|Exclusive News and Interviews
MCW Visits IAAPA
By Matt Cook
MCW visited the IAAPA convention where the sentiment was generally very optimistic. We had the chance to interview several vendors and industry veterans here is what we found:
Spudniks - Jessy Reuiuo
Spudniks is a new idea that features custom seasoned potato chips. Venues purchase pre-cooked bags of potato chips and customers are able to decide what flavors to make their chips. For instance, they can combine two flavors such as ranch and bacon to make a bacon-ranch flavored potato chip. The company is selling a complete start-up operation including a stainless steel concession cart, tools, and utensils for between $5-10,000 depending on the size of the cart. The chips are featured in a glass case with a heat lamp so that they are served warm. Rather then making fresh chips, they found it better to give a show for the customers with flavoring the chips, flipping them in the bowl, and then serving them. They found it to be too costly to cook on location. Each bag of pre-packaged chips has a 90 day shelf life.
Carol Silvey was happy to announce that R.D. Thomas' new Wisdom Monster Truck ride was the number one kiddy ride at the NC State Fair. The piece was also #8 at the State Fair of Texas. Wisdom had a new spinning coaster car on display at IAAPA. The spinning cars are built to fit on any of their adult size coaster tracks. At IAAPA, there was a lot of interest in the new spinning coaster cars, the monster truck ride, and also their ever popular one truck Himalaya. The company has reported that most of the new rides that they have produced have left the factory with LED lights and very few have had incandescent. Debuting at the Minnesota State Fair was Nick Pillino's new Wisdom Beetle Bobs, which is a one trailer version of the flying bobs. There has been a lot of interest in the piece, but so far, Pillino owns the only one.
On a personal note, Carol and Russ purchased their first concession stand at the Kansas State Fair. The stand is in a permanent building and stays there all year. They began selling Krispy Cream Burgers which consists of two krispy cream doughnuts in the place of a hamburger bun, a burger patty, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and optional chili and bacon. The sandwiches sold for $8 or $9 with chili. The couple was very cautious at first, only ordering a low quantity of doughnuts but was pleasantly surprised when their product became a hit. Soon, the word was out and their new fair sandwich was the talk of the town. The creation was featured on the front page of the Wichita Eagle, Hutchinson News, and covered by all three major television stations. Even the governor came out to try the burgers. They sold over 1,000 dozen doughnuts in 10 days. A local school was actually giving their students extra credit for any child that came to the fair and ate one.
"We had a great time and learned a lot. My dad always told me that food people are some of the hardest working people at the fair", said Slively.
KMG - Peter Thieusn
Peter reported that a 24 seat fire ball has been sold to Morrey's Pier with a March 2011 delivery date and a Freak Out to Bill Johnson's Fantasy Amusements with a May 2011 delivery date. Both orders were secure prior to IAAPA. Peter said more deals were in the works, but nothing final as of yet. The Morrey's Pier Fire Ball is the first to feature a new and improved lap bar system which replaces the standard over the shoulder restraints. The new system features a lap bar that holds you in over your waist and gives your body more freedom to experience the twisting and free falling part of the ride. Peter also reported a lot of interest from US carnivals on their new one truck flat ride.
A new piece that KMG developed is called mission space. The ride is a 6 trailer, 250' tall structure that swings gondolas 240' over the midway. The piece does not require a crane for set up and accommodates 10 people in each of the two gondolas. As the giant tower rotates, the large arms raise and lower making the gondola sway in and out. The new piece will debut in 2011 when KMG takes the piece to Rotterdam.
Rides 4-U Len Soleid
Lenny had an impressive booth with plenty of equipment including their new Airborn Shot family ride. The Airborn shot will be available as a 28' pup and Lenny hopes to have it available in time for Gibtown. The company also had on display their new Heli-Hopper, which is kid drop tower with a twist. Riders actually peddle their vehicle to the top and then it free-falls to the ground. On Wednesday night, Rides-4U and Fredricksen Fun Slides hosted a LED Lighting Party at Fun Spot in Kissimmee to showcase their new LED lighting package that was installed on the parks Sky Coaster ride. Also on display is a new KMG Inversion that was sold to Mike Satie of El Salvador.
