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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.

Joe Vivona, releases new single

A new single from Joe Vivona, son of Amusements of America's Morris Vivona. Joe was on NBC's hit reality show, The Voice and is now making a career in the music business. Take a listen and show him your support from his friends in the carnival business.

  Posted by Ron Weber on 5/30/2017

EK Fernandez Shows adds Wisdom Seven Seas
Hawaii based EK Fernandez Shows announced the purchase of a new Seven Seas ride from Wisdom Rides.  The Seven Seas is a platform style ride with a nautical theme, similar to a Moby Dick or Avalanche.  The Seven Seas will debut this weekend at the 50th State Fair.  Also debuting at the 50th State Fair for the first time is a KMG Speed attraction, booked on by Texas based ARMCO Thrill Rides.  

  Posted by Matt Cook on 5/26/2017

Department of Homeland Security Schedules Teleconference About H2B Visa Program
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invites you to participate in a teleconference listening session on Thursday, May 25, from 2 to 3:30 p.m EST, to provide feedback on the H-2B nonimmigrant visa classification. We are interested in your feedback on the fiscal year 2018 omnibus appropriations legislation and, in particular, the impact that any potential increase in the number of H-2B workers may have on U.S. workers.

To join the teleconference:

Use the information below to join the session. We recommend calling in 10 to 15 minutes before the teleconference begins.
  • Toll-free number: 1-800-369-3341
  • Toll number if you are calling from outside of the U.S.: 1-773-756-4716
  • Passcode: H2B

This is intended for the DHS to get opinions from those who DO NOT WANT THE CAP RAISED and who will say that the raising of the cap will lower wages and adversely affect US Workers.  It is important that we must all be on the call to overwhelmingly show that is not true.  
  Posted by JKJ Workforce / Press Release on 5/24/2017

H2B Visa Processing - ACTION NEEDED!
We need your help to urge the Secretary of Homeland Security to immediately re-open H-2B processing.   Please call and email the Department of Homeland Security's Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman and express the need for Department of Homeland Security to resume processing H-2B petitions immediately.  Please explain the economic impacts to your business and your American workers if you are unable to hire H-2B workers this year.  Please also encourage your American workers to call and explain how their jobs are impacted by the lack of H-2B workers.  

The Ombudsman's contact information is below:
Phone:  1-855-882-8100 (toll free)

  Posted by JKJ Workforce on 5/22/2017

Firestone Financial is excited to announce that Broadway Amusement Rides, LCC is the winner of our Take a Break on Us Sweepstakes. The winner was awarded $4,000 towards the vacation of his choice.

Based out of Myrtle Beach, Broadway Amusement Rides, LLC is responsible for managing and operating the two existing amusement ride areas of Broadway at the Beach, North Carolina's biggest festival entertainment center. The amusement ride operator has long standing ties to Firestone Financial, with owner Bill Prescott having been a Firestone customer for the past seven years.

"We just want to thank Firestone for running this contest and for being a great company to work with," said Bill Prescott. "They've been an amazing partner these last few years and our experience with them keeps getting better."

"Congrats to Broadway Amusement Rides on winning the Take a Break sweepstakes. We had a great turnout for this quarter's contest and love that we can give something back to our customers. We hope Bill has a relaxing trip and can't wait to see even more people involved in our next contest," said Tony Costanza, Assistant Vice President.

  Posted by Firestone Financial on 5/12/2017

H2B Visa Update - May 10 - TAKE ACTION

As you know, President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 into law on Friday.  The law allows the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor, to approve additional H-2B visas.  
The President signing the law was a wonderful first step, but we now need to convince DHS to quickly implement this provision of law and immediately resume H-2B processing.  

We need the help of every H-2B Stakeholder, Supplier, Fair or Festival TODAY. 
Senator Tillis (R-NC), Senator King (I-ME) and Representative Harris (R-MD) are circulating that attached joint Senate-House letter to the Secretaries of DHS and DOL asking them to immediately resume processing H-2B visa petitions as is allowed under the FY17 Consolidated Appropriations Act.  

