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The Industry Buzz

The Industry Buzz features carnival, amusement park, fair and festivals news direct from the lots. If you have newsworthy information that you would like to share on, please email For full feature news articles and exclusive interviews, please check our news and interviews section.

H2B Update: Get The Press to Cover You

Two articles on the current H2B visa cap crisis recently appeared in major newspapers; one in the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the other in the Denver Post. Both articles were excellent. We need a similar article in every local newspaper across the country.

Every H2B employer has to advertise in its local paper as a condition of getting DOL approval. This gives them the 'in' with editors to ask the paper to do a story on the critical shortage of seasonal labor which has been compounded by the lack of H2B visas. 

Step-by-step guide

  1. Go to your local paper's website. Click on "contact us" to locate the email address for the newspaper's editor;
  2. Use the SEA template letter for your email to the editor. Click here for the template letter.

There is nothing new to report on the inclusion of (or lack thereof) cap relief in the upcoming Omnibus spending bill. Negotiations are ongoing. I will send out an update as soon as I have one. It is vitally important that you keep up the pressure.

Click here for the latest instructions on the specific ask of your Members' of Congress.

  Posted by Gray Delaney, Seasonal Employment Alliance on 3/14/2018

Ray Cammack Shows Purchases KMG Konga from Mike Demas
MCW confirmed that Ray Cammack Shows purchased a KMG X-Factory, themed Konga, from Mike Demas.  The extravagantly themed X-Factory made its US debut in 2017, however, played very few events due to a change of business by Mike Demas.

The ride is equipped with water fountains, a operator booth, fully integrated sound system, and a RGB color changing light package.

It is currently being operated at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (Houston, TX) through March 18.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 3/12/2018

Passing of Ron Morris
Recently retired OABA Director, Ron Morris passed away peacefully last night, after recovering from extensive heart surgery in New York City.  As the former owner of Spotlight Graphics, a Sarasota, FL, Ron's love was always the circus and carnival industry, after his first experience at the CNE in Toronto in 1952. 

His industry experience as a business owner, show producer, booking agent, concession manager, and advance promotion and marketing background in both the United States and Canada provide Ron with many opportunities to have fun in the industry.  

Ron was an active member of Showfolk's of Sarasota (past president), IISA, OABA, NICA, IAFE, SLA, and the Circus Producers Association, which gave him a large network of industry associates, clients and most of all many good friends.  

OABA's former Chair Wayne McCary, who knew Ron for close to 30 years, enjoyed traveling with him to Europe, to attend the International Circus Federation meetings, the annual European Circus Federation's Competition in Monaco and visit with his European showmen and friends.  

Wayne says, "He had sawdust in his shoes.  His love for the business took him to every corner of the World, where he had legions of friends. His last circus adventure carries on with great crowds in Hawaii." 

Our deepest sympathy to his wife, Arlene, his trusted wife, companion and fellow traveler.

  Posted by OABA / Bob Johnson on 3/8/2018

Second Half of FY2018 H2B Visa Cap Met on March 1
On March 1, 2018, USCIS announced that it had received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the congressionally mandated H-2B cap for FY 2018. During the first five business days USCIS received approximately 2,700 H-2B cap-subject petitions requesting approximately 47,000 workers, which is more than the number of H-2B visas available. As a result, USCIS, in accordance with applicable regulations, conducted a lottery February 28 to randomly select enough petitions to meet the cap. USCIS will reject and return the petitions and associated filing fees to petitioners that were not selected, as well as any cap-subject petitions received after February 27.

  Posted by Matt Cook via USCIS on 3/1/2018

Miami Showmens Association Raffle

The Miami Showmen's Club needs your help! Each year, the MSA holds a raffle which is the club biggest fundraiser of the year.  The MSA has some tickets unsold and the raffle is on March 6, 2018.

