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  • Wed, September 25, 2019 1:39 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    Download the Director Application Form here!

  • Tue, September 24, 2019 9:00 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    Dave Cavallaro's MouthTrap, which sells cheese curds, is always in the top five food grossing items at the Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul, and this year was no exception.

    This is the same Cavallaro who has the first booth on the left every year at the February trade show of the International Independent Showmen's Association in Gibsonton, Fla. His Cavallaro Concessions of Mendota Heights, Minn., sells lemon shaped fiberglass lemonade units that are cleverly called elemonaders.

    He wrote a note to me saying, “Boy, when they say about our business that when weather is good, so is the business, truer words were never spoken. That statement really personified the 2019 Great Minnesota Get Together, as the fair is called in these parts.”

    Cavallaro said that with the exception of a rainy Monday and a little drizzle one other day, “We had perfect 70 degree highs and sunshine throughout. And the people came out, setting another attendance record. Our Mouth Trap concession was up almost eight per cent.”

    We employ approximately 110 students from local schools and 15 to 20 adults who perform the frying. The adults who came from temporary help agencies and local ads I placed were more frustrating to deal with than all the kids combined. If anybody wanted to make a case for hiring H-2B Visa employees, they should have been at my stand for a few days. I'm definitely concerned about the status of the American workers in the future. But we got through it.” I guess!

    I received a report on the fair from Jim Sinclair, Deputy General Manager to Jerry Hammer. Attendance was 2,126,551, up by 80,818, or four per cent over 2018. There were 29 rides on the Midway and 30 on the Kidway, plus 48 games of skill.

    Total ride gross was $4,385,156.08 (that's how meticulous and precise Sinclair is). That was up by $394,134.22, or 9.9 per cent. Games gross was $3,625,902.80, up $483,312.88, or 15.4 per cent.

    Sinclair pointed out that does not cover off-midway attractions such as the Giant Wheel of Michael Wood and Frank Zaitshik of Wade Shows; Fred Pittroff's Giant Slide, the Haunted House, Sky Glider, Space Tower, Old Mill, Skyride, and attractions presented in Adventure Park. Pittroff, for one, told me he had his best year ever, as did his wife, Carmel Dyer Pittroff, with her Australian Battered Potatoes. They're off until next year at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney, Australia, where Pittroff is the only U. S. person booked.

    The top grossing ride was the Crazy Mouse Spinning Roller Coaster of Steve Vander Vorste, who was also No. 1 at the San Diego County Fair, Del Mar, California, earlier this year.

    Following that, in order, were the Starship 3000 of Kyle Wisdom's Laser Fair; New York New York Funhouse of Joey Weaver for Bobby Myers and his mother, Gloria; Sky Flyer, Reithoffer Shows’ Wave Swinger, Myers, which books as Fair Ride Entertainment; Puppy Express, Maurice and Doug Haworth of Prime Pacific Entertainment; Techno Power, Michael Wood; Equinox, Laser Fair; Air Maxx, Mariah Duchow's Mr. Ed's Magical Midway; Cliff Hanger, Arnold Amusements; Haunted Castle Dark Ride, Myers; Tilt-A-Whirl, Michael Lauther and his son, Thomas, of Lauther Amusements; Beach Party, Derek and Catherine Long of D&K Amusements; Alpine Bobs, Blake and Katrine McDonagh's B-Thrilled Attractions, and Flipper Coaster, Steve Vander Vorste.

    In the games department, Candy Anderson was in first, seventh and tenth place, fortifying her belief that “if you keep it small, you keep it all.” Gary Oren's Concessions was in second and third place.

    Michael Winchester of Diversified Amusements was fourth; Jack D. Cook and Tony Cassata of Cassata Concessions fifth, eleventh, and fifteenth. Jeff Bossman's JBS Concessions was sixth; Dave and Monica Potopas, eighth and twelfth; Kimberly Oren's Kim O's Concessions, ninth; Casey Trejo, thirteenth, and John L. Magel Sr., fourteenth.

    Deggeller Attractionshad a great run at the York, Pa. Fair, oldest in the country, which was first held in 1765. Attendance was up 18 per cent from 450,173 in 2018, to 529,574. It was the first year as general manager for Bryan Blair, who replaced Michael Froehlich, who retired and moved back to Perry, Ga., where he had managed the Georgia National Fair before taking over at York.

