|Exclusive News and Interviews
82 years and going strong
By Robert and Lisa Limerick
MCW recently had the chance to catch up with Rosedale Attractions and Shows, Inc based out of Baltimore, MD at the Augusta County Fair near Staunton, VA. Third generation owner Tom Gaylin, III was on the lot at this fair, while his other unit was setup at the Greene County Fair. Some may recognize Gaylin as a current director of the highly regarded national amusement organization OABA. Gaylin mentioned that he has been involved with other industry organizations, attending the annual Gibbstown Extravaganza since 1968.
Rosedale,s schedule currently keeps them on the road from April through October playing shows in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The company was founded in 1928 and is still going strong. Rosedale is playing over twenty events this year including a return to the Prince George,s County Fair, which had been played by Reithoffer Shows since 2001.
Long tenures and new spots are signs that Rosedale is still a great company. They,ve had several events that have been on their route for over fifty years and their company philosophy of providing professionalism and clean, wholesome entertainment remains the same today as it was when the company started. Rosedale retains seasoned employees and a lot of the employees have been with the company five to ten years.
Rosedale is truly a family affair with Tom and Barbara overseeing the day to day operations and office needs and their four children and their families assisting with various aspects of the shows from setup to tear down. Daughters Nichole and Michelle along with their husbands John and Ray run the food and game operations of the show. John also is a foreman on teardown. Ray was raised in the carnival business with his father Jerry Farrow,s show and also helps with setup and teardown. Twin sons Jason and Joe run the second unit when necessary and Jason oversees the midway and winter quarters and is the show,s certified welder. There are several grandchildren on the lot and they are the fifth generation of Rosedale Attractions. Joe is being groomed to take over the show,s office when the time is right.
Rosedale has a lot of past and current extended family members including Paul and Barb Marking, now retired from the game business. They played the role of surrogate grandparents to a lot of the companies, younger generations. Another extended family member was Elmer Fisher, a long time employee of Rosedale. Elmer was with the company since 1962 when he started working with Gaylin,s grandfather at the age of fourteen. Fisher spent many seasons as the show,s ride superintendent and electrician. When Fisher passed away a few years ago they decided to dedicate their Expo Wheel in his honor.
Rosedale has recently played the Augusta, Greene County, and Albermarle County Fairs and Gaylin commented that the company had "record runs the last two weeks". The Albermarle County Fair had a gain of fourteen percent over last year,s numbers despite two nights of bad weather. Tom stated that for the most part "Mother Nature,s given us a break this year". The East Coast has been experiencing record heat this summer and it is only affecting the numbers slightly. Sonny Balsley, President of the Augusta County Fair, stated that their fair took off four years ago because of Tom Gaylin and Rosedale bringing safe rides. "He really helped turn this fair around over the last few years".
Roseland currently has over forty rides and sixty concessions available for setup. Some of their rides include the Flying Bobs, Super Shot, Expo Wheel, Sea Ray, a dark ride the Tomb of Doom, a refurbished Wisdom trailer mounted Scrambler from the 70,s, Round Up, Musical Chair Swings, Mardi Gras Funhouse, a classic Rock N Roll, and a Tornado.
Kiddie rides include the Gators, Rio Grande Train, Pony Carts, Merry Go Round, Jalopy Junction, the Tubs of Fun, Wave Thunder, Dizzy Dragons, Cycles, Loch Ness Monster, the Elephants, Roto Whip, a new Wapello Air House, Zoomer, Kid Power which is a rethemed Funhouse that now is full of slides and a ball pit, and a Wiggle Worms. Rosedale,s Wiggle Worm was the first one bought from Majestic Manufacturing and is a rethemed Jolly Caterpillar.
Tom is already planning to purchase new equipment during the upcoming off season and typically budgets to spend approximately one million dollars, as they do each off season. They are awaiting delivery on a double decker funhouse and expect to have it in the next few weeks. Current equipment is on a rotating three year refurbishment plan and the last pieces refurbished were the Expo Wheel and the Flower Power pup trailer funhouse.
Safety is the most important aspect in Rosedale,s business and they work hard to continue that tradition. They get annual recognition from their insurance carrier for being one of the safest traveling carnivals in the United States. Gaylin mentioned that a lot of their safety initiative comes from safety consultant Jenna Principio who spent twenty five years working with the State Of Maryland in their amusement inspections office. "She has brought a lot of knowledge to us about training employees and OSHA requirements that have led to our excellent safety record" he said. With that excellent training and hardworking employees Rosedale was able to tear down 40 rides on Sunday afternoon in Albemarle and have them setup and ready for inspection on Monday afternoon in Augusta and Greene Counties.
Rosedale Attractions are in their 82nd season and still going strong, purchasing new equipment and taking on more shows each year. This company is working hard to ensure that the future generations of the family will continue with the company,s philosophy.