said Garrison. Gate revenue was $1.51 million, a 4.3 per cent increase over that of 2018. Food and beverage receipts were $1.4 million, compared to $1.3 million last year. Auditors counted sales of 6,500 corn dogs, 5,200 orders of lobster fries, and 2,380 pineapple teriyaki bowls, among other items.

    Contacted on a set up day at Ridgefield, Brajevich, who served 11 years on the OABA board, said, “We had a very good week at Hillsboro after moving there from the Stanislaus County Fair, Turlock. All units have had a great summer. I believe we broke records everywhere we've played since the beginning of June. The grosses have been great, and we've had very good weather. We had a little extreme heat at the end in Sacramento, but other than that, no complaints.”

    Brajevich, who like Moyer, is a son-in-law of Butch Butler, said the show has added a new Himalaya ride from Wisdom for this season, which will be delivered soon. “We've also purchased a half dozen new trucks, a generator from Gull Wing, and a couple bunkhouses from Uni-Glide.”

    Butler employs approximately 250 foreign workers through the H-2B Visa program. “We've been doing that for 20 years, and since we virtually operate year round, we always obtain them in a timely manner.” New to the show's solid route this year is the Tehama District Fair, Red Bluff, California.

    The entertainment lineup for the Toyota Concert Series in Sacramento included Plain White T's, Queen Nation, TLC, Def Leppard Tribute, Clay Walker, The Marshall Tucker Band, Petty and the Heartshakers, Sean Kingston, Joe Nichols, Mariachi Vargas, The Boys of Summer, featuring the music of The Eagles; 38 Special,  We Are Messengers, California Surf, Inc., Tony! Toni! Tone!, Journey Revisited, and Martina McBride.

    Larry Sivori of Sivori Catering, Louisville, Kentucky, says his dad, Edgar, who died June 16 at the age of 88, taught him everything about their business that has been around since 1964.

    “Before that, Dad was at Miles Park, the old Kentucky State Fair, before it moved to its current location in 1956. He purchased three cookhouses from Dale and Janelle Paisley. He had been grade school and high school buddies with the late Gene O'Brien, who had his own Irish O'Brien's cookhouse and food operation, with his wife, Sandi. Dad said to be successful you need to treat everybody with respect.”

    Gene O'Brien was the first president of the National Independent Concessionaires Association. Larry Sivori was its fifth president, and is still involved in the organization, as is Sandi. Edgar was employed as a plumber before he got into the food business in a large way and earned the title of Midway Man.

    The Sivoris have more than a dozen stands at the Kentucky State Fair each year, where they also set up a beer tent. They are the master vendor at the Kentucky Derby Festival and also work Thunder Over Louisville. Florida dates on Sivori's schedule are the Pensacola Interstate Fair, South Florida Fair, West Palm Beach, Martin County, Stuart, and Gator National drag races, Gainesville.

    Other dates include the Heart of Illinois State Fair, Peoria, which went to six days from last year's five, this year; Logan County, Lincoln, Illinois; Alabama National Fair, Montgomery, Alabama, and Southeast Missouri District Fair, Cape Girardeau, plus numerous local picnics and festivals.

    So far, the season has been okay, according to Sivori. Among his specialties at the Kentucky State Fair are tater tots with 15 different toppings, barbecue, corn dogs, pizza, and all the grab items including burgers, hot dogs, and sausages. He relies on Ron Porter of Fare Foods and local vendors for his products. “Ron's dad, Ray, and my dad were friends and my dad had another special friend over the years who was also a friend of yours, Joe Oblander, the Coca-Cola representative,” said Sivori. Oblander was a friend to everybody he knew in the business

    Sivori and his wife, Emily, have been married for 40 years and have two children. Tony, 40, is an oral surgeon, and Aaron, 37 who has a landscaping business. “They both help on weekends at the Kentucky State Fair. For labor, we don't have any foreign employees and rely on many who return from year to year, but a lot of them are getting up in age. We find locals, but it's a struggle,” said Sivori.

    Please send news to tomp@oaba.org, or call 615 280-7257.

  • Tue, July 30, 2019 6:15 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    The tragic shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival is sad news for all of us. The festival was, at one time, a member of IAFE. We, along with our friends from the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) are sending prayers and sympathy to all involved. The volunteers and supporters will be hit especially hard by this senseless act of violence.

    With permission, we are sharing the following from Steve Schmader, President & CEO of the IFEA:

    It is with great sadness and sympathies that we let you all know of yesterday's mass shooting during the final day of the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California. At this time there are an estimated 12 people injured and 4 fatalities (including the suspect) after a gunman randomly opened fire on those attending the event. A second suspect is still being investigated. As has become unacceptably too common in our country and around the world, we send our deepest sympathies, prayers and support to all those affected - directly and indirectly - by this horrific incident, through friends, families and loved ones.

    While no different in terms of the tragedy and loss, this scenario is the first at what we would categorize as a 'typical' small(er) town festival/celebration, that a large majority of our industry fits into. It is a category that we would all like to believe is a bit safer and at less risk than the potential larger target events, in bigger cities, with higher media focus surrounding them. It opens up many new and very real considerations that we must now work with our global risk management experts to re-examine and re-address, so that we may maintain the safe havens that we hope all of our events will be for our attendees, volunteers and all stakeholders.

    We are in the midst of the peak of fair season, so it is even more critical that all members review emergency plans, security assessments and risk mitigation strategies. This news story from NBC highlights the vulnerabilities our fairs and events face. The new IAFE website, www.fairsandexpos.com, has resources in the library, as well as at www.fairsandexpos.com/event-security (under the MyIAFE tab), which provides invaluable resources from the US Department of Homeland Security.

    The IAFE works closely with allied organizations such as the IFEA, IAAPA, IAVM, and OABA to learn and share information that is essential to all in the events sector and we will update our members as we identify resources that will help us all provide a safe environment for our guests.


    Marla Calico
    President & CEO
    International Association of Fairs & Expositions

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