    Blair spent the last four years as general manager of the Elkhart County 4-H Fair and Agricultural Exposition in Goshen, Indiana. The midway there was provided by Blake Huston of North American Midway Entertainment. Prior to Goshen, Blair spent six years at the Kentucky State Fair, Louisville, where he was in charge of sponsorship and event marketing. NAME had the midway there.

    We had great weather and a good talent lineup that was booked through Todd Bolton of Variety Attractions” said Blair. He said that former Variety owners George and Shirley Moffett visited the fair. “We covered the cost of five of the six shows.”

    After the last fair, the Board decided to move the dates for 2020 to July 24-Aug. 2. I asked how that would have an effect on Deggeller's route, and Blair said details on that are being negotiated now. The Board's move was intended to avoid the hurricane season. Rain fell on five days during last year's fair.

    The talent lineup included Brad Paisley, with Payton Smith and Tyler Rich; Darci Lynne; The Outlaws and Renegades; Brantley Gilbert, with Muscadine Bloodline; Tesla, Bethel Music, Let Freedom Ring, with Kayla Kroh, Shatter X, Stoney Lonesome, and David Bray; Kachunga & The Alligator; Max Power & Nitro, Wild Wheels Thrill Show, Ryan Hurd, Garrett Schultz, Jimmie Allen, Filmore, Tyler Farr, Gabby Barrett, High Valley, Monster Trucks, a firefighter training show, and Demolition Derby.

    The Aug. 23-Sept. 2 Colorado State Fair, Pueblo, had an attendance of 466,380 that was up five per cent over last year. Crabtree Amusements had a great run on the carnival midway, and general admission revenue increased by 31 per cent. Fiesta Day attendance was the largest it has been in a decade, according to Scott Stoller, general manager. He noted a presentation by Temple Grandin and the World Slopper Eating Championship helped drive the increased numbers. The contest involved Colorado beef, and Pueblo green chilis, and generated nationwide news coverage.

    Entertainment included Brett Young, 38 Special, The Beach Boys, Halestorm, Aaron Watson, Ramon Ayala, Granger Smith, featuring Earl Dibbles Jr., Banda Machos, Demolition Derby, the All American High Dive Show, Hypnotist Richard Barker, Comedian Farmer Phil, and the acrobatic Salida Circus.

    Gary Slater, manager/CEO of the Iowa State Fair, Des Moines, was asked if this year's record-breaking fair exceeded expectations.

    He answered, “The recipe for records included unseasonably nice weather, an outstanding grandstand lineup, competition from livestock to quilts, new daytime programming, more than 50 new foods, and a national stump speech spotlight.” The attendance of 1,170,375 broke the record of 1,130,260 set in 2018. “We've had attendance numbers over one million since 2002.” Everything Slater said sounds like a terrific recipe for success, especially the quilts.

    I only have two doctor appointments this week, but after my collegiate and pro football picks last week I might need to see a banker instead. How does Washington State blow a 32 point lead, and who knew Belichick would pull Tom Brady early from the New England Patriots? At least Notre Dame covered against Georgia.

    Please send news to tomp@oaba.org, or call 615 319-1258.

    Have all great days, and God Bless!

  • Tue, September 24, 2019 8:45 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)
    U.S. On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices*  
    (dollars per gallon) full history
              Change from
      09/09/19 09/16/19 09/23/19   week ago year ago
    U.S. 2.971 2.987 3.081   values are up 0.094 values are down -0.190
    East Coast (PADD1) 2.992 2.998 3.083   values are up 0.085 values are down -0.171
      New England (PADD1A) 3.022 3.013 3.070   values are up 0.057 values are down -0.200
      Central Atlantic (PADD1B) 3.161 3.177 3.252   values are up 0.075 values are down -0.164
      Lower Atlantic (PADD1C) 2.871 2.874 2.971   values are up 0.097 values are down -0.165
    Midwest (PADD2) 2.864 2.882 2.992   values are up 0.110 values are down -0.226
    Gulf Coast (PADD3) 2.745 2.761 2.858   values are up 0.097 values are down -0.194
    Rocky Mountain (PADD4) 2.933 2.959 3.034   values are up 0.075 values are down -0.321
    West Coast (PADD5) 3.548 3.574 3.650   values are up 0.076 values are down -0.109
      West Coast less California 3.131 3.161 3.238   values are up 0.077 values are down -0.235
      California 3.878 3.901 3.976   values are up 0.075 values are down -0.010
    *prices include all taxes


  • Thu, September 19, 2019 3:35 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)


    Condolences to the Commerfords as they mourn the loss of their elephant, Beulah.  Beulah had been a part of The Big E fair for many years and touched the lives of thousands of people. 