How it works:
  • Tickets are $100
  • Only 500 tickets are sold
  • A large board is put in place with 500 squares.
  • Tickets are serial numbered 1 through 500. Your name is put on the board with the corresponding ticket number you have purchased.
  • All the tickets are put in envelopes and drawn.
  • The 1st ticket drawn receives $500. 
  • The 25th ticket drawn 50th, 75th and every 25th ticket afterwards receives $500.
  • The 497th ticket drawn receives $1000
  • The 498th ticket drawn receives $1500
  • The 499th ticket drawn receives $1500
  • The grand prize ticket receives  $10,000
  • There are 22 ways to win!

This year its easy to purchase this ticket by phone by calling the club at(954) 967-0073 with a debit card.  Please call in and help support the club and have a chance of winning $10,000!

  Posted by Matt Cook on 2/28/2018

Ed Inners Passes Away
It is with the saddest of hearts, that we report to you the death of Ed Inners, of Inners Shows.  On Wednesday night, Mr. Inners, was attempting to cross a road on Greenville Blvd., Greenville, NC when he was hit by a car heading east.  Mr. Inners, was in town working at a nearby carnival site.
Please keep the Inners family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time.

Funeral services for Edward M. Inners, Jr. will be held at 2:00 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2018 in the Chapel of Bright Funeral Home, 405 S. Main St., Wake Forest. Burial will follow in New Light Baptist Church Cemetery in Wake Forest.

Visitation will be held 6:00 - 8:00 pm Monday, February 26, 2018 at Bright Funeral Home & Cremation Service.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 2/23/2018

Show Painter Dennis Gilli Passes
It is with great regret to announce the passing of Dennis Gilli.  Dennis spent much of his life as a show painter, and most recently owner of a fun house, and a great friend to many.  He will be deeply missed.

A memorial gathering will take place Saturday, February 10th at 1pm at the IISA Showman’s Club in Gibsonton.  Please attend to share "Denny stories" and celebrate his contribution to all our lives"

  Posted by Matt Cook on 1/28/2018

Firestone Financial adds new team member & programs ahead of Gibtown 2018
Firestone Financial is excited to announce that Rich Gockelman will be joining the team as a Commercial Account Executive for the carnival and amusement park industries. Rich has several years of relationship lending experience and will be joining industry veterans Pete Aldrich, Donna Joyce and John Vangel at the 50th IISF Gibtown Trade Show and Extravaganza and the NICA Business Expo & Food Fare in February.

Carnival and park customers can take advantage of Firestone's industry exclusive program, which allows customers to pay for only half the season on new loans. Any customer that funds a new loan by Memorial Day of 2018 can choose to either cut their seasonal payments in half or hold off on making their first payment until midway through the 2018 season.

In additional to this program, Firestone Financial also offers guidance lines of credit to qualified customers. A Firestone credit line may be used for new and used rides, light packages, bunkhouses, winter quarters, insurance and maintenance. Borrowers must apply for the credit line. Establishment of the line does not carry any cost or obligation to the customer; standard loan terms and conditions will apply only when the line is used.

You can visit Firestone Financial at the IISF Trade Show in Gibtown, February 6-9 at booth 1128-1130 or visit

  Posted by Carol Francis on 1/19/2018

Keenan Family Sells Ye Old Mill Ride to Minnesota State Fair

The oldest attraction at the Minnesota State Fair, the Ye Old Mill, has been sold to the Minnesota State Fair.  John Keenan Sr. and his family have owned and operated the attraction for over 102 years, spanning over five generations.  The Minnesota State Fair will now operate the attraction.  

"Ye Old Mill is a living connection to the State Fair's storied past," said General Manager Jerry Hammer. "We're grateful to the Keenan family for creating and maintaining this gem, and we will carry on their century-long tradition of making memories for millions of Minnesotans."

"It has been an incredible experience sharing this tradition at the Great Minnesota Get-Together. We are so pleased the State Fair will continue this tradition for future generations," said John Keenan Sr.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 1/15/2018

Richard George, Sr. Passes
It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Richard George, Sr., of George's Fun Foods of Gibsonton, Florida.

