Gibsonton, FL -- As we have detailed over the past week, there were many large rides and equipment bought and sold at the IISA Trade Show last week. Perhaps the positive attitude of so many vendors and participants is indicative of a good season to come for the fair and carnival industry.
We have chronicled many of the purchases that were made in previous articles. For those we have not covered and those that needed updating we have listed many of the manufacturers and suppliers below:
Possibly the biggest surprise sale of the show was KMG's Swing-It to Burton Brothers Amusements. The spectacular ride was brought to the show without yet having a buyer, something that is rarely done with large rides recently.
Peter Theunisz, Sales manager for KMG said having the ride at the show "ma
de a huge difference". "Seeing is believing", he added.
KMG was also speaking to other companies about their new Inversion ride. The attraction has twelve seats and moves on the same frame as the Freakout. The ride goes 360 degrees and has free-swinging gondolas. Similar in design to the Speed, it stands 80' tall. Three of the rides have already been sold. One went to Germany, another to Switzerland and a third to Holland.
Another KMG attraction Theunisz had great hopes for was his "High Swing". This ride is an amazing 190' tall and travels on only 2 trailers. The ride holds 48 people and no crane is needed for erection. The ride takes 4 men five hours to set up. The unique feature of this swing ride is that the tower rotates from the bottom, not from the top. One ride has already been sold to Belguim.
Unfortunately, with the price of the Euro against the dollar, this ride is out of the price range of many US companies. Theunisz said KMG had 2 Freakouts coming to North American Midway Entertainment (NAME) this year. Delivery is scheduled for June and July.
Mike Demas is the US representative for KMG. Demas will represent KMG with service issues and along with Showmen's Supply, will distribute parts for KMG in the US.
Alfeo Moser was exhibiting one of his drop towers at the show. Although tight-lipped about sales, he said he was having a "very good show".
Moser said his US business accounts for about 50% of his company's sales. He will be setting up a 50' Drop Tower in Mall Of America and a smaller drop tower in Busch Gardens in Tampa.
In addition to the Drop Towers, Moser has sold a Sidewinder to Baton Rouge Dixieland, Moser said the company is working on a new Sidewinder that doesn't need a foundation. The ride will raise up and move up and down so there is no need for a pool. Capacity for the ride is 32 seats.
Keith Emmett of Mondial had a 10 x 10 tent set up at the trade show. Mondial is unable to display rides at the trade show because they carry only "big-ticket items" according to Emmett.
Emmett said this is his company's eighth year at the trade show. Emmett was a realist about the situation for the dollar. He said he was waiting for the dollar to gain strength so his rides would become more affordable to the US buyer. Emmett said he has sold a couple of rides at the show in the past and his booth has been good for his company.
Mike Gill said ARM has been busy with their Inverter conversions, now offering conversions to both an Ali Baba and a Full Tilt.
Gill said the company had produced 7 Full tilts so far, 2 new and 5 conversions. There are 32 additional Inverters on the market and ARM hopes to have the opportunity to convert many of the remaining rides
Business was up a bit this year according to Tovah Sellner. She said the trade show was "slower than it used to be, but we had a good response from people."
Russ Kissel of Clanton, AL purchased the new Tea Cup ride, a 2nd Tea Cup was being delivered to Story Book Land in Egg Harbor, NJ.
The Dizzy Dragon was going to Tony Tufano in Pennsylvania and the new 28 seat Funnel Force swing ride was just delivered to Deggeller Attractions in Stuart.
Sellner said she was thankful business was picking up again. Just over 2 years ago, she had to lay off a number of employees at her factory in Minnesota. It was a painful experience for her. As business increased again, she had the opportunity to hire many of them back. Many of her employees have been with her for 15 years or more and she is intensely proud of the "Made in the USA" logo on her equipment.
Ital International, Inc.
"We had a lot of interest in the Bertazzon Swing Carousel", said Carlo Guglielmi, president of Ital International, LLC. The ride displayed at the trade show belonged to J &J Amusements who took delivery late this fall. The company has two park models coming in for 2008, one for the Hard Rock theme park in South Carolina and the other for the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
Power's Great American Midways is expecting delivery on a one trailer, 16 tub Matterhorn ride this season. Ital also sold a used Wave Swinger to Dave Helms of Helms and Sons.
