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Remembering Industry Legend John Vivona


By Ron Weber, Editor

Photo courtesy of

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John Vivona, owner of Amusements Of America will be laid to rest today by his family and friends. MCW is preparing a tribute to John and his company, Amusements of America. We have had several emails with stories and memories about John. Please send additional information to

If your company or organziation would like to remember John with a tribute ad you can contact Alan Nogiec at or (757) 621-3005. Net proceeds from the special edition will be donated to the OABA Scholarship Fund.

Below is a tribute from Colin McSweeny, former President of the Central Canada Exhibition and long time friend of the Vivona family:

I am so sad to hear about the passing of John. He was a definite legend in the fair industry. John gave me my first job ever at a faPhoto By ir. It was at the Central Canada Exhibition in Ottawa Ontario Canada.

I was 11 or 12 and the fair was an annual ritual for my family. In fact, I have only missed one year in my entire 41 years of life because I was hospitalized during the entire fair.

I remember going to the fair and being introduced to John on the lot a few days before the CCE began. He was sitting on a golf cart watching the boys set up a ride. I said "Mr. Vivona I would like to work for you at this year's EX do you have anything I could do?"

He looked at me and said "I've got the perfect job for you." He took me over to one of the guys that worked for him and said "put this kid to work." I remember thinking that was a pretty easy job interview! I guess the job was already arranged ahead of time by my brother. At the time, my older brother was on the fair board and as I learned later, John was always accommodating when it came to making sure his partners were happy and looked after.

My first job at the fair was working in a balloon dart game and my job was to sit in the back and blow up balloons and then tie them. I thought at the time this was the best job on the midway, how easy could it get?. How mistaken I was! By day 5 of the fair I had band aids on every finger from tying the balloons, but you know I still remember the feeling of pride at the end of the fair when I got my pay.

I went on to other jobs and responsibilities at the fair after that but every year I can remember spending many happy hours touring the lot on John's or one the other Vivona brothers' golf carts learning about life and the carnival business.

My heart goes out to Marie, John Jr. and especially my friend A.D. and the entire Vivona family; I share your loss. John was a giant in the business but more important than that, he was a giant to his family and friends throughout his life and I know he is up in heaven supervising the lot and making sure that everyone who comes has a good time.

Colin McSweeney
Board Member and Past President
Central Canada Exhibition (Super EX)
Ottawa Ontario Canada

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