A viewing will be held on Monday, January 15 from  6-midnight and the funeral will be held on Tuesday, January 16 at noon.  Services will be held at Hillsboro Memorial Gardens located at 2323 W Brandon Blvd Brandon, FL.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 1/14/2018

H2B Visa - Fraud Alert
It has come to our attention that Neil Munro of Breitbart is calling around asking to speak to H-2B employers. His is apparently identifying himself as merely a "Washington DC reporter" instead of referring to the organization he works for, Breitbart. 

Munro is well-known for articles hostile to H-2B. I and several other H-2B program participants (two or three agents and two very credible employers) met him for lunch several months ago. After the meeting he understood that many of his prior H-2B statements were 100% inaccurate. We hoped his future reporting on H-2B would reflect the things he learned from our meeting but instead he has doubled down on his previous lies.

Neil Munro cannot be trusted. It is our advice that you do not speak with him. He is looking to reaffirm his preconceived narrative and will twist your words to fit that narrative. If you choose to speak with him, be on guard. You have nothing to hide but reporters are excellent at getting out of their interviewee what they want to hear.
  Posted by Seasonal Employment Alliance on 12/19/2017

2018 Carnival Calendars - NOW SHIPPING
2017 Carnival Photo Calendars are now shipping!  Quantities are limited!  Get yours today!

Since 2003, the carnival photo calendar has become a tradition in everyones home or office for over 15 years.'s 2018 Carnival Calendars are available exclusively through!  Unlike anything of it's type, the calendar is professionally printed on gloss stock and features over 72 photos of carnivals and concessions from around the country.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 11/27/2017

Broward County Fair kicks off Friday with a variety of midway operators
The resurrected Broward County (Fla.) Fair starts Friday at Gulfstream Park with a carnival midway consisting of about 60 rides and attractions. In addition to his own rides, fair producer Harlan Bast has booked equipment from Modern Midways, Rides of Utica, Michael's Amusements, Geren Rides, Deggeller Attractions and Oscar's Amusements, among others. In addition, independent ride owner Butch Van Hull has booked his Zyklon coaster. Independent concessionaire Nigel Carley is managing the food and game operation with 75 games set up for the event. Fair admission is $10 and the most expensive ride wristband is $25. For the two Midnight Madness specials on the fair's two Fridays, gate admission is free after 10 p.m. The fair runs through Nov. 26.   Posted by Don Muret on 11/15/2017

SLA Announces Annual Christmas Party
Chicago, IL - The Showmen's League of America (SLA) announces the annual Christmas Party at The Hanson Park Elementary School at 5411 W. Fullerton Avenue, Chicago, IL on December 8th. Each year, SLA volunteers and donors partner up to entertain and provide two Christmas shows for hundreds of underprivileged and disabled students.

Santa, Rudolph, and Guy and Charlene Leavitt of Ray Cammack Shows will be there as well as many volunteers. Every child will receive a stuffed animal, cotton candy, and popcorn while they watch the showpeople perform on stage, this year headed by Tim Balster of Balster Magic Productions.

On December 7th, members and friends are invited to the SLA headquarters at 1023 W. Fulton Market, Chicago, IL for dinner and camaraderie.

The SLA would like to thank Christmas Party Chairmen Peter Kasin and Donnie Massie, III for coordinating the event along with all of the volunteers and stock donors. Special thank you's go to Dave Jaros and Patti Grillion for the dinner, Fundways of Illinois, Fare Foods, and Gold Medal.

  Posted by Cindy Henning on 11/8/2017

Firestone Financial Announces "Take Half The Season Off" Promotion
Needham, MA - November 6, 2017 - Firestone Financial, the leader of financing in the carnival industry, is offering customers the ability to only pay for half the season for new loans. Any carnival or amusement park that funds a new loan by Memorial Day of 2018 will only need to pay for half the season for the first year. For borrowers that have a seasonal schedule that runs from May to October, payments would only be made from August to October in 2018; payments for subsequent years would follow the seasonal schedule.

