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  • Thu, February 27, 2020 12:35 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    by Timothy Herrick
    Monday, February 24, 2020
    Carnival Warehouse

    The largest California-based carnival company turns 50 in 2020 and the outlook is positive, if the economy remains as strong as it was in 2019 and the weather follows 2018 patterns.  As Sean Butler,  Chief Operating Officer & Unit Manager of Butler Amusement explains, “2018 was very dry and with the economy starting to boom we had a stellar 2018.  In 2019 we had a very wet spring but luckily the summer had some big hits and we set records at most of our fairs from June onward.  All in all, a great year.  Overall our fair season either matched 2018 or was up slightly.”

    Butler Amusements is unique, even among the cadre of the largest carnival companys.  The company has a ride inventory upwards of 150 rides and for much of the summer, the company runs three main units, although  the units merge for the larger fairs during the summer.  The company consistently ranks 4th on Carnival Warehouses' annual list of Carnival Companies playing the Top 50 Fairs, which in 2019 included : Big Fresno Fair, the California State Fair, Alameda County Fair, Kern County Fair, and the Evergreen Fair.  

    Typically, the seasons begins in January and concludes in mid-October, followed by a coda of two Christmas events in  December.

    Tough Start, Good Finish

    The second decade of the 21st century was not always as positive as its final years, especially on the west coast, which was ravaged by the Great Recession, and for California especially, plagued by a drought that negatively impacted the state's agricultural industry. “This region was hit pretty hard by the recession a few years ago and it seemed to linger longer,” said Butler.  Now, the economy is very strong in California, there are still some cities in the central valley of California that are struggling to recover from the recession.  All of our fairs, except for one or two are done with drought restrictions in California, but most of our fair partners have tried to keep control of water waste.”

    But as the season begins, like most carnival companies, workforce issues cause the most apprehension.  In the 2020 season, the company will employ “340 H-2B employees and around 75 American employees for our rides,” said Butler. “We had to start our 2019 & 2020 season a full month earlier than we ever had in the past in order to secure the employees we need for our season.”

    As finding and hiring qualified personnel becomes more challenging, the company has also geared up training and retention programs, realizing that the company growth requires a stable and skilled workforce.  “ Our employees are the lifeblood of our company and industry; we have been very lucky to get them,” he said. “Just like any company that has been around for over a generation, we have to train more people to learn positions that some of our core employees have been in for decades.  We have had many great new additions to our staff in the last couple of years and we will have to continue to add more as time goes on.”
    Read complete article and find photos here
  • Wed, February 26, 2020 7:47 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    Everyone is vitally aware of the COVID 19 (coronavirus), which is of very serious concern across the globe. We do not intend to supplant any information you are and should be receiving via the WHO and CDC or the health authorities governing your jurisdiction. We do want to make you aware that as an Association, we are closely monitoring the situation, not only through regular updates from WHO and CDC, but also in communication with other associations and events.

    Until such time as we announce a dedicated resource and information portal on our website for the COVID 19 situation, we would recommend the following steps:

    1. Be alert and closely monitor the key sources of information, WHO and CDC. Anyone can subscribe to the CDC information at their special page (see below).
    2. Insurance: If you already have event cancellation insurance, visit with your agent to verify that communicable disease was already covered. If you do not already have event cancellation insurance, then any policy you would procure would exclude coronavirus.
    3. Pandemic planning is similar to emergency planning, but with more specifics. Your existing emergency plan may have components essential to a pandemic plan (i.e. business continuity in case your staff/volunteers cannot leave home to come to work, additional cleaning protocols, special messaging for stakeholders, etc.). Spending time now to work on a pandemic plan would be advised.

    The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is the most reliable source of information and news in the United States. Their website resources and news page are constantly updated.

    Main Portal Page: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html
      Specific sections within the page address planning and guidance applicable to fairs and events

    Marla Calico
    IAFE President & CEO

  • Wed, February 26, 2020 7:45 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)
    U.S. On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices*
    (dollars per gallon) full history XLS
    Change from
    02/10/20 02/17/20 02/24/20 week ago year ago
    U.S. 2.910 2.890 2.882 -0.008 -0.166
    East Coast (PADD1) 2.962 2.940 2.931 -0.009 -0.163
    New England (PADD1A) 3.075 3.070 3.061 -0.009 -0.110
    Central Atlantic (PADD1B) 3.146 3.123 3.117 -0.006 -0.169
    Lower Atlantic (PADD1C) 2.816 2.793 2.779 -0.014 -0.170
    Midwest (PADD2) 2.776 2.757 2.756 -0.001 -0.213
    Gulf Coast (PADD3) 2.675 2.658 2.654 -0.004 -0.195
    Rocky Mountain (PADD4) 2.895 2.858 2.849 -0.009 -0.064
    West Coast (PADD5) 3.481 3.468 3.459 -0.009 -0.034
    West Coast less California 3.098 3.081 3.072 -0.009 -0.069
    California 3.784 3.774 3.778 0.004 0.006