    The city of Whitemarsh Township in PA has voted to ban traveling animals.

    Eastern Pa. city joins Pittsburgh, Sharpsburg in banning wild-animal acts

    More news and updates here>>>

  • Thu, September 19, 2019 3:16 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    Contact: Catherine Pappas
    Public Relations & Communications Managerr
    More Info:  (413) 205-5041

    Beulah, Commerford and Sons’ beloved Asian elephant has died of natural causes at the age of 54.

    Beulah had many fans and was dearly loved by her family, as well as her friends at Eastern States Exposition.

    The Commerford family asked for time to grieve before announcement was made of Beulah’s passing.

    She was a member of their family.  Tim Commerford, age 47, has never known life without Beulah.

    “We are broken hearted,” said Gene Cassidy, Eastern States Exposition president.  He asks for the public’s understanding and compassion during this difficult time. “If you truly loved Beulah, kindly remember her and the Commerford family in your thoughts and prayers,” he said,  “They have lost a loved one.”

  • Thu, September 19, 2019 3:11 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    Fantasy Amusement, carnival provider in the Chicagoland area, has an opportunity for the 2020 season, for an experienced General Manager, due to the retirement of 34 year employee and his wife.

    Our OABA Circle of Excellence midway has served county fairs, festivals and community events for over 34 years and is a generational, family business.

    The ideal candidate will have ride operations experience, be organized, have an eye for quality and team building, plus be a self-starter. Depending on experience, this individual (and/or spouse) will have an equity, investment opportunity. Company policy mandates background investigation and drug testing.

    If you believe you qualify, please email your resume with most recent salary history, in complete confidence to Bill Johnson, Owner/CEO at fac9090@comcast.net.


  • Wed, September 18, 2019 6:44 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    I was watching the National Football League's Tennessee Titans lose once again to the Indianapolis Colts when the phone rang Sunday, and it was Danny Huston, the head honcho of North American Midway Entertainment on the other line.

    Now, he's from a town named Farmland in the Hoosier State, but I knew he wasn't calling to gloat about the fact that even without Andrew Luck, the Colts had Marcus Mariota's number. I think his last good game was when Ron and Bev Burback were rooting for him during his great college days with Chip Kelly's Oregon Ducks. Let's put it this way, Mariota is not and never will be a Tom Brady.

    For all you non-sports fans, ask Google what I'm talking about.

    Huston was actually returning my call, even though it was about a week late. He had a very good excuse, however, stating he had just received the message. Danny is one of the good guys who always returns calls, so I was happy to hear his extensive remarks about the industry. In a nutshell, here they are: “We're having a good season. Revenue is up.” Naturally, I urged him to expand on his remarks.

    The economy is good, and people are spending money,” he added. I had called Huston after I spoke to NAME's Tony Diaz after the show's successful run through Canada, that capped at Western Days in London, Ontario, on the Sunday when I was watching the game.

    At one time, when Evan McGugan was the manager, London had an independent midway. I'll never forget him saying to me when I asked about it, that (the legendary) Patty Conklin is not the only person who knows how to put together a midway in Canada.

    I didn't mention the subject again, even though I could have said I knew several others who could, and did, including Bingo and Bobby Hauser, Jimmy Conklin, Barry Jamieson, John Robertson, John Homeniuk, Don Campbell, and a few others.

    Diaz had mentioned to me that NAME had a new Giant Wheel that was going to debut at the Oct. 9-20 South Carolina State Fair, Columbia, where Nancy Smith will be in her first year as manager, having replaced the great Gary Goodman, who retired. Diaz said Danny was bringing it from the Netherlands but provided few more details. As I guessed, it was manufactured by Lamberink, is called an R50, and is 50 meters high. That's where I called on Google to find that equates to over 157 feet high. Huston was coming from West Springfield, Mass., where The Big E (Eastern States Exposition), Sept. 13-29, was just beginning. He figured a good part of the season was still ahead, as the Kansas State Fair, Hutchinson, was wrapping up, and Pat Repp and Tom Thebault were departing from there to the John Sykes-managed East Texas State Fair in Tyler, Sept. 20-29.

