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  • Thu, May 09, 2019 2:59 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)
    U.S. On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices*  
    (dollars per gallon) full history
              Change from
      04/22/19 04/29/19 05/06/19   week ago year ago
    U.S. 3.147 3.169 3.171   values are up 0.002 no change 0.000
    East Coast (PADD1) 3.174 3.194 3.190   values are down -0.004 values are up 0.012
    New England (PADD1A) 3.217 3.236 3.245   values are up 0.009 values are up 0.030
    Central Atlantic (PADD1B) 3.370 3.385 3.379   values are down -0.006 values are up 0.043
    Lower Atlantic (PADD1C) 3.033 3.057 3.051   values are down -0.006 values are down -0.010
    Midwest (PADD2) 3.042 3.058 3.064   values are up 0.006 values are down -0.028
    Gulf Coast (PADD3) 2.917 2.939 2.927   values are down -0.012 values are down -0.028
    Rocky Mountain (PADD4) 3.143 3.183 3.186   values are up 0.003 values are down -0.063
    West Coast (PADD5) 3.696 3.730 3.765   values are up 0.035 values are up 0.103
    West Coast less California 3.309 3.346 3.345   values are down -0.001 values are down -0.064
    California 4.003 4.035 4.097   values are up 0.062 values are up 0.234
    *prices include all taxes
    https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/gasdiesel/
  • Wed, May 08, 2019 10:45 AM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    New SEA Logo

    May 8, 2019

    Dear SEA members,

    The rule outlining the filing instructions for the additional 30,000 visas has been published in the Federal Register. 

    A few items of note:

    You must sign an attestation form attesting to the following items:

    Your business will suffer irreparable harm if you do not receive your H-2B workers;

    The workers you petition for have held H-2B status during one of the last three fiscal years (2016, 2017 or 2018).

    On page seven of the rule it says that "petitions submitted pursuant to the FY 2019 Omnibus will be processed in the order in which they were received." This leads one to believe that applications will be processed in the order which they are received but keep in mind this exactly the same language as the 2018 rule.

    Petitions submitted pursuant to the FY 2018 Omnibus will be processed in the order in which they were received.

    In 2018 USCIS held all applications for five days in order to determine if a lottery was necessary. I would encourage you to get your applications submitted in as timely a fashion as possible but keep in mind that there is a decent chance USCIS may hold a lottery if the demand exceeds the supply.

    Based off of feedback from our member agents, we estimate that the demand for the visas will be in the 30,000 range, give or take a few thousand. The returning worker provision lessens the demand due to the lack of eligible returning workers.

    I will be in touch soon with our comprehensive strategy regarding obtaining a permanent fix this year.

    Regards,
    Gray Delaney

  • Thu, May 02, 2019 5:00 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    When Dennis Fraleigh and Richie Wright started off on their own in the carnival business, they decided that having something different was the way to go. “It was the 1980s and there was a health-conscious craze taking place across the country, so we decided to offer salads on our menu, recalled Fraleigh. The two had been working for Marty Valentino, whose son, Vinnie, is still in the business, before deciding to buy him out. Their first trailer was purchased from Rene Piche, a well-known food concessionaire from Ware, Massachusetts, who was traveling with 12 to 14 of his own trailers at the time. The trailer had been built by the late Bill Lordy.

                “It cost us $12,000, and we already had a solid route.” It included such locations as the New York State Fair, Syracuse, Erie County Fair, Hamburg, N. Y., the Columbia County Fair, Chatham, N. Y., Orange County Fair, Middletown, N. Y., and Dutchess County Fair, Rhinebeck, N. Y., which the late Pat Reithoffer once told me was the biggest five-day fair in the country. I visited when Tom Odak was manager and it lived up to its billing. I'll never forget Odak, whose wife was from Wilkes-Barre, Pa., near my home town of Scranton, that each year he purchased a full-page advertisement in the New York Times to publicize the fair. Asked if that wasn't costly, the wily Odak winked and said he had a contact at the paper in the Sales department who made sure he got a good rate.

