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  • 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).


    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)


    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)


    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

  • Thu, July 25, 2019 3:56 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)


    There have been a number of deaths reported in the horse racing industry. From New York to California, people are scratching their heads trying to figure out what is causing this uptick in racing related deaths. The city of Los Angeles is now considering an all out ban on horse racing. This is an interesting turn of events in a very well established industry that is heavily regulated and monitored for welfare. Keep an eye out on these articles and the developments - there are two federal bills related to horses in congress. Equine enigma: Four horses dead within six days at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack
    Los Angeles to consider banning horse racing  
    30th horse dies at Santa Anita since racetrack’s season started

    Click here for More News & Links

  • Thu, July 25, 2019 1:04 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

       North American Midway Entertainment headed up by Tony Diaz was off to a hot start in Canada, drawing 203,624 at the June 14-23 Red River Exhibition in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and 1,275,465 at the 107th Annual Calgary, Alberta, Stampede, July 5-14.

    NAME then headed to the 140th annual K-Days, formerly Klondike Days in Edmonton, Alberta, set for July 19-28. “While most people were burning up in the U.S., the temperature here was 57 degrees as we were setting up,” said Diaz. “My Dad (Tony Sr.) used to love to come up here with Royal American and later Bill Dillard Shows. He loved the weather, always calling them mild summers.” 

    Diaz said Calgary closed with a bang with attendance on the last Sunday being 116,683, up over last year’s 113,415. Final attendance last year was 1,271,241. This year's was the second highest attended Calgary Stampede ever, trailing only the 100th anniversary event in 2012.

    Headline entertainers, drawing big crowds in the Saddledome were The Zac Brown Band, Sugarland and Tim McGraw. Acts booked in the Nashville North venue included Kiefer Sutherland, Emerson Drive, Granger Smith, featuring Earl Dibble, Jr., the Recklaws, Tebey, Aaron Goodvin, Chad Brownlee, Jess Moskaluke, Andrew Hyatt, Jay Eagleson and David James. Another big attraction on July 8 was Nik Wallenda, walking on the high wire across the NAME Midway. 

    “We had marginal weather the first weekend in Calgary, but it got better as we went along,” said Diaz. He added that the carnival employed 250 workers, a combination of those from the U.S. and those who were hired in Canada. NAME had 60 rides set up. Bobby and Wendy Hauser’s West Coast Amusements booked in seven rides.  Americans with the show in Canada include Dave and Monica Potopas, Paul and Buni Lombard, Beth Negus Gray and her husband, Rick Gray with food. Potopas and Lombard have games, along with Bobby and Jennifer Miles, and Jeff and Arlene Opdam, representing Bobby and Tony Cassata's Bob's Space Racers.

    After Edmonton, NAME heads to Regina for the July 31-August 4 Queen City Expo and plays the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Exhibition, August 6-11, in conjunction with the Hauser's West Coast Amusements. “When we go to Toronto for the Canadian National Exhibition over Labor Day, (Aug. 16-Sept. 2), it's a trip of 1,605 miles from Regina, so we send half our equipment there early,” said Diaz. He pointed out it's great to work with people such as the Hausers. A super baseball fan, Diaz, lamented the fact that the Tampa Bay Rays play in such an outdated venue. “People in Tampa are never going to go to St. Petersburg.” Being a huge baseball fan myself, I can totally relate.

    Entertainment at Winnipeg included the Winnipeg Symphony, appearing for the first time at the event, Trooper, the Crash Test Dummies, and a new Dinosaur Park according to Jodie Johnson, Communications and Events Director. Johnson, who has been Assistant to Gary Roberson at Winnipeg for 11 years, said she worked at the Calgary Stampede for 15 years before that. “It was a great year for us and NAME,” said Johnson.