This is a very rare bicameral, bipartisan letter and we need your two senators and your member of Congress to sign on to the letter.  We have TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY to get this done.

Please call and email your Senators and Representative and ask them to sign the attached letter being distributed by Senators Tillis and King & Representative Harris.  You can reach your elected officials through the Capitol switchboard at 202-225-3121.

  Posted by JKJ Workforce on 5/10/2017

KMG Announces NEW Ride Concept
KMG announced that they have designed a new 16 person capacity ride on one semi-trailer. The new ride will be available in the summer of 2018 and it will be priced less than a KMG X-Factory. KMG claims that the ride can be set up in only 20 minutes. The ride will have a LED (RGB) lighting package as default, runs on 400 V / 125 Amps and the overall weight will be approx. 20.000 kg.

Like any other KMG ride this new ride will be very easy to move, set up and handle. It only takes 2 persons to set it up and to operate it.

The description is as follows: 2 vertical towers, with each a revolving arm. The 2 arms hold a platform. On the platform there are 2 rotating (spinning) gondolas that carry 8 passengers each. The arms and gondolas rotate with a variable speed (RPM). The platform, and thus the gondolas, always stay up right. The ride is designed for riders from approx. 48 inches. The ride has a small footprint of 14,4 x 8,8 mtrs. (47.2 x 28.9 ft.).
  Posted by KMG / Peter Theunisz on 5/3/2017

H2B Visa Update - May 1
Early this morning, Congress reached a bipartisan agreement on a bill to fund the federal government through September 30, 2017.

Thanks to a massive effort from everyone in the H-2B community, the bill contains limited H-2B Cap Relief.

The House and Senate need to move the bill through both houses of Congress and then it needs to be signed by President Trump prior to May 5, 2017.

The compromise language, with key Republican and Democrat legislators making their voices heard, provides the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor, the authority to raise the H-2B cap when the Secretary of Homeland Security determines that there is an economic need.  

It limits the total number of H-2B workers to that may enter the US during fiscal year 2017 a number that should be sufficient to cover the anticipated need for H-2B workers.

After the bill is passed by Congress and signed by the President, the H-2B community will need to work with the Administration to encourage the Secretary of Homeland Security to implement this provision.  The Secretary is NOT MANDATED to implement provision, so depending upon word from the administration, we may need to rally the troupes for targeted phone calls to move this along.

The exact language in the bill is:

SEC. 543. Notwithstanding the numerical limitation set forth in section 214(g)(1)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(g)(1)(B)), the Secretary of Homeland Security, after consultation with the Secretary of Labor, and upon the determination that the needs of American businesses cannot be satisfied in fiscal year 2017 with United States workers who are willing, qualified, and able to perform temporary nonagricultural labor, may increase the total number of aliens who may receive a visa under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b)) in such fiscal year above such limitation by not more than the highest number of H2B nonimmigrants who participated in the H2B returning worker program in any fiscal year in which returning workers were exempt from such numerical limitation. 

  Posted by JKJ Workforce on 5/1/2017

Help The H2B Program - Call to Action

JKJ Workforce is urging supporters of the H2B program to call their senators and ask them to support the letter drafted by Senator Flake (R-AZ) that urges leadership to support the returning worker exemption.

Many carnivals and concessionaires have been denied their workers this year due to the visa cap.  Relief may be in sight with your support!

STEP #1:
Click HERE to view Senator Flake's letter to leadership.

Call your senators and ask them to support Senator Flake's letter concerning the returning worker exemption for H2B visas.  Call the capitol switchboard at 202-225-3121 to be connected to your senators (you have two), or click here to look them up online.
  Posted by JKJ Labor / MCW on 4/12/2017

Support H2B - Sign the Petition!
If you are involved in the amusement industry or support it, please sign the petition to help save the H2B Program!

  Posted by Matt Cook on 4/7/2017

Act Today to #saveH2B
With the 2017 H2B Visa Cap met, many shows were denied foreign workers for 2017.  This left many shows and concessionaires in our industry in a pinch trying to find dependable employees for the upcoming season.