                At some point, Fraleigh bought out Wright, who wound up marrying Cindy LaGrou, whose father, Dick, had been the longtime AB agent for Deggeller Attractions when it was known as Deggeller's Spectacular Magic Midways, and owned by the late Irv and Evelyn and Alan and Toby Deggeller. Evelyn still has equipment on the road and is partnered in Stuart Concessions with Todd Desgranges and Joe Blume. They travel with R. C. Cole Shows of Covington, Virginia.

                Andy Deggeller, an OABA director, now runs the carnival while his parents, Don and Cathy, are still very much involved. Don was president of OABA in 2004. According to Fraleigh, Richie and Cindy now reside in Sarasota, Fla., and travel independently with several food stands selling fried dough, funnel cakes, and sugar shaker shakeups at fairs that include The Big E and Columbia, South Carolina.

                “We started off with a truck and trailer for $12,000. It was very easy for us to get into the business, and we never looked behind. It took us a year to get into The Big E. Because of some changes, Art Pokorny who was then in charge of concessions, needed a salad and London Broil, so he booked us.” Pokorny and his wife, Barbara, now specialize in selling pizza with their B. Wilson Enterprises stands.

                Fraleigh was happy to hear that his stand was the seventh highest grosser at the Miami-Dade County Fair for selling kabobs. The specialty for Dennis and his wife, Susan, is London Broil sandwiches. “We seem to be the last people standing with that because it requires so much work,” said Fraleigh. While playing Miami since the first time it went to 18 days, which he believes was 1982, this was his first time to try selling kabobs. “With London Broil, it's like fishing. You need a lot of bait,” he said.

                Speaking of the fair, which had a huge spike in attendance this year, Fraleigh admitted, “It was better than it has been in recent years.” But it wasn't like when Fuchs (E. Darwin Fuchs, president and CEO emeritus) and Bob Negus (Conklin Shows) were running it. You had carnival guys in charge then, and then the next two guys (Phil Clark and Bob Hohenstein) operated it more like a park. The new guy (Eddie Cora) is listening, and he made several notable changes for the good. The parking charge was eliminated. They got rid of Magic Money, and the fair shows signs of getting back to what it once was. But even with great promotions and excellent weather, Miami is a tough market.”

                Laughing about his kabobs stand finishing in the top 10, Fraleigh said his Fluffy Doughnut stand, named for his wife's nickname, “probably finished in the bottom 10.” He's in partnership with Laura Westphal on that and it did well at last year's Big E (Eastern States Exposition), West Springfield, Mass. “but we're still working out the kinks. It's a beautiful stand with a Century Products trailer.”
                So far this year, besides Miami-Dade, Fraleigh has worked the Rick Vymlatil-managed South Florida Fair, West Palm Beach, where he said the weather was bad but his business was good, and the Paul Davis-managed Florida Strawberry Festival, Plant City, “which was REALLY good. I think the entertainment was better than usual, and that made a big difference.”

                Fraleigh added, “There are just so many concessionaires at these Florida spots. When business is good in the Sunshine State, it means the economy is good, and it's a good sign for the rest of the year.” His next booking is a car sale at the fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, N. Y. His first fair is the 178th annual Saratoga County Fair, Ballston Spa, N. Y., July 23-28. “Next is Sussex County (the New Jersey State Fair, Sussex County Farm & Home Show, Aug. 2-11).” He then added, facetiously, “I don't have the honor of playing The Meadowlands (State Fair Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N. J., June 20-July 7),” a not so subtle dig at the high number of concessionaires who book there.

                Dates following that include the Wisconsin State Fair, West Allis; Erie County, Hamburg, N. Y.; Dutchess County, Rhinebeck, N. Y.; Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul; New York State Fair, Syracuse; The Big E, West Springfield, Mass; Georgia National Fair, Perry; and North Carolina State Fair, Raleigh. He reminisced about some spots that have gone by the wayside because the property they were on was too valuable, such as the Yonkers Raceway Fair in New York, that was operated by Big Bill Harding for the Rooney family that owns the National Football League's New York Giants. Another was a fair at a race track in Bensalem, Pa., where Reithoffer Shows played. “I always heard about those and wished I could have played some of them.” I told him that Harding often called me in the middle of the fair and put me on the phone with a bunch of carnival people while they were all sitting around and cutting up Jackpots. I miss seeing Harding at the Gibtown trade show.

                Fraleigh stated that obtaining good workers is always an issue. “But we have a small pool we always draw from. We don't use foreign labor. We rely on locals and find a way to manage.”

