We are a vital part of American families and Fundraising for Non-Profits
We work with community, civic, and other non-profit, charitable organizations, including church groups, Volunteer Fire Departments, Shriners, Lion Clubs, VFW Posts, and many more. Revenue created by these civic events support their benevolent causes, provide educational scholarships for young people, and purchase life saving fire fighting, medical and other equipment. These are just a few of causes that rely on our industry as a major fundraising tool.
We support American Agriculture and Youth Programs
State and local agricultural fairs are one of the primary showcases for American farmers and growers. Fairs provide opportunities for the agriculture community to demonstrate the importance and value of farming and agriculture to our economy and our nation's food security. The partnership between the mobile amusement industry and the agricultural fairs provides an opportunity for youth participation via 4-H competitions, auctions, and other activities, while raising tens of thousands of dollars each year in scholarships, helping to ensure a future generation of farmers and agricultural leaders.
We are Small & Family Run Businesses
OABA represents some 2,500 members, 200 carnivals, 15 circuses and hundreds of traveling food/game concessionaires in the United States. The vast majority of our members are small, family businesses, many in their second and third generation of ownership. They rely heavily on seasonal labor to supplement their full time staff and to ensure that their operations run smoothly and professionally during their busy months.
We are an Economic Engine in Your Community and On the Road
Our industry is a vital driver for the national – and local – economy. According to one study of data from 2002, the fair business in California alone, (which represents 12% of the national population) generated:
- Economic impact of more than $2.5 Billion dollars
- Taxes and fees of more than $136 million
- Jobs for more than 28,000 American Citizens
California Fair Study
We are regulated at the State and Federal Levels
Our industry is highly-regulated at the federal level by, among others, OSHA (workplace safety), DOT (transportation), CPSC (products/ride safety), as well as at the state level.
In addition, our seasonal guest worker hiring and labor practices are subject to the Department of Labor's H-2B requirements in order to qualify for visas for foreign labor. Employers must, among other things, advertise in industry and community publications, post job openings on their company website, display help wanted signs at their place of business, participate in job fairs, and provide incentives for existing workers to refer friends, etc. Despite all of these actions, this seasonal industry is still not able to secure a workforce of qualified, U.S. labor.
Our employees are the face of our industry. Well-trained and professional workers are essential to ensure our visitors a fun, safe and friendly experience. To that end, we invest heavily in training and recruiting and believe that these investments pay off. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to recruit workers who are willing to travel for up to 6-10 months at a time. For that reason, the industry relies on a combination of American workers and foreign workers through the H2B visa program.
All carnival and fair workers are subject to criminal background checks and drug and alcohol screening. They must be willing to work in all weather conditions and must be physically able to lift weight. In addition, they are required to meet certain grooming standards. And of course, they must pass an I-9 screening and be willing to pay taxes.
In return, our workers are compensated at a US Department of Labor approved wage of approximately $10 per hour, plus housing and transportation (valued at approximately $3-5 per hour, depending on locale). The H-2B program also requires employers to cover the costs of visas and travel to and from their home country. Workers are provided uniforms and are subject to rigorous training programs to ensure that they have the skills and competencies necessary to operate rides and other equipment, service food operations and run games and concession stands.
Our industry enjoys an 85% return rate on foreign workers. In many instances, our returning guest workers have become part of the “family” atmosphere in the mobile amusement industry and participate in recreational outings, sporting events, and other employee activities provided by the show owner.