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South Florida Fair faces exceptionally cold weather
Off 10%, midway revenue only down 4%


By Ron Weber, Editor

Photo courtesy of Alan Devoe

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WEST PALM BEACH, FL - Despite several days of record cold weather, the 2009 South Florida Fair was able to generate several new gate and ride records. The fair faced some of the coldest temperatures the region has experienced in over 20 years.

The middle Saturday, January 24, produced an all time new record for daily ride revenue. The middle Sunday, January 25, set new individual day records for both admission and ride revenue. That Sunday was also the best Sunday for ride revenue in the fair's history.

Record ride revenue days also occurred on the opening Sunday, January 18 and the closing Sunday, February 1. Overall reported attendance was 534,864, a decline of 10 per cent. Gross ride revenue, admission revenue and food revenue were off by 4 percent in each category.

"In the real estate world, it's location,Photo By Alan Devoe location, location," said South Florida Fair CEO Rick Vymlatil. "For events like the South Florida Fair, it's weather. Once again, weather proved to be a big factor in the outcome of this year,s Fair."

Vymlatil went on to say the recessed economy did not appear to have played a significant role. "It wasn't a big factor as per capita spending increased by .23 cents to $12.17 on admissions and held virtually steady on rides at $9.93 and $7.54 for food."

The 2009 South Florida Fair featured a themed exposition titled, "A World of Fun." Exhibits included several animal shows mixed with recreations of buildings and costumes from each of the seven continents. Headliner concert acts included Julianne Hough, Chuck Wicks, James Otto, the Marshall Tucker Band, .38 Special, Switchfoot and Lady Antebellum. These and other acts performed on the fair's newly expanded Pepsi Stage that included a first ever catered VIP seating area and reserved and general seating for over 3,000.

Wade Shows offered 92 rides on the midway including the RC-48, the nation,s largest portable roller coaster.

Dragstrip Mega SlideIn addition, the company took delivery of their brand new Drag Strip Mega Slide from Wisdom Industries at the event. With eight lanes, the slide is the largest domestically produced slide and was the top grossing portable attraction at the fair.

Zaitshik said he was very pleased with the ride and impressed with the pride and sense of accomplishment Victor Wisdom had in completing and delivering the slide to West Palm.

Powers NEW Swing Buggy RideWade Shows booked several rides from independents. Corky Power's Great American Midways had their Vortex, Swing Buggy and Mind Blaster on hand. Michael Wood's newly refurbished Magnum was another great highlight on the midway.

Wristbands sold for the second year in a row for $35 on weekends and $25 on weekdays. Zaitshik said there was actually an increase in wristbands sold on the weekend.

Zaitshik went into the fair with a little hesitation because of the economy but was very pleased with the outcome, down only 4% from 2008. "With all the economic concerns and businesses struggling to stay alive in the area, I was very pleased to finish only slightly down. Especially when it can be attributed to the unseasonably cold weather the final weekend, we did especially well."

Wade Shows MidwayZaitshik praised the fair's, staff, management and quality of programming for the success, adding, "since West Palm, we have been slightly down despite good weather."

In the South Florida Fair Agriplex, students from 18 Florida counties showcased livestock breeds and generated over $184,000 at the annual Youth Market Auction. Promotionally, the South Florida Fair and individual vendors offered several discount incentives to stir sales.

Planning for the 2010 South Florida Fair is well underway and is scheduled for January 15 through January 31.

Additional Photos
Wade Shows Giant Wheel

Wade Show's Giant Wheel

Independent Midway

Independent Midway

Independent Midway

Independent Midway

Wood Entertainment - Magnum

Wood Entertainment's Magnum

Midway Extras

Wade Show's Midway Extras

Wade Shows Balloon Store

Balloon Game

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