    Dates remaining include the Tulsa, Oklahoma State Fair, Arkansas State Fair, Little Rock; Mississippi State Fair, Jackson, and Greater Gulf State Fair, Mobile, Alabama. Huston said NAME had good runs at the Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky State Fairs. I asked how former ride inspector Bobby Gill was doing and Huston said he was with the show in Indianapolis and will be in Mississippi. “I guess you can say he's semi-retired, but we're always glad when he's with us.”

    Asked about anything else new, Huston, almost nonchalantly, stated, “We purchased three Chance double decker Merry-Go-Rounds that had been installed in malls in Michigan, Louisiana, and California. “The one from California is being racked and will come out next year. The others will appear at South Carolina and Mississippi.”

    It's always great when somebody sends reports on their fairs to me. That's something Jim Sinclair of the Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul;

    Carey Harveycuttter of the Salem, Va. Fair; J. H. Martin and Cliff Barton, with the Greater Baton Rouge, Louisiana, State Fair, Dillard Johnson and Chester Freeman of Cullman, Alabama, Jerry Robinson of the Alabama State Fair, Birmingham, Martin Ritter, Ed Charles and Bonnie Brosious of the Great Allentown, Pa. Fair, and several others, have done for years. Another guy who keeps me informed and up to date on what's going on in the industry is Darrell Desgranges, the Mizuno Golf Pro who has been giving lessons to food concessionaire Butch Netterfield, among others. I know Butch is a champion fisherman, (is that a word?), but lots of luck with golf.

    Anyway, Darrell wrote: “Just finished the Coastal Carolina Fair, Sept. 7-15, at the Matt Brown/Scott Johnson-managed Greensboro Coliseum, where Chris Kelly is in his 18th year as manager. The 32-ride midway was provided for the eighth straight year by Sheri and Michael Reisinger's Michael's Amusements of Fayetteville, N. C.”

    Desgranges, who also books talent, said concerts were booked through Meridian Entertainment of Holt Michigan, of which he is involved with, along with Brad Coombs, and Live Nation.

    He said free shows in the White Oak Amphitheater's 105.7 Man-Up-Fest were given by Saliva/Trapt/Tantric, and 104.1 Q Country Fest, with Rodney Atkins and Dillon Carmichael. Hard ticket shows were by the B52s and Berlin, and in the new Piedmont Hall, Aaron Lewis, UB40, and Shaggy.

    Desgranges said last year's second week was canceled due to Hurricane Florence. “This year the fair was threatened by Hurricane Dorian that passed within 10 miles of the Coliseum on opening day.

    Michael's set three single day ride gross records. One was Dollar Day when all rides and select food and drink options were $1 each. By 8:30 p.m., the fair had reached capacity and the gates were closed. You should have seen the crowds. It was great.”

    Darrell went on to point out that the original fair was founded and operated by the Hamid Family, Hamid Circus. In the 1950s, the Hamid Family sold the fairgrounds to the city of Greensboro, where the Greensboro Coliseum was built and opened on the site of the old fairgrounds in 1959. The Hamids continued to operate the fair until 2000 when the Coliseum took it over. It has 23,000 seats, the largest in America, and is home to the Atlantic Coast Conference's Hall of Fame. Michael's has a multi-year contract. Dates next year are Sept. 11-20. I'll be expecting the same kind of comprehensive report then.

    Attendance at the 167th annual Great Allentown, Pa. Fair, held Aug. 27-Sept. 2, was 321,786, up by 18 per cent from last year's 272,700. Jessica Ciecwisz, Marketing and Event Manager, said mostly good weather helped Powers Great American Midways, led by Les (Corky) Powers, and his wife, Debbie, post a hefty 19 per cent increase in its carnival gross. “We had scattered rain and threats of thunderstorms on Wednesday, Aug. 28, and Labor Day. But the rest of the week was sunny with temperatures in the low 70s and 80s.”

    Raymond Hoffman, who has been executive chairman and CEO since 2012, said, “We had a very good fair with nice weather on five of the seven days. Powers has been here since 2008 and I hope they're always here. They do a tremendous job and are great people.” Hoffman said he believed shows booked in by Powers were Irv, Jeff, and Judd Good's Goodtime Amusements from Hellerown, Pa., and David Pfeffer's Tons of Fun from Douglassville, Pa.