                When they were the Salad Boys, their trailer stood out at the biggest spots, but it didn't take too long to go from specializing in Greek and chef salads to more carnivorous items, thus the current name of the operation, Butcher Boys. “When people come to a fair, they usually don't look to healthy items.”

    While noting that fuel prices continue to rise, Fraleigh hopes to keep from raising any of his prices. He relies on Fare Foods and Cisco for most of his products, while using commissaries at fairs where it is required. He charges $10 for a London Broil sandwich. As for gas, “it is what it is.”

                The Fraleighs now reside in Hobe Sound, Florida, and his shop is in Rhinebeck, N. Y. Asked about hobbies, Fraleigh said he plays some golf, but lists cars, collecting watches and playing drums in a local band among his favorite things to do. The band plays around Hobe Sound, Jupiter and Stuart, Fla, and features ride inspector Jim Caskey, who used to be with Conklin Shows, playing bass.

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

  • Thu, May 02, 2019 5:00 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    WEST ALLIS, Wis. – April 30, 2019 – Wisconsin State Fair Park CEO Kathleen O’Leary is excited to announce the promotion of several employees as part of a re-organization that creates more clearly defined divisions within the organization, each overseen by a Chief Officer. The divisions include Finance, Marketing, Operations, Police & Public Safety and State Fair Programming.

    “I am humbled by the incredible talent of the Wisconsin State Fair Park staff,” said Kathleen O’Leary, Wisconsin State Fair Park CEO. “When I became CEO, it was my vision to create a newly organized structure that streamlined management while offering advancement opportunities and empowerment to the entire staff.”

    Shari Black has been named Chief Programs Officer, overseeing the State Fair Programming Division. Black was hired at State Fair Park in 2016 as the Senior Director of Event Services, focusing on non-fair events as well as SpinCity, the State Fair’s Amusement Ride and Game area. In her new position she will serve a key role in the strategic planning and success of the annual Wisconsin State Fair, including management of Attractions & Rides, Agriculture, Competitive Exhibits, Entertainment, Guest Relations, and Vendor Services. Black served on the board of the Wisconsin Association of Fairs for six years, and as president in 2016. She currently serves on the International Association of Fairs (IAFE) Foundation Board of Trustees and the West Allis Business Improvement District Board. Prior to joining the team at State Fair Park, she was the director of the Waukesha County Fair for 15 years and has a degree in Communication and Business Administration from Carroll University.

    Chris Kowieski has been named Chief Operating Officer, overseeing the Operations Division. Kowieski joined the State Fair Park staff 24 years ago as a facilities laborer, working his way up to a Facilities Shift Supervisor before his career took a different path. He is proud to have worked for 10 years as a high school Social Studies teacher and served as a United States Army Reservist for eight years. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Five years ago, he returned to State Fair Park as the Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds, moving up to Director of Facility Services. In this new role Kowieski will oversee Facilities, Event Services, Transportation, Gates and Parking. He has a B.A. in Secondary Education from UW-Eau Claire and M.S. in Business Administration from UW-Milwaukee.

    Jen Puente has been named Chief Marketing Officer, overseeing the Marketing Division. Puente has worked at State Fair Park for nearly 15 years in various sponsorship and marketing roles, most recently serving as Director of Marketing & Partnerships since 2016. She has grown sponsorship revenues significantly year-over-year and has managed an impressive 85 percent sponsor retention rate average each year. She was instrumental in securing the fair’s first ever presenting sponsor, U.S. Cellular, in 2006. Puente is a former chair of the IAFE YPI (Young Peoples Initiative) committee, teaches sponsorship training courses for the IAFE and currently serves on the Wauwatosa Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. In her new position, Puente will oversee Advertising, Sponsorship, Marketing Communications, Creative Services and Group Sales. She has a B.A. in Business Administration with a Marketing emphasis from UW-Eau Claire.

    Jaime Kwiatkowski has been named Director of Entertainment, Events & Guest Relations, serving within the State Fair Programming Division. She will book entertainment for the Main Stage presented by Potawatomi Hotel & Casino and several other stages and events during State Fair, as well as oversee the Guest Relations Department. Kwiatkowski first began working at State Fair Park in 1999 in the special events department and was promoted to Entertainment Director in 2002, a position she held through 2006. She returned to State Fair Park in 2012 to manage the newly created Group Sales Department and Guest Relations, increasing group ticket sales 170 percent since the first year of the program. Kwiatkowski has degrees in both Mass Communication and Communication from UW-Milwaukee.