Fortunately, there may be hope in re-instating the returning worker exemption for 2017, which would give cap relief to those who had been denied.

Congress must address federal spending bills for the remainder of fiscal year 2017 by April 28 in order to avoid a government shutdown.  The primary opportunity that we have for getting the Returning Worker Exemption reenacted and saving the H-2B program for this season is by inclusion of the language in the spending bill that must be passed by that date.  Congress needs to hear a steady drum beat from H-2B users across the country if we are going to be successful in reinstating the returning worker exemption through a year-end spending bill.  Your help is crucial in this endeavor.

Today & tomorrow week we need you to do the following:

Call and email your Representative and ask him or her to sign onto the attached letter that Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) is currently circulating. It will be sent to House leaders.  This Thursday is the deadline to sign onto the letter.   You can reach your Representative through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121.  To find out who your Representative is please click here.  To download Andy Harris' letter, click here.

If you have not already done so, please call and email your two Senators and ask them to cosponsor the Save our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act, S. 792, that was introduced last week by Senators Tillis (R-NC), King (I-ME), Thune (R-SD), Collins (R-ME), Rounds (R-SD), Cornyn (R-TX), Murkowski (R-AK), Blunt (R-MO) and Warner (D-VA).  You can reach your Senators through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121. To find out who your two Senators are, click here

Please also tweet at your elected officials and encourage them to pass H-2B cap relief immediately.  You can also thank your Senators if they are cosponsors of S. 792 or encourage them to cosponsor this bill if they have not yet done so.
  Posted by JKJ Labor / MCW on 4/4/2017

2018 Gibtown Trade Show Reduced to 4-Days
The International Independent Showmen's Association announced that the 2018 IISF Gibtown Trade Show and Extravaganza will be reduced to a four day show, opening Tuesday, February 6 and concluding on Friday, February 9, 2018.  In recent years, the show opened on Tuesday and closed Saturday, however, many vendors felt that reducing the total number of days would be more beneficial.  The 2018 trade show marks the shows 50th anniversary.  More information on the IISF Trade Show can be found on the IISA's web site at  Posted by Matt Cook on 3/21/2017

H-2B Cap Hit for Second Half of 2017
Thursday evening, the Department of Homeland Security announced that the 33,000 H-2B cap for the second half of fiscal 2017 was reached on March 13. According to DHS, March 13, 2017 is the "final receipt date" for H-2B worker petitions for fiscal year 2017. The "final receipt date" is the date on which USCIS determines that it has received enough cap-subject petitions to reach the annual limit of 66,000 H-2B workers. The following petitions are exempt from the cap:

  • Current H-2B workers in the U.S. petitioning to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers;

  • Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians and/or supervisors of fish roe processing; and

  • Workers performing labor or services from November 28, 2009, until December 31, 2019, in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam.
  Posted by Matt Cook on 3/17/2017

Deggeller Attractions purchases KMG Speed; new Hydra expected next month
Andy Deggeller announced the purchase of a new KMG Speed for delivery at the 2019 IISF Trade Show in Gibtown.  The Speed will sport a custom theme complete with backwall scenery, which, the theme is to be determined.  Deggeller will be taking delivery of their new KMG Afterburner, themed, Hydra next month.


  Posted by Matt Cook on 3/13/2017

Showmen's League Canadian Chapter Elects Richard K Spear as New President
The Showmen's Leaque of America Canadian Chapter held its annual Past Presidents Dinner on February 16 at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto.  The club elected Richard K Spear as its new president.  Congratulations Richard on your upcoming presidency!
  Posted by Matt Cook on 3/1/2017

Jimmy Coffield Jr. Passes
Life long food concessionaire Jimmy Coffield Jr. passed away suddenly in his sleep this morning. Jimmy loved the amusement industry and most notably, the people in it. Jimmy resided in Durham North Carolina and traveled with his father on many shows up and down the East coast. Jimmy is survived by is wife Becky and his 2 daughters daughters Victoria and Brooke. Jimmy's sense of humor and smile made him beloved by others. If making people laugh was an Olympic sport, he would have been a gold medalist.