    Grandstand acts and their attendance numbers were Live/Bush and Our Lady of Peace, 3,501; TruTV's Impractical Jokers, 2,958; Brooks & Dunn, with Ashley McBryde, 7,738; Miranda Lambert, with Randy Houser, 4,508; Why Don't We/Max/Eben/Tyler Grey, 5,148; Daryl Hall & John Oates, with G. Love & Special Sauce, 6,135, and the J&J Demolition Derby, 3,004.

    Other attractions included Brunon Blaszak's Royal Bengal Tiger Show; World of Wonders, Zuzu Acrobats, Robinson's Pig Paddling Porkers; Glenn Miller Band, Moodonna, Dialed Action Sports Team, The Uptown Band, and Tom Yurasits's Magic and Illusion Show.

    I'll be watching and betting on the Titans this Thursday when they play Jacksonville if anybody wants to call. I'll be home, as usual. 

    Please send news to tomp@oaba.org, or call 615 280-7257.
  • Tue, September 17, 2019 9:40 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)
    U.S. On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices* 
      (dollars per gallon) full history
              Change from
      09/02/19 09/09/19 09/16/19   week ago year ago
    U.S. 2.976 2.971 2.987   values are up 0.016 values are down -0.281
    East Coast (PADD1) 3.000 2.992 2.998   values are up 0.006 values are down -0.254
    New England (PADD1A) 3.027 3.022 3.013   values are down -0.009 values are down -0.254
    Central Atlantic (PADD1B) 3.178 3.161 3.177   values are up 0.016 values are down -0.238
    Lower Atlantic (PADD1C) 2.874 2.871 2.874   values are up 0.003 values are down -0.261
    Midwest (PADD2) 2.874 2.864 2.882   values are up 0.018 values are down -0.326
    Gulf Coast (PADD3) 2.740 2.745 2.761   values are up 0.016 values are down -0.295
    Rocky Mountain (PADD4) 2.924 2.933 2.959   values are up 0.026 values are down -0.404
    West Coast (PADD5) 3.555 3.548 3.574   values are up 0.026 values are down -0.181
    West Coast less California 3.139 3.131 3.161   values are up 0.030 values are down -0.312
    California 3.885 3.878 3.901   values are up 0.023 values are down -0.078
    *prices include all taxes


  • Fri, September 13, 2019 5:43 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    2019 AIMS International Safety Award presented to Ronald E. Burback
    2019 AIMS Lifetime Contribution Award presented to Gary Slade


    AIMS International presented two awards during the 2019 Golden Ticket Awards weekend, presented by Amusement Today and hosted by Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, Idaho. More than 275 amusement industry professionals attended the awards ceremony to see AIMS honor Ronald E. Burback (right), owner of Funtastic Shows, with the 2019 AIMS International Safety Award and Gary Slade (left), owner of Amusement Today, with the 2019 AIMS Lifetime Contribution Award. On stage at Silverwood with the two award winners is the AIMS International board of directors.   COURTESY JOHN ROBINSON

    ATHOL, Idaho – Ronald E. Burback was presented with the 2019 AIMS International Safety Award during the Golden Ticket Awards held Saturday, September 7, at Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, Idaho. The Award, presented to Ron by AIMS Executive Director, Mary Jane Brewer and AIMS board member, Roger Berry, recognizes a person or organization that has made a significant impact or contribution in improving safety in the amusement industry by demonstrating leadership, innovation, and foresight.

    In presenting the award, Roger Berry commented that Ron, who, together with his wife and business partner, Beverly, is the owner of Funtastic Shows.  Ron has had an illustrious career with many honors and recognition for his work in the amusement industry and in his communities.  As part of the portable industry, Ron has been a leader of the Showman’s League of America, OABA, the Carnival Guild, Northwestern Showman’s Club, IAFE and AIMS.  His focus on safety is evident in his work with ASTM F24 advocating for the portable industry. 

    Ron’s professional background includes over 35 years of operating amusement parks in Portland, Oregon.  Additionally, he has more than 50 years of experience operating carnival attractions at fairs, centennials, world fairs and festivals from North Pole, Alaska to Memphis, Tennessee and many stops in between.  In 1997 he won a national award for producing the best festival in America.

