The second day of the IISF Trade Show was again met with beautiful, sunny weather and good amount of traffic from attendees. Many vendors could be seen making deals and showing their wares and the mood has been almost universally optimistic. As we observed yesterday, there seems to be the most rides and displays in many years and items seemed to be selling. In addition to the rides, stock companies had large displays and concession companies such as Chester Built Trailers had plenty of food trailers on display. In the Chester booth, three trailers were on display, a Cotton Candy for Pride of Texas Shows, an Elephant Ear for Arnold Amusements, and a fried Veggie stand for Dallas and Bethany Elliott.
In some carnival news, we can report that Alan and Barbara Larkee have purchased Calkins
Midways from Chuck Waterman. Waterman will stay on the show and operate food and games. 2017 will mark their second full season with the show, playing the summer season in Wisconsin.
Chance Rides Returns
We mentioned yesterday that Chance Rides is making their first appearance at the show in 20 years. The booth, staffed by industry veteran Jeff Miller, faced the back lot just behind the hamburger stand. The new Zipper car was on display as was the Freestyle tub with over the shoulder restraint.
Miller was excited to be working on closing a deal for the company's first portable 35 meter wheel, plans for which were developed decades ago. Chance, at the end of the last century was the king of wheel builders, producing the 4-trailer Giant Wheel and the smaller single trailer Century Wheel. They made Giant Wheels affordable and easier to move, being trailer mounted as opposed to the ground mount "Dutch Wheels".
Recently however they have only built one Century Wheel for the carnival business and are hoping to make an impression with the new, even larger wheels.
The deal Miller is working on, while not for the carnival business per se, is still a portable model that will be used at large outdoor sporting events. The plan is to include sponsors and ticket co-ops.
The large wheel will still be relatively easy to move, taking only 24 hours to set up. Based on the success of this first venture into the large, portable wheels, Miller hopes to spark demand in the carnival sector.
Another ride manufacturer hitting the show in a big way was Battech Enterprises. Albert Frieden had four rides on display after not having any in 2016. Big banners on each piece declared "Made in the USA" "Buy American Week", emphasizing that Battech products were made in America.
On display were the Downdraft, Black Widow, Zero Gravity and Cliffhanger. The Black Widow was especially getting a lot of attention with Frieden showing attendees all the updates and improvements he has made to the popular Spider. The new ride has an A/C drive and push button operation, eliminating the clutch. The stub arms don't come off and the center "floats" and four cars can be loaded at a time. The whole ride racks on a trailer for easy moving and tear down.
The first of the A/C drive Spiders is a rebuild for Wade Shows operating at the Florida State Fair. The Black Widow versions are all new and have many new updates. Black Widows are selling at the show for $399,500 but will sell after the show for $425,000.
Interest in the Black Widow has been very high. One has already been sold with two more behind in production. The Black Widow on display will be delivered to Crystal Lake, Illinois based Skinner's Amusements.
The Downdraft also has a new look. Datron sold 5 in 2000 and Battech now has a new sale on the updated version to Andrew Evans of Evans Midland Empire Shows. Richard Tinsley also placed an order for next year.
PBJ Happee Day Shows bought the Cliffhanger on the grounds and the Zero Gravity was bought by Arnold Amusements last season.
So far Frieden thinks that displaying the four pieces will pay dividends. He said he has had a lot of interest so far this year and it was a big change from just having a booth in 2016. "Its been a good show so far", said Frieden.
All Around Amusements
Someone else having a busy show was Robert Salerno of All Around Amusements. Salerno, a Chicago-area operator, has made a slew of purchases over the past couple of years.
Two of his purchases were on display at the show; a Tea Cup ride from Kolmax Plus and an Infernal Combustion from Owen Trailers.
Salerno was the second US company to purchase a Flying Elephant ride from Kolmax Plus and he like the ride so much he purchased a second, newer model with folding floors after selling the first model.
Salerno said the elephant ride did "extremely well" and he was very pleased with the product.
After his success with the elephant he bought 3 more rides from the company. The first purchase was the new Scooter ride they are building and he is the second to receive the model, the first going to Powers' Great American. He also purchased a wheel from the company or actually, a company owned by their cousin. Salerno then sold his existing Childress wheel to the Larkee family and purchased the first larger 72' wheel from the company. He also added a used Eli 16 to his inventory.
Finally, as we revealed yesterday, Wisdom is selling an adult version of its Beetle Bobs ride, to be racked on one trailer. The first owner of the new model will also be Rob Salerno and he says it will be a fantastic new addition to his show.
With all the moving of rides, one might question why Salerno keeps things moving so quickly. He explained that having a relatively small show and playing in a place with so many carnivals, the Chicagoland area, moving rides is good for business. 'When I get a ride and it is successful, the next thing you know, everyone is buying one", he explained. "When I sell the ride, get a good price for it and buy a new one, I'm able to bring new rides to my committees and always stay a step ahead of the competition," he concluded.
All Around Amusements runs two units for the season, playing events mostly in the Chicago area from mid-April until the end of October. While most of the dates are church, civic or city events they have added some county fairs in Wisconsin to their schedule.
Stay tuned for continuing coverage from the IISF Trade Show.
2017 IISF Trade Show Coverage