  Posted by Obiturary on 2/22/2017

Maple Leaf Purchases New Rides for 2017
At the Michigan Association of Fairs & Exhibitions Convention in Grand Rapids, January 12-14, Erin and John Fitzgerald owners of Maple Leaf Amusements, announced several new major ride purchases.  The show based in Brekenridge, Michigan will enter the 2017 season in April with the addition of a Mulligan Sea Ray and a Chance Yo Yo.  The Show also added a brand new Watkins Expo Wheel with all LED lighting in July last year and a Wisdom Himalaya in 2015.  The show also added the Kalamazoo County Fair, August 7-12 to its route.  Maple Leaf Amusements plays a variety of festivals and county fairs in Michigan and Indiana.  

  Posted by Michael Prelesnik on 2/20/2017

Midway Sky Eye Opens at the Florida State Fair
The Wade Shows 46 meter Midway Sky Eye made its debut at the Florida State Fair today.  The ribbon cutting was held on the fairgrounds after inspection was completed.  Frank Zaitshik, the ride's co-owner, Adam Putnam, Commissioner of Agriculture, Cheryl Flood, Florida State Fair Executive Director, Doyle Carlton, FSFA Board Chairman and other board members and Chamber of Commerce members joined to cut the ribbon and open the ride to the public.

The first rides were taken by the board members and dignitaries as well as 100 lucky "Golden Ticket" winners that were chosen to be among the first to ride.

The ride was delayed for opening when it was delayed at customs after coming in from the Netherlands.  After a weekend delay, the ride was setup while Denny's Electronics assembled the and installed the lights for each 75' sweep.  

  Posted by Ron Weber on 2/13/2017

Wade Shows signs Buc Days in Corpus Christi
Buc Days of Corpus Christi, Texas announced the signing of Wade Shows to be their new carnival for the 2017 event.  In order to accommodate Wade Shows, Buc Days shifted its calendar one week into May.  The 2017 event will run May 4-14.

"Buc Days is pleased to partner with Wade Shows. After researching and touring  carnival operators across the nation, we have found a premier operator that will bring Corpus Christi some of the largest, most exciting rides in the industry with customer service presentation second to none" says Johnny Philipello, President and CEO of the Buccaneer Commission.  

"We are incredibly honored to be chosen to provide the midway for such an outstanding event", said Frank Zaitshik, President of Wade Shows.  "We will be bringing  Buc Days amazing new spectacular rides, many never before seen at the event, along with some great family and kiddie rides, all presented in an amusement park-like setting.", he added.

Wade is expected to bring a full set of midway amenities such as benches, landscaping, guest relations areas, cell phone charging stations, and much more to the event.
  Posted by Matt Cook on 2/6/2017

Ed Murphy of Modern Motors Passes
Ed Murphy of Belleville, Illinois based Modern Motors passed away on January 27, 2017.  Ed was known throughout the industry as a truck salesman to the carnival industry for years and was always able to lend a helping hand to his friends and customers.  Although Modern Motors went of of business 15 years ago, Ed still worked selling new and used trucks on a smaller scale.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Murphy family and their friends.  

According to the Showmen's League of America, Andy Schoendienst spoke with Ed's son, Michael, who wanted everyone to know the funeral arrangements are still being worked on but consideration for the showfolks is right up there with the family.  And, in lieu of flowers or any other form of tribute, Ed wanted all memorials to take the form of donations to:

Showman's League of America, St. Louis Chapter, Scholarship Fund.
c/o Phil Tomber 2311 Chestnut st. St Louis MO 63103

Funeral arrangements will be posted as soon as they are announced.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 1/27/2017

Industry Veteran Bobby Leonard Passes
Carnival industry veteran Bobby Leonard passed away on January 27, 2017.  Bobby was a life-long concessionaire and was a supporter of the International Independent Showmen's Association in Gibsonton.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the Leonard family.