    Ron is currently an OABA Trustee, Finance Chairman for the Northwest Showman’s Club and a member of the Legislative Committee for the Northwestern Showman’s Club, He is a Shriner, a 3rd Degree Mason and a Knight of the Royal Rosarians.  Ron enjoys being a community service volunteer, riding his Harley and is an avid book reader.

    In accepting the award, Ron Burback remarked that he was honored to receive this award from AIMS,

    and shared some history about how safety has been an integral part of his business model from the very beginning, when he started his company with Robert Bollinger in 1971.  He went on to thank his wife, Beverly, for her support and passion for safety, as well.  He also thanked all of those who have contributed to safety awareness in the portable industry.

    Following the presentation of the AIMS Safety Award, Mary Jane Brewer called on Harold Hudson, the first winner of the AIMS Safety Award, to announce the surprise recipient of The AIMS Lifetime Contribution Award, which was created in 2018 to recognize an individual or organization with outstanding dedication and service to AIMS International.  That 2019 winner this award was Gary Slade, Founder and Publisher of Amusement Today.

    When Harold took the podium he first thanked his wife, Betty Lynn, for her support of his career and went on to remark that Gary began his career at Six Flags Over Texas in 1978. Following many years of personally promoting the industry he founded Amusement Today in 1997 and has continually provided timely industry news to manufactures and the industry at large. Gary, as editor in chief of Amusement Today, has always focused on current events, safety, and positive developments in the industry.

    Since its beginning, Amusement Today has included industry safety features but starting in 2017 Gary dedicated a complete section of the paper to promoting safety by presenting timely safety articles from manufacturers, operators and industry experts. 

    Gary, a past AIMS board member, also supports the industry uniquely through the Golden Ticket Awards, now a major industry event, the “Extra! Extra! Desktop Edition” providing “now” news to the industry, and the National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives a showcase for industry history typically highlighted by the manufacturers role.

    Gary has always supported the industry and is frequently contacted by media outlets and researchers regarding industry news, statistics and safety. He has always represented the industry credibly and accurately while promoting its true character.

    Gary, who was a surprise recipient of this award, remarked that he has always valued safety in the amusement industry, and went on to share a story from early in his career, when he was a ride operator, that shaped his perspective and made him a huge proponent of safety and that caused him to advocate for safety every chance he gets.  He thanked his staff at Amusement Today for their support and the AIMS Board Members for this illustrious award.

    About The AIMS International Safety Award

    Created in 2016, The AIMS International Safety Award is presented annually to the individual or organization that demonstrates leadership, innovation, and foresight in improving safety in the amusement industry. With safety as the industry’s #1 concern for amusement industry guests and employees worldwide, efforts in improving safety are shown in many forms: the design and implementation of new products and technology, the development of safety education programs and training, and by exemplary leadership in influencing others. The 2016 AIMS Safety Award was presented to Harold Hudson followed by Har Kupers in 2017 and then to Patrick Hoffman in 2018.

    Nominations for the AIMS Safety Award are submitted by individuals within the amusement industry and the winner is selected by a vote of AIMS International’s board of directors. The award is presented annually during the Golden Ticket Awards.

    About The AIMS Lifetime Contribution Award

    Created in 2018, The AIMS Lifetime Contribution Award recognizes outstanding dedication and service to AIMS International.  The first AIMS Lifetime Contribution Award was presented posthumously to Mark Moore.

    About AIMS International

    AIMS International is a non-profit 501(c)(6) association dedicated to improving amusement Industry safety through leadership in education. AIMS International provides training classes and certification (CEU) programs for ride inspectors, operations, aquatics and maintenance personnel through its annual Safety Seminar and at other venues throughout the year. The 2020 AIMS Safety Seminar will be held in Galveston, Texas, January 12-17, 2020.

    AIMS also serves to inform its members on legislative and other issues relating to the amusement industry and presents an Annual Safety Award recognizing a person or organization that has made a significant impact or contribution in improving safety in the amusement industry.


    For more information about this release, please contact:
    Mary Jane Brewer, Executive Director
    AIMS International

  • Thu, September 12, 2019 4:56 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    Unseasonably mild weather helped North American Midway at the Aug. 16-Sept. 2 Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto, and during most of its almost three-month stay at Canadian dates.