Guglielmi said "traffic was a little slow this year" at the show and the hot weather hurt his inside booth but the pleasant weather was better for his outside booth where his ride was set up.
"We are hoping to close a few more deals we are currently working on", Guglielmi concluded.
Owens Trailers, Inc.
Ross Owens said he had his Looney Belle Funhouse sold and was finalizing a deal for a second one at show's end. The attraction has a 70' front, stands 27' tall and travels on a 48' semi.
The idea for the Looney Belle was to provide a smaller, more affordable attraction for medium sized shows that still had the look and presence of a large funhouse.
Owens said he had sold a Cuckoo Haus to Strates Shows to be delivered in Hamburg. He also sold a dark ride to Crabtree Amusements and another to Barry Jameson of World's Finest Shows. A Mardi Gras is being delivered to West Coast Amusements and a Monkey Maze to the Hayworths of Portland, Oregon.
Owens said most of the sales were made between the Las Vegas convention and the trade show in Gibsonton. The company still had slots available this year for March and June deliveries.
Rides 4 U
The largest ride display at the show was Len Soled's Rides 4 U booth. Soled had 7 rides set up at the trade show, including 4 pieces that were brand new to the industry.
Soled said although there was not a big volume of traffic, "the quality of the people was there". "More rides and new rides generate interest at our booth", he added.
Traffic at the Rides 4 U booth picked up the final two days with a number of deals closing near show's end. There were many foreign buyers from Canada, Mexico and South America.
One of Soled's biggest sales of the year was a Mindblaster from EOS Rides sold to A.D. Toller of Power's Great American Midways. Power's Great American Midways was also due to take delivery on a Surf's Up along with Homeniuk Amusements of Canada.
Another popular ride at the Rides 4 U booth was the Chopper Train. One of these was again sold to Power's Great American Midways. West Coast Amusements and Barry Jameson of World's Finest Shows also made purchases.
Crabtree Amusements and Steel City Shows both purchased new train rides and Soled said he had made several deals on used rides during the show.
"We have already had a good season", said Soled of his business so far this year. Rides 4 U is currently selling more new rides than used and their business is split about 50-50 between park and carnival sales.
The Wiggle Worm took the trade show by storm, bringing sales of the ride to 8 units according to Tommy Coffing of Usedrides.com. "The show was fantastic, the best show we have had in 4 years" he enthused.
Coffing said he sold Wiggle Worms to Tom Gaylin of Rosedale Attractions, Nick Alberts of Reithoffer Shows, Danny McCafferty of McCafferty Amusements, Jason Floyd, Harold Fera of Rockwell Amusements, Power's Great American Midways, Jimmy Otterbacher of Otterbacher Shows and Barry Jameson of World's Finest Shows.
In addition to all the sales, Coffing was proud of the fact that his company had received an "Outstanding Service" award from the IISA.
Marvel movies are the vehicles that Kelly Toys are hoping will drive their market. Kelly carries Iron Man and Hulk plush and they are hoping the late spring and summer movie releases for the two comic books heroes will drive sales.
Andy Rauch, vice-president of Kelly Toys said his company is now offering a Wiggles line for the younger set. The line includes guitars and characters from the popular children's television show.
A lot of interest has also been generated by the college "hoodie" bears available from Kelly. Not all of the colleges have been finalized yet but Rauch expects to have many of the most popular schools available for customers.
Kelly has introduced an aggressive container-pricing program. They will have plush available at different prices points from 59 cents to $12 delivered.
Toy Network was the winner of the "Most Impressive" booth and their display covered 15 spaces in all.
Ron Levi, Sales and Production Director said there was a lot of interest in their Sega line, the boxing monkey, Theo the golden bear, Barney the tiger, and frogs and bears that stand on plush pedestals.
Stan Minker, long time concession manager in the industry who now serves as Carnival Sales Director for Toy Network said the company "did good business here". He added the booth was very active with "steady business every day".
Click Here to view photos from the 2008 IISF Trade Show