    State Fair Park’s Finance Division will continue to be led by current Chief Financial Officer Timothy Miles. Miles has been with State Fair Park for two years. Prior to this position he worked in Public Accounting, auditing state and local governments, as well as non-profit organizations. He then worked in Higher Education before being hired as WSFP Controller and being promoted to CFO.

    The Police & Public Safety Division will continue to be led by Chief James Bruno. Bruno has served as the Chief of Police for State Fair Park since 2013. He has been a member of the State Fair Park Police Department for 18 years and formerly served in the City of Greenfield Police Department, beginning in 1979.

    Kathleen O’Leary and Steve Reinhardt will oversee all State Fair Park divisions. O’Leary has officially served as CEO of Wisconsin State Fair Park since October 2016. She has worked for Wisconsin State Fair Park for 22 years in various positions, including Interim CEO, Chief Operations Officer and Director of Marketing, Communications, and Sponsorship.

    Steve Reinhardt will continue to serve as Deputy Executive Director, a role he has held for two years. Reinhardt has 18 years of experience at State Fair Park having formerly served as Chief Services Officer, as well as Director of Vendor Services.

    Wisconsin State Fair Park is a year-round entertainment venue hosting hundreds of events and meetings annually throughout the four seasons, including the annual Wisconsin State Fair, presented by U.S. Cellular. It is home to the Exposition Center, Tommy G. Thompson Youth Center, Milwaukee Mile Speedway, Wisconsin Products Pavilion and many other facilities.

    Welcoming an average of one million guests each year, the Wisconsin State Fair offers a unique experience to all who attend. Featuring Wisconsin’s largest agriculture showcase, 30 FREE entertainment stages, exciting rides and games in SpinCity, countless family-friendly activities and food galore, the fair is a tradition that can’t be missed. The 2019 fair will take place Thursday, Aug. 1 – Sunday, Aug. 11, For the most up-to-date information, visit WiStateFair.com  or join the conversation on Facebook Twitter ,Instagram Pinterest YouTube  and Snapchat .

    # # #

  • Thu, May 02, 2019 5:00 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)
    U.S. On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices*  
    (dollars per gallon)full history
              Change from
      04/15/19 04/22/19 04/29/19   week ago year ago
    U.S. 3.118 3.147 3.169   values are up 0.022 values are up 0.012
    East Coast (PADD1) 3.153 3.174 3.194   values are up 0.020 values are up 0.032
    New England (PADD1A) 3.205 3.217 3.236   values are up 0.019 values are up 0.033
    Central Atlantic (PADD1B) 3.342 3.370 3.385   values are up 0.015 values are up 0.064
    Lower Atlantic (PADD1C) 3.015 3.033 3.057   values are up 0.024 values are up 0.015
    Midwest (PADD2) 3.010 3.042 3.058   values are up 0.016 values are down -0.025
    Gulf Coast (PADD3) 2.899 2.917 2.939   values are up 0.022 values are down -0.007
    Rocky Mountain (PADD4) 3.082 3.143 3.183   values are up 0.040 values are down -0.032
    West Coast (PADD5) 3.651 3.696 3.730   values are up 0.034 values are up 0.090
    West Coast less California 3.252 3.309 3.346   values are up 0.037 values are down -0.048
    California 3.967 4.003 4.035   values are up 0.032 values are up 0.201
    *prices include all taxes

