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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.

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

2017 Wisconsin State Fair Photo Gallery

To view photos from the 2017 Wisconsin State Fair, please check out the MCW official photo gallery.  Click here to view.  Posted by Matt Cook on 8/10/2017

North Carolina to require NDT Testing on all Tubular Steel Structures

The North Carolina Department of Labor issued a memo to all amusement device owners stating that effective 8/14/17, all owners of amusement devices designed with tubular steel components such as sweeps, structural supports, or tubular steel used in directed connection to passenger carriers, are required to be tested for structural defects by a certified nondestructive company.  This requirement will be conducted annually in addition to what is required by the manufacturer of record for all devices having tubular steel components in its design.
Owners of devices meeting this design description shall take steps to have their devices testes before they will be certified to operate in the state of North Carolina.  Owners shall present testing results to the NCDOL Elevator and Amusement Device Bureau when completed and prior to set up in the state of North Carolina.

  Posted by NCDOL Press Release on 8/2/2017

Rides Re-Open at Ohio State Fair
Rides on the Amusements of America main midway and kiddieland have been re-inspected and reopened as of Sunday afternoon.  As rides began to operate Sunday, Amusements of America issued the following statement:

"The decision to shut down similar rides around the world and reopen the Ohio midway indicates that this is an issue with a specific ride and not the ride operator or inspectors. There is no evidence that operator error played a role in the accident. We continue to keep those affected by this tragic accident in our prayers and work cooperatively with the ongoing investigation."

As expected, attendance at the fair was down following the accident, however, bounced back on Saturday with an increase of 1,252 patrons over 2016.  

Day 1 / Wednesday: 
2017: 44,996
2016: 43,161 

Day 2 / Thursday:
2017: 35,902
2016: 49,499

Day 3 / Friday:
2017: 42,403
2016: 57,585

Day 4 / Saturday: 
2017: 100,228
2016: 98,976

  Posted by Matt Cook on 7/31/2017

Tivoli Issues Shut Down of Spin Outs
Recently a KMG B.V. Fireball had a catastrophic failure of the connection where the seat support arm is connected to the seat support tube of the vehicle. Not all details are known at this time. The construction of the Fireball seat is the same design as the Spin Out vehicle (also designed By KMG B.V.). KMG B.V. has ordered the shutdown of all affected Fireball and Spin out type ride while the incident is under investigation.  In conjunction with KMG B.V., Tivoli is also requiring the shut down on all Spin Out (El Nino, Maelstrom, The Claw) Rides while KMG B.V. Completes their investigation During this investigation all Spin Out rides manufactured by Tivoli Enterprises Ltd. are now subject to an inspection of the areas surrounding this attachment.

Please click here to download the official bulletin.
  Posted by Tivoli Press Release on 7/28/2017

Kiddie Rides to Re-Open at Ohio State Fair
As of early afternoon on Friday, State of Ohio ride inspectors re-opened the kiddieland at the Ohio State Fair, in addition to the Giant Slide, a permanent attraction at the fair.  The major rides are still being inspected and have not been cleared to operate as of this posting.
  Posted by Matt Cook on 7/28/2017

Happy World Shows to Star in a Reality TV Series
Kevin Exum's Happy World Shows will star in a reality TV Series called Carnival Asia, which will document the true stories and challenges of an American carnival touring throughout Asia.

The show will focus on how the carnival adapts to doing business in a foreign country including different traditions, food, culture, and climates throughout China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Philippines.

Happy World will be teamed with veteran producer Tom Lupo, President of Space Coast Pictures, Inc who will produce and direct the series.  

  Posted by Matt Cook on 7/17/2017

Bipartisan Senators Call on Administration to Approve Additional Seasonal H-2B Visas

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators, led by Tom Carper (D-Del.), a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, including Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Mich.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and John Thune (R-S.D.), sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly urging him to use the authority provided by Congress to lift the cap on seasonal H-2B visas that employers rely on to fill summer jobs. The senators also expressed their concern about reports that visas may not be approved in time for peak tourist season. 

"Businesses in our states, particularly in our tourism industries, rely on the H-2B visa program to hire extra workers in the summer tourism season, when demand is greatest," the senators wrote. "The delay in approving additional visas during much of the peak season could hurt local employers' ability to keep their businesses going and meet demand. We respectfully urge you to use the authority provided by Congress to increase the number of H-2B visas available to seasonal workers, and to work with the Department of Labor to ensure that visas are available as soon as possible."

Last week, DHS confirmed it would increase the number of seasonal H-2B visas, but said that visas will not be available until late in the season, hurting many businesses who rely on seasonal workers. Additionally, reports indicate that DHS may only provide a limited number of visas under the authority. The letter asks that Secretary Kelly increase the number available consistent with the authority provided to him by Congress.

The text of the letter to Secretary Kelly can be found below and in pdf form here.

  Posted by Press Release on 6/28/2017

Department of Homeland Security to Begin Processing H2B Visas
Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly has decided to issue a "limited number" of seasonal guest worker visas, the department announced Wednesday, though they still don't have a total and won't begin to issue them until late July.