    Only K-Days in Edmonton, Alberta, experienced bad weather with rain on four days of the July 19-28 event. Formerly known as Klondike Days, K-Days had attendance of 702,327, down from last year's 808,009, and the lowest since 2006.

    If not for the weather, we would have broken records,” said Peter Male, president and CEO. The concert lineup was led by Aqua, Offspring, and Kip Moore. Rain on the opening Saturday forced the midway to close early and a fireworks show to be cancelled.

    The July 31-Aug. 4 Queen City Exhibition in Regina, Saskatchewan, drew over 234,000, with 17,000 turning out on a Thursday night to see the Saskatchewan Roughriders beat Hamilton in football.

    That certainly helped our attendance,” said Tim Reid, president and CEO of Northlands. He said attendance for concerts was up by 103 per cent, and the overall crowds were the best in 35 years.

    Diaz spoke on Monday during the Sept. 6-15 Western Fair in London, Ontario, which he said was doing very well. After its long stint that began at Brandon and Winnipeg in June in Manitoba, NAME's next date after London is Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sept. 26-Oct. 6.

    During the CNE, which drew approximately 1.5 million in attendance, temperatures were in the 70s,” said Diaz. Virginia Ludy, who had been CEO, resigned two weeks before the fair opened. Diaz said NAME's main contact was with Mike Cruz, who had been assistant manager and in charge of operations.

    This year's CNE unveiled a new value menu called “Under $6 at the Six.” Thirty menu choices were offered under shaded picnic areas during free concerts at the Bandshell stage. Offered all 18 days were menu choices that all cost $6, or under $6.

    Bandshell acts included Burton Cummings, April Wine, Jann Arden, and Walk Off the Earth. The CNE's $9 discounted admission after 5 p.m. from Mondays through Thursdays helped boost attendance. John Peco, CNE's chief officer of business development and innovation, also pointed out that last year's attendance of 1.3 million was hurt by nine days of rain.

    Campbell Amusementsof Canada, led by Danny Campbell and his mother, Joyce, who is known as Scoop, booked equipment at the CNE. “The rest was all of ours,” said Diaz. His staff includes Wayne Kunz, Scooter Korek, John Anderson, and Safety Inspector Michael Hupalo. Games concessionaires Dave and Monica Potopas left before Toronto in order to book at the Jerry Hammer-managed Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul. NAME works with Bobby and Wendy Hauser of West Coast Amusements at several locations including Regina and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. “You couldn't ask for better folks,” said Diaz.

    Rich Wyatt and Gary Magyoran are in charge of NAME at Eastern States Exposition (Big E), West Springfield, Mass., while Pat Repp and Tom Thebault are at the Kansas State Fair, Hutchinson, and Mark Cockerham is in Nashville at the Tennessee State Fair.

    Danny Menge is off the road and taking care of the show's shop in Tampa. Danny Huston, NAME's CEO is coming off a good run at the Indiana State Fair, Indianapolis.

    Huston will debut a new Dutch Ferris Wheel at the upcoming South Carolina State Fair, Columbia. “All I can tell you is the gondolas are not the fold up kind and are all air conditioned and heated. Danny is bringing it to the U.S., and it's really going to be special,” said Diaz.

    After Tulsa, Diaz's Unit heads to Little Rock for the Arkansas State Fair, where he said weather was horrible last year. Ralph Shoptaw has resigned as manager and is now working for Mike Featherston's Goldstar Amusements. The new Arkansas manager is Doug White, who had been a member of the fair's board of directors.

    The 109th annual Pacific National Exhibition, Vancouver, B. C., drew attendance of 731,708 for its Aug. 17-Sept. 2 run at Playland Park, up from 705,381 in 2018, and 722,466 in 2017. “This year's PNE was a tremendous success thanks to our partners, vendors, performers, staff and guests who make it so special,” said Shelley Frost, president and chief executive officer. The PNE was closed Mondays, except for Labor Day.

    West Coast Amusements,as usual, had success supplementing the park lineup. Brought in by Bobby and Wendy Hauser were the Gondola Wheel, Impact Zone, Haunted Mansion, Tornado, Tilt-A-Whirl, Alien Abduction, Cuckoo Haus, Mardi Gras, 1001 Nights, Zero Gravity, Charlie Choppers, and Toon Town Funhouse.