    *prices include all taxes 

  • Wed, February 19, 2020 9:44 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    from Carnival WarehouseBy: Timothy Herrick
    Monday, February 17, 2020

    Fiesta Shows: Committed to the Customer Experience
    Show officials look for a fix to H-2B guest worker program

    Last year, Fiesta Shows was one of the lucky carnival companies.  Like most in the industry, the company relies on H2B workers and in 2019, a computer crash meant that many carnival companies could not file for workers in time and had to wait for an increase in the cap that did not go into effect until weeks later.  Unlike many competitors, Fiesta Shows foreign workers arrived by April, not late May or Early June. 

    “We were very fortunate,” said E.J. Dean, vice president of operations, Fiesta Shows. “We were able to get our H2B workers, but I know a lot of my competitors in New England were forced to cancel events or drastically cut back their footprint and that not only affected those companies, but those nonprofit entities, were really affected.  Those Lions Clubs and other organization that help out schools and their communities.  Their carnivals are a huge fundraising mechanism.”

    Fiesta shows in one of the largest –and longest established – carnival companies in New England.  The company roots were planted in the Great Depression, Eugene Dean (E.J.'s father, and Jack Flynn formed Dean & Flynn and by 1967, the duo purchased Fiesta Shows.  While the company's highest profile gig may be the Topsfield Fair, the company is well acquainted to the importance of the annual celebration of community fairs embody, and the devastating potential of the workforce issues threatening that tradition.

    While he is “optimistic” he will get his needed workers in the time, “the system needs to be fixed.  Right now, they are inundated with petitions, demand is very high.”

    The labor force crisis overshadows all the other issues carnival companies face.  

    In addition to  problems of securing employees, labor costs are a major concern in 2020. “Our route goes through many states where the minimum wage is going up,” said Dean. “That's not just a problem for us or for the fairs we play, but it drives up expenses all across the board, from a pack of gum to gas.”

    He added, the “the rules and regulations for labor are forever stricter.  They are certainly workable, but they increase costs.  Labor is more and more challenging for carnival companies.”

    But the fairs themselves, with their well-earned place in the entertainment landscape, the outlook is upbeat.  Last year, “was very positive, the economy is very strong, people are spending.  Employment is high, there's more construction going on, communities are strong.”

    The Fiesta Shows seasons begins in early April and runs through October.  Last year, the finish was marred by a rainy New England autumn. “October was very wet,  we lost a few fairs.  Overall we were down slightly.”

    Nonetheless, as he prepared for the upcoming season, he remains committed to the fair experience. “It's very hard for a video game or virtual reality glasses to present the product that we do,” he said. “That thrill and sense of fun, of letting go, that is truly something unique and something people still love.” 

    For 2020, the Fiesta Shows has refurbished its Thunderbolt and Vertigo as well as completed cosmetic upgrades to 15 other rides. In addition, its ride inventory – the website boasts more than 100 amusement rides in its inventory – is outfitted with LED lighting packages.

    The company will introduce a new, 26-meter, two-trailer Ferris Wheel, featuring 18 gondolas, dubbed the Spider Wheel.  The new giant wheel was built in Mexico and made its debut this month at the San Antonio Livestock Show booked in through Wade Shows.  The company upgraded its Kiddie section with new Mini-Excavators, coin operated amusements for the young ones. “We have a custom built trailer for these rides, it was really popular last year and we added new ones,” he said. “There's a market for these smaller children, they can enjoy these rides while their older brothers and sisters can ride the other rides.  Then the family can stay longer at the event, have a more enjoyable time, and of we course we make more revenue.”  

    The company will also add more light towers. “We have some with solar energy applications.  We tested them last year to see its durability, and it did very well.  It's the idea of reducing power consumption and lowering energy costs.  But if you can use one less cable, one less wire that allows you to be more versatile.” 

    The company will also expand its social media outreach, growing its own following and becoming a stronger marketing partner with its clients.  Fiesta Shows is active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat and has more than 60,000 followers.  Timothy Dean, E.J.'s son, oversees the social media marketing and at times has acted as video spokesperson on the platforms. “It's relatively low expense, but it's been going great for the past three or four years. But it enables you to reach masses of people, and market to them directly.  You reap the awards.” 

    What Dean will continue to do in 2020 is focus the midway on fairgoer, ensuring a family-friendly atmosphere filled with fun and excitement. “The overall mindset is a commitment to the customer experience, that's why we have the amenities like the Light Towers and phone chargers, the mini excavators.  It's comfortable for the entire family, from the children to the grandparents.”

    Dean grew up on the midway, it's his family's midway that makes up his earliest memories.  It's the experience that he has made a tradition for generations of New England fairgoers, which only further enhances his perspective. “It's always all about the customer experience. We see patrons over the course of the decades, we see them grow up and they
    bring their children. It gives you a wider vision about what we do.”