In additional to this program, Firestone Financial also offers lines of credit to qualified customers. A Firestone credit line may be used for new and used rides, light packages, bunkhouses, winter quarters, insurance and maintenance.

Interested parties are encouraged to visit Firestone Financial at IAAPA, booth 1813 or call 800-851-1001 ext. 42 for more information.

  Posted by Firestone Financial on 11/6/2017

Jeff Shuper of NAME passes away
Industry veteran Jeff Shuper passed away late Thursday evening in a tragic car accident.  Jeff was a friend to many and was an outstanding ride foreman for North American Midway Entertainment.  

Viewing will take place at 5pm on Thursday, October 19, 2017 at:
Dougherty Funeral Home
2615 First Avenue
Hibbing MN, 55746

Funeral service will be held at 10am on Friday, October 20, 2017 at:
First Lutheran Church
2201-3rd Avenue East
Hibbing, MN 55764

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of "Jeff Shuper" to the Showmen's League of America Scholarship fund.  Donate online at

  Posted by Matt Cook on 10/13/2017

Chuck Waterman Passes
Veteran show owner Chuck Waterman passed away on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at the age of 60.  Chuck owned and operated Calkins Midways for many years before selling the show to Alan and Barb Larkee in 2017.  Chuck still traveled with the show operating concessions.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.  

Arrangements are as follows:

Visitation:  OCT 14. 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Funeral to follow at noon

St. Jacobi Ev. Lutheran Church
8605 W. Forest Home Av.
Greenfield, WI, US

  Posted by Matt Cook on 10/11/2017

Bob Coleman Passes
Bob Coleman, owner of Coleman Brothers Shows and OABA 1989 Trustee passed away at his home late this week at the age of 91 (two weeks shy of his 92nd birthday).

Funeral and visitation information is as follows:
The Wake will be held on October 12 from 5-8pm at:
Coughlin-Lastrina Funeral Home
491 High Street in Middletown, CT f

Funeral Mass will be held at on October 13 at 10am:
Pius Catholic Church 
310 Westfield St Middletown Ct

Burial will follow at Indian Hill Cemetery on 383 Washington St. in Middletown.

  Posted by Matt Cook / Obiturary on 10/7/2017

Former Delaware State Fair Manager, Dennis Hazzard passes
MILFORD - On Sept. 3, 2017, Dennis S. Hazzard passed away at The Country Rest Home in Greenwood.

He was born on Nov. 25, 1941, in Milford to Jean and Walter Hazzard.

Dennis graduated from Milford High School in 1959 and began his radio broadcasting career at the local station, WTHD. He then went on to other radio stations including WAFL. Dennis later switched careers to become the Assistant General Manager at the Delaware State Fair. He occupied this position for several years before being appointed General Manager. He retired from this position in 2007.

He was a longtime member of the Board of Directors of the Delaware State Fair. He was also a member of the International Association of Fairs and Expos and the Maryland Association of Agricultural Fairs and Shows.

Dennis enjoyed listening to music, reading and watching movies, especially old movies. He also enjoyed going to Broadway shows and traveling. For several years he conducted bus tours to Nashville, Tenn. for the annual Fanfare.

Dennis is survived by his wife of 48 years, Vivian (nee Wilson); and his two children, Amy Slonacher and her husband Garrette, and Mark Hazzard and his wife Kim. He also leaves behind his beloved grandchildren, Nicholas, Tristan and Brendan Slonacher. Also surviving are brothers, Roy, Walter, Dean and Richard Hazzard; sister, Jill Cohee; and several nieces and nephews.
  Posted by Obituary on 9/11/2017

Minnesota State Fair Sets All Time Attendance Record
The 2017 Minnesota State Fair set record attendance with 1,997,320 people passing through the fairs turnstiles this year, surpassing the previous record of 1,943,719 set in 2016.  The fair broke single day attendance records on Monday, Aug. 28, with 144,504 visitors; Friday, Sept. 1, with 187,066 visitors; and Sunday, Sept. 3, with 242,759 visitors.

