The Salerno family began their 2009 season with optimism, much like most business owners in the United States. Their Windy City Amusements began it's 2009 season April 16 with the first unit opening in St. Charles, IL and the second unit in Rockford, IL.
President, Tony Salerno Jr. said "The season has been good so far. The money is there when you get the weather."
The show added several new dates to their route for 2009 including Chicago's Cinco De Mayo celebration in Douglas Park, an event previously played by North American Midway Entertainment. Salerno said "the event went well and it was a good addition to our route." Another new event was a festival in suburban McCook, IL which took place June 4-7. Salerno described the first time event as "a success". For the remainder of the season, the calendar is full through October with very few still dates.
With a shaky economy, has actually helped the show by providing a larger pool of workers to choose from. Most key employees returned and they were able to hire a lot of new, capable employees. "Nobody is quitting and everyone is behaving so that they can hang onto their jobs," Salerno enthused. Key personnel on the first unit include ride superintendent Rusty Humphrey, office manager Denise Weinmann, and concession managers Rick Comartin and Steve Colpen. On the show's second unit, managed by Mark Salerno, key personnel include Bill Sluse and Timmy Nelson.
For 2009, the show added a second Wisdom Himalaya and a new Carousel to its first unit. The Himalaya was purchased used through Tommy Coffing and was completely rebuilt from the trailer up in winter quarters. "The Himalaya is exceptional and performing very well" stated Salerno. The show's Majestic X-Scream has returned to the first unit and is performing well. "Thanks to Majestic's fine work, the X-Scream is a scream" said Salerno. For 2010, Salerno said they are always looking for new equipment, but for now are planning on upgrading some generators and electrical equipment.
Michael Salerno and crew continued to do an exceptional job refurbishing equipment over the winter in their Aurora, IL based winter quarters. Equipment repaired over the winter includes a complete rebuild of the show's Ali Baba, Himalaya, Dizzy Dragons, Bear Affair, and Rio Grande Trains. Other pieces that were worked on include their second unit Himalaya, Dragon Wagon, Speedway, and their entire fleet of generators and trucks. Michael noted that they will be doing a complete rebuild of their Century Wheel and Predator during winter quarters at the conclusion of the 2009 season.
Ticket prices have remained the same at $1 each however, the amount of tickets each ride takes has been reduced to between 2 and 5 tickets per ride. Armband sales have been up because the public more than ever is looking for a bargain. Armband prices average $20. Game prices remained the same at $3 per game and the show is continuing to experiment with using tokens on the second unit while on the first unit, cash remains king.
On June 6, show founder Tony Salerno Sr. celebrated his 80th birthday. While his three sons Tony Jr., Michael, and Mark manage the show's day to day operations, Tony Sr. still plays an active roll in the business.
Photos from Spring 2009 (unit 1):
As seen in winter quarters, the first unit himalaya was literally rebuilt from the trailer up. Pictured above is the trailer with a fresh coat of paint.
New to unit 1, the Wisdom Himalaya which was completely rebuilt in winter quarters.
Another piece refurbished in winter quarters, the 1001 Nachts.
New canvas on the Scooter.
Additional photos of WCA may be viewed in the MCW photo gallery by clicking here!
WCA's 1987 Chance Zipper was refubished during 2007/2008 winter quarters.