The move offers a small amount of relief to seasonal businesses such as landscapers, summer resorts and seafood processors who have come to rely on foreign workers and who say they will be devastated without them.

But the department said the authority granted by Congress came so late that it's likely the number they issue will be relatively small, and probably far less than the approximately 70,000 visas Mr. Kelly could issue.

"We're doing the best we can given the short time frame," department spokesman Dave Lapan said.

Under the law 66,000 seasonal worker visas, divided in half between the winter and summer seasons, are supposed to be available for companies that cannot meet their workforce needs with Americans.

Congress has on occasion boosted the number of visas under what's known as the H-2B program, including in the spending bill that passed in May, which could have more than doubled the number of visas issued this fiscal year.

But lawmakers left the final decision to Mr. Kelly, who has criticized Congress for passing the buck.

He is now working with the Labor Department to come up with the exact number of visas his department can issue, and that are truly needed. Mr. Lapan said the visas will go to businesses where the lack of the foreign workers would hurt American workers who rely on them.

"He's committed to using this discretion that congress gave to go above the 66,000 cap. What that number will be remains to be determined," Mr. Lapan said.

Courtesy of the Washington Times.

  Posted by Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times on 6/21/2017

Jeff Miller Joins Fare Foods as Outside Sales Representative
Fare Foods, a leading outdoor amusement food service company, has announced the hiring of Jeff Miller as an Outside Sales Representative for the Southwest Region.  Jeff brings over 30 years of sales experience to his new role where he will be instrumental in expanding the Southwest Region.  Jeff's home and office will be based in the Dallas metro area. 

"Jeff brings numerous years of sales experience to his new position.  We are excited to have him on our team to further expand our Southwest Region," said Fare Foods President, Ron Porter.

Jeff's career in the outdoor amusement industry began in his early days as Production Manager for various carnival ride manufacturing companies then later transitioning into sales.  He traveled the country working with customers to design, install, and deliver amusement rides.  His impeccable skills resulted in an extremely successful career with his customers.  Jeff later accepted a role as Sales Manager for Chance Rides responsible for all carnival ride sales to U.S., Canada, and Mexico.  In addition to Jeff's new sales position with Fare Foods, he will continue to sell carnival rides for Chance Rides.  

"I am excited about the challenge to learn the inside row of the outdoor amusement industry versus the outside row.  I want to learn everything possible about the food supplied at the carnivals and fairs," Jeff said.  

Jeff's hobbies include working in his yard and watching sports as well as spending time and traveling with his family.

  Posted by Press Release on 6/15/2017

Lawrence Maturo Passes
Lawrence Maturo, 87, of Dawson Springs, KY passed away on Friday, June 2, 2017 at Baptist Health Madisonville.

He was born on May 12, 1930 in Chicago, IL. He was a self employed farmer and he and Lilly were owners of the Great American Carnival. They were considered pioneers of the Outdoor Amusement industry. In his spare time Lawrence enjoyed traveling, fishing, boating and loved spending time with his friends and family.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Lillian Mitchell Maturo; and his son, Larry Maturo.

Survivors include his sons, Ricky Maturo and wife, Kristene of Dawson Springs and Greg Maturo and wife, Edwina of Madisonville; daughter, Gayla Peach and husband, Harold of Dawson Springs; granddaughter, Sherrie Love and husband, Paul of Austin, TX; grandson, Shawn Maturo and wife, Amanda of Madisonville; several great-grandchildren; and sister-in-law, Hilda Brake and husband, Fred of Wood Dale, IL.

The funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at Covenant Community Church in Madisonville with Dr. Michael Knight officiating. Harris Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. Burial to follow at Dunn Cemetery in Dawson Springs.

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until the funeral hour Tuesday at the church.
Pallbearers are Frank Davidson, Jerry Uzzle, Ricky Tapp, Shawn Maturo, Harold Peach, Jr. and Marvin Miller.

Condolences may be made to the family at

  Posted by Matt Cook / Obiturary on 6/5/2017

JKJ Workforce Agency is urging carnivals, fairs, festivals, suppliers, and anyone who is affiliated with the outdoor amusement industry to email the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor and urge them to begin processing H2B Visa Applications immediately. 

If you have your workers, if you do not have your workers, I urge you to continue to tell the "Big Truth" in emails both DHS and DOL, tell your story (again and again and again) and stress that every single day that you do not have your workers is a day that you lose $______, that your local sponsors lose $_______ and that your US and Foreign workers both lose.  Ask your suppliers, sponsors, fair boards, US Workers, friends and family to email and explain how this unnecessary delay has negatively affected all of you. Speak positively about your US Workforce, do not speak of any negatives (drug use, prefer benefits to work, etc.,) because that gets us nowhere.  Simply speak about the unique nature of your particular seasonal business and why with nearly full employment US Workers prefer year round jobs that do not involve the special circumstances (seasonality, travel, etc) of your job opportunity.  

Please email your requests to each of the following on a daily basis until the cap is raised:  Posted by JKJ Workforce / MCW on 6/2/2017

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