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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.

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

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

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