Day two of the IAFE Convention also marked the final day of the SLA trade show held in Bally's. Outgoing SLA President Debbie Powers of Powers' Great American Midways was happy with the results from the show and the attendance.
There were a record number of vendors according to Powers and she says the event continues to grow with each year as vendors and buyers enjoy the informal format. The key to the success of the show is the ability of suppliers and buyers to be able to spend quality time together. Powers was readying the group for the SLA's annual banquet to be held Tuesday evening and she was proud to announce the induction of the 2017 entrants into the SLA's Hall of Honor; Frank Zaitshik of Wade Shows and Jim Sinclair of the Minnesota State Fair.
Zaitshik was inducted for his contributions to the organization and his prominence as one of the youngest Presidents in the organizations history. Powers said Zaitshik was a prolific fundraiser for the organization during his days with Link Carnival, making a mark on the organization and setting the bar high for those who followed.
Jim Sinclair, Deputy General Manager of the Minnesota State Fair, was the second inductee into the Hall and Powers said even though he is a fair person, Sinclair's efforts on behalf of the SLA and the industry in general have been significant. Sinclair pioneered one of the best run independent midways in the country at the Minnesota State Fair and he has kept a good balance between the needs of the fair and the carnival owners. Sinclair has assisted the industry whenever he is called upon and his dedication to the carnival industry and the SLA in particular were recognized Tuesday night.
Another personal honor for Powers was son Dean Corl earning a Gold Card for the organization through selling 100 memberships in 2017.
The SLA Presidency will be placed in the capable hands of Guy Leavitt of Ray Cammack Shows for 2018.
Day two of the SLA saw the room full of potential buyers and vendors making deals or catching up with customers past, present and future. Hitchhiker, Chester Built Trailers, and Schantz Manufacturing were all present representing the concession business. Zamperla, Majestic, Wisdom, Battech, Rides 4U, Used Rides Europe/KMG, FunTech and Eli Bridge were all present on the ride manufacturing side.
Bob DeStefano of Dreamland Amusements was one of the potential buyers making the rounds of the show. DeStefano was looking forward to the debut of his new Super Cyclone roller coaster from Intermark. The large coaster stands 150' x 50' and 3 trains for riders. The ride is "the next big step" for Dreamland. DeStefano said he took the leap to buy the coaster based upon the success of his Wacky Worm coaster, a large family roller coaster. DeStefano said he should have made the purchase a decade ago based upon knew well the Wacky Worm has performed.
The roller coaster is a big move for the show and given the size of the piece, DeStefano will book it on both his own show at larger dates as well as let it play an independent route of larger fairs.
The ride is already in the US at the Dreamland winterquarters and is being racked on three trailers and prepped for use. The coaster should make its debut on the show in Florida in January or February.
Dreamland also added a few key new spots to its route in for 2018. The show picked up bot the Shhoharie County Sunshine Fair in Cobleskill, NY and the Troy Fair in PA. The Troy Fair closes on a Saturday before the show is set to open in New Paltz, NY at the Ulster Country Fair on a Tuesday so it fits well into the route despite a 350 mile + jump. The Cobleskill Fair runs the first week in August.
Ramon Rosario of Zamperla said the company had a very good IAAPA Trade Show in November an they were looking forward to a successful 2018. One highlight of 2017 for the company was the opening of the OWA amusement park in Foley, AL. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is the sole owner and developer of the park. The name means "Big Water" in Muskogee Creek language. The park is a joint venture between the City of Foley, its Sports Complex and the Creek Indians.
Zamperla supplied all the rides to the park, 21 in total, sold by the company's Michael Coleman. The park features rides from a little whip ride to the large Rollin' Thunder coaster which stretches 2234 linear feet. Other rides include a Crazy Mouse coaster, Twister, Wave Rider, Air Racer and Freedom Flyer.
Rosario said the company has many been selling kiddie rides to carnivals the past several years although they did debut a new Endeavour ride with RCS at the Arizona State Fair in Phoenix last fall. Rosario said the company plans to exhibit in Gibtown in February but is as yet undecided whether or not it will be bringing a ride to display.
Over in the IAFE Trade Show at Paris, the show's second day seemed to have a little less traffic than the first. There was the usual compliment of grounds acts and entertainers but one category that definitely showed an uptick in 2017 was the Cashless midway systems. MCW reported on the Magic Money system which uses an RFID card or wristband similar to what Disney uses. E-Cash was also on site with an RFID system of its own. Other companies included Fun Card, the most widely used system based upon bar codes, Flash Cash and gate ticketing company Exit announced they had a cashless solution they were introducing to the market.
Clearly, the cashless midway is solution that is seeing increased competition and entrants into the market. None of the companies has yet gained a large portion of the market. All vary on their approach to cashless ticketing, some using bar codes, others RFID, some use cellular, cloud based devices and others a server on site. Which solution will be the best fit for the industry is a story that will be told in the coming year.
Stay tuned for our final day of IAFE Convention coverage.
2017 SLA / IAFE Trade Show Coverage