  • Wed, February 19, 2020 9:42 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)
    U.S. On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices*
    (dollars per gallon) full history XLS
    Change from
    02/03/20 02/10/20 02/17/20 week ago year ago
    U.S. 2.956 2.910 2.890 -0.020 -0.116
    East Coast (PADD1) 3.003 2.962 2.940 -0.022 -0.133
    New England (PADD1A) 3.105 3.075 3.070 -0.005 -0.095
    Central Atlantic (PADD1B) 3.180 3.146 3.123 -0.023 -0.133
    Lower Atlantic (PADD1C) 2.863 2.816 2.793 -0.023 -0.134
    Midwest (PADD2) 2.839 2.776 2.757 -0.019 -0.147
    Gulf Coast (PADD3) 2.710 2.675 2.658 -0.017 -0.151
    Rocky Mountain (PADD4) 2.944 2.895 2.858 -0.037 -0.029
    West Coast (PADD5) 3.517 3.481 3.468 -0.013 0.010
    West Coast less California 3.146 3.098 3.081 -0.017 -0.023
    California 3.812 3.784 3.774 -0.010 0.035
    *prices include all taxes


  • Thu, February 13, 2020 8:13 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    MORRISONVILLE — New Jersey-based carnival operator Amusements of America will return to the Clinton County fair this summer following a multi-year hiatus.

    “We are very much looking forward to having Amusements of America back at the Clinton County Fair,” Clinton County Fair Manager Mike Perrotte said in a statement.

    “They are one of the oldest and largest traveling carnivals in the country, with many modern rides, as well as nostalgic amusements designed to take adults back to their childhoods. Amusements of America has something for everyone.”

    Read full article here

  • Thu, February 13, 2020 7:56 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    MIAMI – Feb. 12, 2020 – Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition Inc. has announced that longtime Miami resident Marguerite Morris is the new chair of its board of directors.

    Morris joined the board of directors in 2007. The Boston native is a retired physical therapist, having worked at Jackson Memorial Hospital for more than 35 years.

    “I am honored to have been elected to lead such an important organization that gives so much to make such a positive difference in the lives of the children in our community. Volunteers are the backbone of The Youth Fair, and I am pleased to be able to give my time,” Morris said.

    Morris has been a dedicated volunteer at The Youth Fair since 1986, contributing her expertise to catalogue and judge the tens of thousands of student exhibit entries that arrive every year before they go on display to the general public. In 2019, the total number of student exhibits reached 63,120.
    “We look forward to Marguerite’s experience, knowledge and leadership as we prepare for another successful year with the annual Youth Fair that opens in March and our year-round Exposition Center,” said President Eddie Cora.

    Opening day at The Youth Fair is March 12 and runs through April 5 at the Fairgrounds, 10901 Coral Way (Southwest 24th Street), Miami, Fla. 33165.

    The Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition (The Youth Fair) is the largest charity event in South Florida. The not-for-profit organization is dedicated to promoting education and agriculture while showcasing and rewarding youth achievement and providing quality family entertainment, all without taxpayer dollars. The annual Youth Fair exhibits 63,120 student projects to more than 550,000 Youth Fair guests and, in 2019, awarded $586,720 in college scholarships, cash premiums and awards to students. To date, The Youth Fair has presented well over $11 million to the Miami-Dade community. The Fair Exposition Center, which is the second largest convention center in Miami-Dade County, hosts an additional 70 community events each year. Visit fairexpo.com or call 305-223-7060

  • Thu, February 13, 2020 7:47 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)
    U.S. On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices*
    (dollars per gallon) full history XLS
    Change from
    01/27/20 02/03/20 02/10/20 week ago year ago
    U.S. 3.010 2.956 2.910 -0.046 -0.056
    East Coast (PADD1) 3.047 3.003 2.962 -0.041 -0.069
    New England (PADD1A) 3.119 3.105 3.075 -0.030 -0.086
    Central Atlantic (PADD1B) 3.224 3.180 3.146 -0.034 -0.079
    Lower Atlantic (PADD1C) 2.914 2.863 2.816 -0.047 -0.056
    Midwest (PADD2) 2.901 2.839 2.776 -0.063 -0.073
    Gulf Coast (PADD3) 2.773 2.710 2.675 -0.035 -0.101
    Rocky Mountain (PADD4) 2.984 2.944 2.895 -0.049 0.025
    West Coast (PADD5) 3.565 3.517 3.481 -0.036 0.046
    West Coast less California 3.198 3.146 3.098 -0.048 0.014
    California 3.857 3.812 3.784 -0.028 0.070
    *prices include all taxes

  • Thu, February 13, 2020 7:05 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    Industry Pioneer

    Fred Pittroff
    Giant Slide

    Watch Fred’s Video here

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