    www.eia.gov

  • Thu, April 25, 2019 11:54 AM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    I was hoping to reach Joey Fowler, who had two games in the top 10 at the March 14-April 7 Miami-Dade County Fair, but when Patty Dee, concession manager, gave me his phone number it made me wonder what he was doing in Philadelphia, since the first three digits were 215, which cover that area.
    After a no answer and generic voice mail, I decided to try my go to guy, David Starkey, of Arnold Amusements, who always seems to have an answer for everything. Starkey had to hang up his phone, search for the number, and call me back. It was the same one I already had, so I tried again.
    When Fowler answered this time, I wondered what he was doing in the land of one of my favorite baseball teams, the Philadelphia Phillies. His silent response was one of what are you talking about. He then said, “I'm in China.” China, what the hell are you doing there? I asked, and he said, “I came over with Abe Hammer of Best Toys, Brooklyn, New York, to pick up stock. We're buying containers of goods to bring back to the U. S. I've been over here four or five times before, but since I buy from Abe, I wanted to learn more about the process, and he's helping me with that. It's a different world.”
    Fowler's mom, Lavon, was once married to my wife, Christine's former brother-in-law, John McCarthy, who had Dar-Jon food concessions, and traveled with such carnivals as World of Mirth, Rod Link, Milt Kaufman's Gooding's Million Dollar Midways, the James H. Drew Exposition, and others.
    Fowler's late grandparents, Joe and Thelma Spalding, were highly respected concessionaires from Gantt, Alabama, which had a population of 222 in 2010.  Joey spent several seasons handling the merchandise on the Ozzy Osborne tours. “They don't have any of those daytime festivals anymore, so I haven't done that in a while,” he said, adding, “that was quite an experience, actually, a good one.”
    Fowler's balloon dart game was the fifth highest grosser at Miami-Dade, and his double decker vertical water game came in ninth place. Both were purchased from Denny's Electronics of Nokomis, Florida. Denny Bartosik won the OABA's Pioneer Award in 2017, and while I'm thinking about it, Marilyn Portemont of Johnny's United Shows, Andalusia, Alabama, which is 8.6 miles from Gantt, received a Distinguished Service Award. Marilyn's late husband, Johnny, was inducted into the OABA Hall of Fame in 2003, Andalusia's 2017 population was 8,787, and get this, Gantt's was 215, yes, that's correct. I know Gantt had several bars because every time Bill Lordy, Terry (The Viking) Erickson, and I called McCarthy, he was in one. Fowler, who grew up in Gantt, now resides in Venice, Florida.
    So far this season, Fowler has set up his games at the Florida Strawberry Festival, Plant City, Florida State Fair, Tampa, and Miami-Dade. His next spot will be the Empire State Fair at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N. Y., (Long Island), May 3-19. The fair is owned and operated by Al Dorso; Strates Shows has the midway. Fowler books independently, with North American Midway Entertainment, Frank Zaitshik's Wade Shows, and Charles Panacek's Belle City Amusements. Among other highlights on his route are the Iowa State Fair, Des Moines, and Wisconsin State Fair, West Allis.
    Realizing that the games business has undergone drastic changes in recent years, Fowler said, “You have to be able to adapt. Change is inevitable. You have to make sure you change with the times. Games, as you well know, have always been at the bottom of the food chain, but the economy is so good now that people have that extra money to spend after admission, food and rides. The season has been very good up to now, and I'm optimistic that it will continue. I think this is going to be a big year.”
    For Lou Pacifico and his wife, Vicki, who have been playing Miami-Dade since 1977, “this was our best ever, unbelievable,” according to Lou, who heads up the Meatball Factory. Their daughter, Nicole, and her husband, Ryan Collmer, had the No. 2 food stand with turkey legs, and were fourth, with barbecue. Pacifico was fifth, with corn dogs.
    “And if you eliminate the two beer vendors, we were eighth with Burger Bobs, run by my son-in-law, Robert Diaz, and his wife, Rose, and ninth, with a chicken stand run by our son, Aaron Pacifico, and his wife, Kristen. Fair officials said that counting the whole family, we grossed more than $1 million.”
    Asked what made the difference from previous years, Pacifico pondered and said, “First of all, the weather was very good. The new president and CEO, Eddie Cora, made sure there were plenty of promotions, including two $3 Wednesdays. The first was not so big, but the second was tremendous. Last year there was a $10 charge for parking, and they eliminated that, and they did away with the so-called Magic Money, which never worked at this fair. Plus, the carnival (North American Midway Entertainment, led by Tony Diaz) looked really good. When a fair will work with us, we will always produce. We opened our season at West Palm Beach (the Rick Vymlatil-managed South Florida Fair), and we were way up, despite rain and bad weather. We had six stands in there,” said Pacifico.
    Next was the Cheryl Flood-managed Florida State Fair, Tampa, where The Meatball Factory had two stands booked on the independent midway. “We were up there. It was okay.” Upcoming are the Howard County 4-H Fair, Greentown, Indiana, July 8-13; Elkhart County 4-H Fair and Agricultural Exposition, Goshen, Ind., July 19-27, and the Cynthia Hoye-managed Indiana State Fair, Indianapolis, Aug. 2-18.
    Something different is occurring this year in Elkhart, where fair President Joseph Culp has announced that opening day will include $5 First Friday specials. Examples of bargains include a $5 gate admission, a free ride on North American Midway Entertainment's Ferris Wheel from 5pm to 6pm, and food deals. Kevin McGrath's Best Around Concessions is offering a smorgasbord of tasty treats ranging from jumbo corn dogs to funnel cakes, fruit smoothies, and Saratoga chips. Pacifico, no doubt, will be part of the action, after loving the $3 deals at Miami-Dade.
    Pacifico said he used to book with Conklin Shows, but his route is now all independent except for one unit with NAME at The Big E (Eastern States Exposition), West Springfield, Massachusetts. One of his latest hot items is a dilly dilly corndog, which is basically a hot dog inside a dill pickle.”We introduced it at Goshen last year, sold it for $8, and the fair helped us to publicize it. We did the same at The Big E, and it was hard to keep up with the sales, unbelievable.”
    For supplies, Pacifico deals with Hopkins Food Services of Cairo, Ga. He is also part of Storm Services, along with Tommy Hopkins, Charley Cox, Dennis and Cheryl Reas of Carousel Foods, and others. “I have been doing business with them for 30 years and Tommy is a man of his word. If he tells you a price, that's exactly what it is. We hope to hold our prices the same this season, but with the rising costs of fuel, we may have to reconsider. We have to go up north, no way around that.”
    Pacifico sees many signs pointing to a very good season. “Last year was good. The economy is fantastic. People are spending and at Miami-Dade, I never saw so many $50 and $100 bills coming across the counter, so many of them. Credit cards account for about 18 per cent of our business.”