Service will be held on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at the International Independent Showmen's Association in Gibsonton from 12 noon until 3pm.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the SRV Scholarship Committee, P.O. Box 3359
Riverview, FL 33568.
  Posted by Matt Cook on 1/27/2017

New York State Fair adds Sky Ride, Extra Day for 2017
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday the second phase of the states revitalization of The Great New York State Fair Fairgrounds.  The second phase upgrades include an Aerial Gondola for visitors traveling from the fairgrounds to Lakeview Amphitheater in 2018; a new Aerial Sky Ride on the midway with midway partner Wade Shows  in 2017, a new on-ramp to I-690 West and Orange Lot improvements; and construction of a new multi-use, 80,000 square-foot hybrid building and expo center.  The approved upgrades are valued at over $70 million.

In addition to new construction, the fair announced it will be expanding its operating schedule to 13 days.  The fair will open on Wednesday where as the fair opened on Thursday in previous years.  On the non-fair calendar, four additional major events will be hosted at the state fairgrounds in 2017.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 1/23/2017

Elliotts Amusements optimistic about 2017 season
Elliott's Amusements had a successful weekend at the 132rd Annual Convention of the Michigan Association of Fairs & Exhibitions (MAFE) at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Owners Debbie and Tracy Elliott visited with fair boards and committees throughout the weekend at their trade show booth.  They are optimistic about the 2017 season which includes a strong route of Michigan county fairs during the months of July and August.   Debbie reported three major purchases in 2016 were highly successful including an ARM Ali Baba, a Sellner Bear Affair, and a Watkins Tempest.  Although no major ride purchases are planned for this year, the show will be bringing out a refurbished Chester Built elephant ear concession that looks like new, and last fall Tracy completed a new state of the art winter quarters and shop building in Dansville, Michigan.   Operations managers Nick and Kasey Elliott as well as patriarch Jim Elliott also attended the convention. The show opens the 2017 season on April 6 in the mid-Michigan area.

  Posted by Michael Prelesnik on 1/20/2017

Marko Popovich Jr. Passes
It is with great sadness to announce the passing of veteran showman, Marko Popovich, Jr. on January 16, 2017.  Visitation will be held at the National Cremation & Burial Society located at 308 E. College Ave in Ruskin, Florida on Thursday, January 19 from 12 noon until 1pm.  Masonic services will begin at 1pm.  Following the service, the family invites everyone to the IISA in Gibsonton for a celebration of life.  Posted by Matt Cook / Obiturary on 1/18/2017

Ivan Arnold, Jim Elliott, and Joe Skerbeck inducted into the Michigan Association of Fairs and Events Hall of Fame
Ivan Arnold of Arnold Amusements, James Elliott of Elliott's Amusements, and Joe Skerbeck of Skerbeck Entertainment Group were inducted into the Michigan Association of Fairs and Events Hall of Fame on Friday.  

For over seven decades, Ivan has enjoyed a fascination with the carnival industry.  In 1980, Ivan started Arnold Amusements and along with his wife Agnes and family, have grown the company to entertain millions of visitors each year throughout the states of Michigan and Florida.  Ivan is also an active member of the International Independent Showmen's Association in Gibsonton, Florida; helping coordinate club events and the annual trade show and extravaganza each February.

Joe Skerbeck is a 5th generation carnival owner and has been a member of MAFE for over 50 years.  During that span, he has conducted numerous workshops at the convention and has served as an associate board member.  Joe has also been active in the OABA, currently serving on their board.  Joe believes in following his family's tradition, "Quality is paramount to us.  If things aren't 100% right we won't do them."

James Elliott, AKA Jimmy the Pipe has been active in the Michigan Fair industry since the 1950's.  His love for the show started as a youth watching the animal trains being unloaded at the Ionia Free Fair and continues on.  Jimmy has worked with many individuals in our industry and has been involved with 90% of the fairs in Michigan during his career.  He is also very active with the IISA Carnival Museum in Gibtown.

Congratulations Ivan, James, and Joe on being inducted into the MAFE Hall of Fame!
  Posted by Matt Cook on 1/15/2017

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