    The concert lineup included Blue Rodeo, a cancellation by ZZ Top, 98 Degrees, Burton Cummings and Band, Vince Neil, formerly of Motley Crue, Smokey Robinson, Now's The Time Tour with Collective Soul and Gin Blossoms, Styx, UB40, Colin James, I Love The 90s, featuring Vanilla Ice, Montell Jordan, Biz Markie, and Rob Base, MC Hammer, with Bobby Brown, Billy Idol, The Beach Boys,  and TLC on its 25th anniversary tour. All concerts were free with admission of $18 for adults, $5 for children, and $9 for seniors.

    Beautiful weather and the fact schools didn't open until after Labor Day were cited as big factors in the 138th annual Maryland State Fair, Timonium, drawing attendance of 591,000, which represented a 4.3 per cent increase over last year. “The cool weather every day and the school openings not only helped increase our attendance, but reduced the stress on our 4-H and FFA Youth and Open Class exhibitors, staff and leadership, who previously had to juggle schedules to participate in the fair,” said Maryland State Fair General Manager D. Andrew (Andy) Cashman.

    According to Publicity Director Edie M. Bernier, a Preview Night with Ridemania helped Deggeller Attractions record an excellent gross on the carnival midway. Deggeller featured an all new Spaceport ride and an expanded Kiddie land.

    The On track concerts all drew well. Artists were Hanson, The Marshall Tucker Band, LoCash, with Chris Lucas and Preston Bust, and Night Ranger. Other attractions included the Extreme Dogs Show, Cowboy Circus, Max Power, rodeo, Negro League Baseball Exhibit that featured a tribute to Frank Robinson and a visit by the Baltimore Orioles Bird, plus a popular Celebrity Milkshake Contest.

    The contestants included Qadry Ismael, former Baltimore Raven player, former Philadelphia Eagle player Jason Avant, Governor Larry Hogan, Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartefelder, and others.

    I lost a very dear friend last week from my 34 years spent as editor of Amusement Business. Tommy Collins passed away at his home in Edina, Minnesota, at the age of 88, of natural causes. There was nothing that wasn't extra special about Collins who was described as a figure skating impresario, which he was, but also so much more.

    A former champion figure skater himself, Collins was founder of the Champions on Ice Tour. Before that, he was an executive with Holiday on Ice, where earlier he had been the show's headliner. He skated on Broadway and on tours with Sonja Henie.

    But I met him when he was handling all the merchandise for my favorite artist, Neil Diamond. During all the arena and stadium conventions where we socialized, we had so many great times. On one occasion, after getting great seats for Christine and me for a show in Tampa, he loaded us down with tee shirts and all sorts of novelties. “Here, Powell, I'll even give you some ear plugs so you won't have to hear,” I can recall him saying, with that bright Irish laugh. I let him know in no uncertain terms I wanted to hear Neil Diamond.

    I've seen Diamond many times, mostly thanks to Collins, who once told me that Neil would not step on a plane without his copy of Amusement Business. That made me feel very good.

    Jimmy Drew of the James H. Drew Exposition told me once that Neil Diamond was his wife, Evangeline's, favorite artist. Jimmy wanted to take her to a show for a birthday present. He said if I could get the tickets and get us backstage, he would pay for the plane fare and hotel. After we decided to attend a show at the Capital Center in Landover, Maryland, I mentioned it to Jim Halsey, who had all the merchandise at RFK Stadium at the time.

    He said if he could get in on the deal, he would get us a limousine. It all worked out until I stood in front of Neil to snap a picture and nothing happened. He looked at me and said I better call Triple A, that I needed new batteries. I remember Evangeline was most impressed by the limo.

    I later learned that while Diamond was his first client, Collins, working with legendary concert promoter Bill Graham (another friend of mine), helped promote the careers of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Alice Cooper, David Bowie and Earth, Wind and Fire. Collins also handled merchandise for John Denver, Bob Dylan, the Moody Blues, Wayne Newton, Rick James, and Joni Mitchell.

    Olympic Champion Brian Boitano was quoted as saying, “Sad news in figure skating: the great Tom Collins, founder of Champions on Ice and a generous man who gave long careers to countless skaters, died today at 88. He made skating so much better. He was so loyal, so honest.”  That's Tommy. He was great to Christine and me—and our pals, Jimmy and Evangeline Drew, and Jim and Patti Halsey.

    Please send news to tomp@oaba.org, or call 615 280-7157.

    Have all great days, and God Bless!

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