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

  • Tue, April 23, 2019 11:02 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)
    U.S. On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices*  
    (dollars per gallon)full history
              Change from
      04/08/19 04/15/19 04/22/19   week ago year ago
    U.S. 3.093 3.118 3.147   values are up 0.029 values are up 0.014
    East Coast (PADD1) 3.137 3.153 3.174   values are up 0.021 values are up 0.032
    New England (PADD1A) 3.193 3.205 3.217   values are up 0.012 values are up 0.046
    Central Atlantic (PADD1B) 3.324 3.342 3.370   values are up 0.028 values are up 0.075
    Lower Atlantic (PADD1C) 2.998 3.015 3.033   values are up 0.018 values are up 0.005
    Midwest (PADD2) 2.993 3.010 3.042   values are up 0.032 values are down -0.005
    Gulf Coast (PADD3) 2.879 2.899 2.917   values are up 0.018 values are down -0.019
    Rocky Mountain (PADD4) 3.028 3.082 3.143   values are up 0.061 values are down -0.038
    West Coast (PADD5) 3.591 3.651 3.696   values are up 0.045 values are up 0.080
    West Coast less California 3.189 3.252 3.309   values are up 0.057 values are down -0.057
    California 3.910 3.967 4.003   values are up 0.036 values are up 0.188
    *prices include all taxes
    https://www.eia.gov/
  • Tue, April 23, 2019 11:42 AM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    EASTERN STATES EXPOSITION DONATES $236,423
    TO THE BIG E/WEST SPRINGFIELD TRUST FUND
    Second Largest Donation to Date

    Eastern States Exposition President and CEO, Eugene J. Cassidy made a donation of $236,423 to The Big E/West Springfield Trust Fund, the second largest gift in the fund’s history. The amount represents 1% of the Exposition’s gross revenues for 2018 and contributions to the Fund, including this year’s gift, now total $4,236,423. The check was presented in a special ceremony held at Town Hall April 23.

    “The support of youth, elderly and education in our hometown is of great importance and the Exposition is pleased to have continued the tradition of donating to this fund annually for the past 25 years. Every qualifying town organization or agency should consider applying for a grant to supplement its important projects,” Cassidy said.