Chestnut -- Bill chestnut
Chestnut had plenty of apparel and flags on display, but what really caught your attention was their new line of LED lights. While clothing and apparel is still Chestnut's bread and butter, Bill Chestnut said a lot of shows have been purchasing LEDs from them including RCS, butler, and Reithoffer and also some manufactures including Eli Bridge. Bill said that all of their LEDs are built for quality and they are working hard to keep them at an affordable price. A 6 led replacement bulb currently sells for $1.39 and uses only 2/3 of a watt. Other units were also available including a 15 led bulb. Unlike other units that they have seen, all of their bulbs are water resistant and carry a 30,000-50,000 hour life span. The bulbs are warrantied for 6 months by the manufacture. When asked how they got in the LED business, Bob Chestnut said that they saw an opportunity to offer their customers a quality item at significant savings. They wanted to be able to provide their clients all their core needs.
Aside from the LED light bulb replacements, they are also manufacturing programmable sets for rides. The programmable sets can feature over 80 different programs.
Chestnut said that 2010 was a pretty good year for their company and they were glad that they were not affected as much as some others in the economy. They attribute that success to their aggressiveness and new product lines. They are happy to be apart of IAAPA and said it has been a great show and is very exciting.
Patti Sullivan said 2010 was a little slower then expected, but early indications are that a lot of people are looking to buy and sign contracts in late 2010 and early 2011. Patti said that the Orlando IAAPA show has been much better then the Vegas show and she was pleased that the show will be in Orlando for the next 10 years. She said that depending on the outcome of 2010/2011, they may be releasing some new rides that have been on the backburner for the last few years. New items at the show included new safety restraints for their Eli Wheel and Scrambler rides. New padded lap bars have been introduced to prevent kids from knocking their chin and face against the lap bars. For the scrambler, they also introduced new lapbar cushions to help restrain small children from moving around in the seat, especially when riding with larger patron. Cam-like cushions can be rolled into the laps of children and rolled out of the way from laps of larger patrons. The cushions are made of a heavy-duty closed cell urethane foam,
Fabbri- Jeff Miller
Fabbri had their new Daytona Kiddy ride on display, which has been purchased by Mike Wood. The new ride is a Nascar themed race car ride that accommodates 16 passengers. Several years ago, Jeff Miller asked Mike Wood what type of ride he would like to see built. Mike responded and said that he always loved the midget racer built by Eyerly and would love to see one of them reproduced. Fabbri came up with a new concept that allowed them to change the design for different clients including, but not limited to increasing the size of the ride, changing the sweep length, re-theming, and more.
Miller reported that there has been a lot of interest in the ride from both parks and carnivals at IAAPA. Currently, the company has been building a lot of Wheels for customers overseas and also built a 4 trailer version of KMG's inversion. Miller was hoping for a rebound in sales for 2011.
ARM - Eric Bates
They have had nice exposure at IAAPA. Early reports are that a lot of shows have had a good year and are wanting to purchase. The company's top two most popular pieces include the new Vertigo Swing tower and the Super Shot. Currently, the Vertigo is one of the top grossing rides in the industry as reported from those that have purchased one. ARM had Bobby Meyer's 80' version on display outside at IAAPA. The company currently produces two trailer mounted models including a 24 passenger 100' model on a 53' sliding trailer and a 80' model on a 53' sliding trailer. For parks, they also produce a 140' park model. They will also have a Vertigo on display in Gibtown. "Bobby and Gloria were gracious enough to let us use their Vertigo for IAAPA and we are very thankful for that" said Eric Bates.
Bates said there were a lot of deals in the works, but nothing that he could comment on as of yet. Recent purchases in 2010 included deliveries of Vertigos to Frazier Shows, Skerbeck Carnival, S&S, and Dixieland Carnival.