New to the fair was the Midway Sky Eye, the USA's largest portable giant wheel owned by Wood Entertainment and Wade Shows.  The new wheel rode over 124,958 passengers at the fair.
  Posted by Matt Cook on 9/8/2017

New York State Fair Sets Attendance Record
In 2016, the New York State Fair set an all time attendance record of 1,117,630 patrons through its gates.  In 2017, the fair shattered that record with an estimated attendance of over 1.3 million visitors.  During the 13 day run, the fair set three daily attendance records including a new record for the largest single-day attendance recorded at the fair.

Other Labor Day weekend State Fairs have yet to finalize their attendance numbers, although, entering their final day, Minnesota and Nebraska were on pace for record years as well.  
  Posted by Matt Cook on 9/4/2017

Happy World Shows Makes China Debut
Happy World Shows of Cedar, Park Texas begins it's Asian tour in Northern China.
It is scheduled to do 4 events in China within the next 10 months. It will then travel on to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and The Philippines.

The Bodecker Group is filming daily for Space Coast Pictures which is producing the adventure for a US reality TV show.

  Posted by Press Release on 9/1/2017

Ms. Mary Panacek Passes
It is with great sadness to announce the passing of Ms. Mary Panacek who passed away this morning.  Ms. Mary was mother to Charles Panacek, owner of Belle City Amusements. 

Celebrating the life of Mary John Panacek

Viewing:  Friday, September 1st from 2-4pm and 7-9pm
Service: Saturday, September 2nd at 3pm

Baldwin Fairchild ; Oakland Park Cemetery & Chapel 
5000 County Rd 46a
Sanford FL 32771

Flowers can be arranged through the funeral parlor at (407) 322-4263
  Posted by Matt Cook / Obiturary on 8/30/2017

2017 Minnesota State Fair Photo Gallery
MCW visited the Minnesota State Fair Monday and Tuesday.  Click here to view the official photo album of the 2017 fair.  Posted by Matt Cook on 8/30/2017

Patricia Bohlander Passes
Patricia L. Bohlander, age 85, of Milton, Indiana, passed away Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at Reid Hospital in Richmond, Indiana after a brief illness. She was born on December 20, 1931 in Abington, IN to Cecil and Evelyn (Hamm) Wilson and had lived all her life in the Wayne County area.

Pat was a 1950 graduate of Milton High School. She was a member and deaconess of the Milton Christian Church, CWF, and In and Around Home Economics Club. In 1966 she and her late husband, Jack, established and operated Poor Jack Amusements, Indiana's largest family owned carnival. She was a member of the Outdoor Amusement Business of America, and the Showmen's League of America, the St. Louis, and Chicago Chapters.

She is survived by two sons, Gary (Kerry Ruth) and Tim (Christy) Bohlander both of Cambridge City, Indiana; three daughters, Nancy (Perry) Frost of Hagerstown, Kelly Bohlander (Roger Robinson) and Becky (Brandon) Nieukirk both of Cambridge City; a sister, Linda (Murel) Clark; thirteen grandchildren; fifteen great-grandchildren; several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Besides her parents she was preceded in death by her husband Jack Bohlander in 1997.

Funeral services will be at Waskom Capitol Hill Chapel in Cambridge City on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at 12:00 noon with Scott Moistner officiating. Burial will follow in Westside Cemetery in Milton, IN. Friends may call at the funeral home on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 from 12:00 noon until 8:00 p.m. and on Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. until start of services at noon.

Memorial contributions may be made to Milton Christian Church.
Online condolences to

  Posted by Obituary on 8/16/2017

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