    Fund trustees award a percentage of the donation to benefit education, youth and the elderly in West Springfield and leave the remainder to accrue. Trustees of the Fund are West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt, Cassidy, and Attorney Mary Paier Powers.

    Read entire press release here >>>>

  • Thu, April 18, 2019 1:30 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    A record attendance of more than 130,000 was recorded for the 33rd annual Clay County Fair, Green Springs, Fla., held April 4-13, according to Jackie Collins, office assistant to GM Tasha Hyder.

    Dale Negus, concession manager for Deggeller Attractions, which has provided the carnival midway from the beginning of the event, said there was a little rain on the first Saturday, “but the last two days were very big.”

    Negus, who has been with the carnival since 1974, when he was 13, said Green Cove Springs put a big capper on three dates that were within 35 miles of each other. They were the Bradford County Fair, Starke, where Negus said it was cold, but the fair continues to grow, and the Putnam County Fair, East Palatka. “They had two weekends, and it went as well as it always does.”

    Negus, who played collegiate football at Georgia Tech, under Coach Bill Curry, said, “Green Cove Springs just keeps growing. It is an unbelievable community event. Everybody with the show, including Andy Deggeller, an OABA director, and his wife, Jamie, are in awe of what they do. They had some really big name acts, more than usual, and when they tore the stage down they sold out for a couple of tractor pulls.”

    Collins, who has worked at the fair for 10 years, said former manager, Pete Sutton, dropped by for the kickoff luncheon ceremonies, and opening day. She said the talent included Devon Dawson and Drake White, Marshall Tucker, Big Daddy Weave, Shenandoah, Joe Diffie, Big and Rich, Roots & Boots, featuring Aaron Tippin, Sammy Kershaw, and Collin Raye, Jordan Davis and Jimmy Allen, and Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers. Acts were booked through 4 Walls Entertainment, of Auburndale, FL.

    Other entertainment included The Barnyard Cackle Revue, Da Johnson Power Band, Rosaire's Royal Racers, Disc-Connected K9s World Famous Frisbee Dog, Dennis Lee Band, Team T&J, Sweeney Family Band, Xpogo Stunt Team, Mac Ganoe, Agri-Puppets, and Dan Dan the Farmer Man.

    Booking with Deggeller were Gloria and Bobby Myers with their New York New York Funhouse, and a truck kiddie ride, and Michael Lauther with an Orbiter, two Funhouses, Tilt, and Pizza Stand. Perry Ristick came in with five games. Regulars with the show are Rob Myers and Alieta Hopp, with games, a grab joint, and a Yo Yo, and Puppy Ride. Assisting Negus and his wife, Sharon, with their Fair Play Games was their son, Dale Jr., 24, who graduated from Methodist University in Fayetteville, N. C. He is accompanied by his fiancee, Zane Vissera. They plan to marry on Nov. 28, 2020. That's what he said.

    The show's Scott MacNeill, the son, not the father, had the show's new Pinfari Klondike Roller Coaster, a Looping Star RL 42 model, set up with Ray Cammack Shows at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. It's the only Looping Coaster in the U. S. MacNeill said it moves on six trucks, has two Gondolas that hold 12 passengers each, and it was purchased from a carnival in Ireland. Originally manufactured for an amusement park, it was refurbished by Deggeller, with new scenery added. This is Deggeller's fourth Coaster. The others are what MacNeill described as the L&T Wild Mouse, SDC Wildcat, and Zierer Flitzer. It's MacNeill's job to move the KMG Hydra, KMG Space Port, which is called a Speed; Huss Enterprise, Huss Flipper, and Huss Top Spin Jr., which is currently being refurbished. Among the spectaculars set up at Green Cove Springs were the Chance Giant Wheel, Wildcat Coaster, which Deggeller calls the Riptide, Hydra, Speed, and Enterprise.

    In the official wrap-up of the March 14-April 7 Miami-Dade County Fair, Melissa Lichtenheld, Group Account Director for Wragg & Cass Strategic Communications, said attendance was 552,404, which represented an increase of 21 per cent over 2018. Eddie Cora, first year president and chief executive officer, was quoted, in part, as saying, “We are extremely pleased with the outcome.