    Bill and Mary Johnson of A Fantasy Amusements called to tell me they had a successful OABA Jamboree at the July 15-22 Kane County Fair, St. Charles, Illinois. Bill said the fair was kind enough to provide the beer and ice, and Richey and Judy George took care of the food. “Our show only plays three fairs, but they're all in a row. We're used to festivals where we have better hours.” The other fairs, also in Illinois, are DuPage County, Wheaton, July 24-28, and McLean County, Bloomington, July 31-Aug. 4. Bill, a big Chicago Black Hawk hockey fan, had e-mailed me earlier, saying, “I hope you're feeling better. Tell Joe West (my good friend who is a Major League Baseball umpire) to go easy on Joe Madden (Chicago Cubs Manager). He kicked him out again the other day. At least the Cubs won the game. They have been having troubles lately.” Ironically, West, who was heading to work a game in Seattle, stopped off at John A's Restaurant and Bar in Nashville and called to wish me a Happy 86th Birthday on July 18th.  Earlier this year, I had told West that Madden's mother, who is about my age, is still working as a waitress at a diner in Hazleton, PA, near my hometown of Scranton. Cowboy Joe said he couldn't wait to get on him about that, suggesting a lack of interest in helping to support his mom, even though she has made it abundantly clear in local newspaper articles that she loves her job and will never quit. In jest, however, West may have needled Madden again, after the heave ho.

    Carey Harveycutter, Director of Tourism and General Manager for the Salem, Virginia, Civic Center, sent me his annual report on this year's July 3-14 fair. “As you know, we are a free gate fair, but attendance was level with last year when we had an extra day due to July 4th.  Pre-sale tickets, sold through Kroger, were up 19 percent, and Deggeller Attractions was up four percent. That was amazing because we had some of the worst weather in 32 years at the fair that John Saunders and I created.”

    Once again, proving the value of a free gate, Haveycutter said there was rain on six of the 12 days and extreme heat on the final weekend when temperatures topped 93 degrees each day. “We were fortunate that the patrons came late over the weekend and stayed in the adjoining exhibit hall inside the Civic Center to wait out the rain. We have always been proactive when it comes to the weather. We clear the fairgrounds and shut down the rides when lightning is within eight miles. You just cannot risk the welfare of attendees. Some, of course, do not understand, but safety must be paramount. For the same reason, we contracted with Rick Werble as our ride inspector to be on the grounds from opening to the close of our event.” 

    Entertainment, booked direct, included Glen and Karen Woodey's Menagerie, with a petting zoo and barnyard animal races – pigs, ducks, goats and wiener dogs; Rich and Ellen Knebel's Dairy Farm on Wheels; Jill and Jef Eaton's Kandu Magic Stage, and Deborah Lurie's Butterfly Encounter. Booked via Dave Musselman at Capitol International Productions, Negley, Ohio, were Lawrence Frederick's Disc Connected K-9s and the Team Big Air-Basketball Dunking Show. Todd Bolton of Variety Attractions, Zanesville, Ohio, booked Hilby, the Skinny German Juggle Boy, and Cowboy Circus, with Danny Grant. From Salem, Andy and Jamie Deggeller moved part of the show to the Madison County Fair, Madison, Virginia, and Heidi and Beau Pugh, Kathy and Don Deggeller took the other half to the Cecil County Fair in Elkton, Maryland. 

    Harveycutter sent a personal note stating he and his wife still go out and eat Sunday with Binki Teitlebaum, whose late husband, Bob, worked with me for 15 years as a sportswriter with the Nashville Tennessean. Bob later became Sports Editor of the Salem paper. “Binki sends her regards.  Boy, we have some great memories, don't we?”  You're not kidding.

    The Salem Fair has always been kind of special for Christine and me. For many years on our vacation trip to Scranton, we would stop and visit there.  In the early days, Steve Broetsky, who now owns Frazier Shows, took us around the midway when he was concession manager for Deggeller. We received the same excellent treatment in later years from Dale Negus. They were always very helpful in rounding up people for pictures and stories, especially when I was with Amusement Business.

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

    Have all Great Days and God Bless!

  • Thu, July 18, 2019 12:12 AM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)


    This past Tuesday a previous circus animal ban which had been tabled in March was reintroduced by the mayor of Kingman, AZ. I am happy to report the matter was tabled again with the help of several folks who showed up in opposition. The previous ban was being pushed by Animal Defenders International (ADI) and the mayor has openly showed her support of both them and PeTA.

    The Zerbini Family Circus is currently in Maine. They were supposed to play the town of Rockland however after complaints were made to city council over supposed cruelty to animals, the spot was cancelled. Miraculously, the mayor, selectmen, and recreation director of Thomaston, a neighboring town, caught wind of the issue and offered the circus the chance to entertain their citizens instead. If you are in that part of Maine please go see the show July 24th and 25th. It just goes to show that the circus is indeed not dead and people want to see a good show. Thank you, Thomaston!

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