    “Our strategy was to give guests the best value for their dollar and the numbers show we succeeded. Once again, we thank our concessionaires for their generosity toward our Scholarship Program. Their annual fundraising event (a golf tournament) contributed more than $60,000.” He added that North American Midway Entertainment's most popular ride was a Double Decker Carousel.

    Successful promotions included two $3 days on March 20 and April 3, drawing nearly 30,000 guests for $3 admission, $3 select foods, and $3 games. Pay-One-Price unlimited rides were $23, a savings of $5. The 21-day admission pass saw a 28 per cent increase over the previous year of sales, which was 2017, because that was not offered in 2018. As NAME's Tony Diaz said, “It was a great run.”

    I received a message from Darrell Desgranges, the Mizuno Pro, which said, “Tom: Glad to hear you are doing well after surgery. Our team in the Miami-Dade County Red Thornberry/Youth Fair Scholarship Golf Classic at the Melrose Country Club on April 1 comprised of Butch Netterfield, Jeff Blomsness, Duke Trombetti, John John (John Marconi), and Scotty Lane.” Trombetti, by the way, who once was in the carnival business, is now golf pro at the Country Club of Coral Springs.

    Desgranges noted that April 1 was also the birthday of Blomsness and to celebrate, he converted a 30 foot putt. “Over 650 steak and lobster dinners were served at the fairgrounds in the Netterfield Food Court, and Dennis Fraleigh's (Butcher Boys) provided the music.”

    Continuing, Desgranges, who is very good at providing me news, said he and Butch were still bummed out about Lou Piniella not making Baseball's Hall of Fame, “one vote short.” Butch and Lou grew up together while Butch lived in Trailer Village (Fowler and Nebraska) in Tampa. Others who lived in the park included Chris Christy, Danny Fleenor, Joie Chitwood, Jack Coxman, and many other notables from the business. Trailer Village was also the largest Spartan trailer dealer in the 1950s.

    “Butch tells of the Chitwoods practicing a new stunt in the park, of blowing up a casket with a person in it with dynamite.” That had to be Benny (Boom Boom) Koske). Desgranges said the charge was overloaded, blowing the windows out of most of the trailers in the park. I believe it.

    Desgranges finished with, “Spring is close in Michigan and Outdoor Mizuno Golf Promotions start this Saturday (April 6). Thanks for keeping us informed about the business.” Signed, “Your friend, Darrell Desgranges.” What memories he conjured up about Pinella, great player and manager whom I recall most as the right fielder for the New York Yankees; Christy, a huge Boston Red Sox fan, and former first class food operator, Fleenor,  who had the Hurricane Hell Drivers, and Joie Chitwood, whose daredevil thrill show I enjoyed watching numerous times at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.

    Patty Dee, concession manager at Miami-Dade, informed me that Bruce Beck, who was the No. 8 food grossing operator, is the fair's new beer vendor. “His company name is Professional Concessions, Inc., and he does the alcohol at the South Florida Fair in West Palm Beach.” Dee also said that Vicki Hunter, who came in 10th, with Fries, was Vicki’s last time she played the fair. I guess she got married.

    Michael Kramer, whose Funtime Foods was No. 1 again, with roasted corn, said his next booking isn't until the Ohio State Fair, Columbus, where he sells tater tots. Other fairs on his route include Erie County, Hamburg, N. Y.; New York State, Syracuse; State Fair of Virginia, Richmond; North Carolina State Fair, Raleigh, and for the second year in a row, Georgia National Fair, Perry. “We wound up having a great experience there last year and doing well, despite losing a day to the hurricane.”

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

    Have all great days, and God Bless!

  • Thu, April 18, 2019 12:17 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)
    Some good news and bad news on the legislative front -- 

    MO HB 559, the Working Animal Protection Act (to protect the use of animals in entertainment, exhibition, commerce, etc.) passed the Missouri House this week and is now being considered in the Senate Agriculture Committee.

    RI SB 167, to prohibit the use of wild or exotic animals in traveling animal acts, had a hearing on April 4, and the Committee recommended the measure be held for further study (which means the bill is most likely dead for the year, but we will keep monitoring just in case)

    CA SB 313, to ban the use of wild/exotic animals in traveling acts, unfortunately passed favorably out of the Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee this week.  It has now been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Please see the Pending Legislation Chart for further details.

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