"The trade show has been outstanding for me", said Sid Karmia of Toy Factory. A cloudy and rainy third day had crowds inside and when the sun came out, outside for periods all day. Karmia said his clients were optimistic about the new year and wary of the shortages they had experienced last year from China so they were making large orders for the season. "I've put a lot of orders together for the year", he confirmed.
Talking to show owners and other concessionaires, many did seem to be looking to invest in the 2011 season. Amusements of America's Dominic Vivona, Marco Vivona and John Thomas Vivona, owner, manager and supervisor, respectively, were at the Lifetime Products booth looking at some new bunkhouses. The Vivonas said they had purchased a new Vertigo from ARM and four Hamptons on one flatbed, a new offering from Dalton Kid Rides.
Speaking of Lifetime Products, Otterbacher had sold one bunkhouse earlier today to Campbell's Amusements. His new line of bunkhouse trailers were getting a lot of interest from potential buyers.
One of the rides getting a lot of interest is Wisdom Ride's new Looney Lagoon. Similar to the Go Gator and Dragon Wagon coasters, the ride has individual barrels on the train that spin as the ride moves around the track. It is basically a spinning coaster for the younger set.
Also in Wisdom's booth was a good looking new Cobra ride and a Monster Truck going to Beauce Carnavale.
Majestic Rides has a terrific looking new kiddie ride coming out in 2011, the Cloud Buster. The ride has 4 helicopters and rises 40 feet in the air on a lighted tower. B&B Enterprises has purchased the first ride for a May 2011 delivery. The ride will only take about an hour to set up and tear down and travels on one true pup trailer, it can either pull or follow.
Majestic was also doing well with their Wiggle Worm ride which has been selling well for the last several years and the company continues to produces scooters and bumper cars of all shapes and sizes.
Amusement Wraps of Ironton, OH had lots of booth traffic on Wednesday. Chuck Wheeler and his son Josh have a screen printing business in the town and Chuck was a show painter as well. Chuck painted for carnivals including Bates Brothers, Rockwell Amusements and ride manufacturer A.R.M.
As the company moved into wrapping cars and vehicles, the question came up one day, "why can't we do amusement rides?" Jason and Chuck produced the artwork and soon they did their first backdrop for an ARM Typhoon. This was their first entry in wrapping for the amusement business.
The process for wrapping a ride is very interactive. First the client talks about the piece and what they are looking for. Amusement Wraps then develops artwork they believe fits the bill. Now the client and the company have a video conference where the client views the product and makes any changes they would like to see. The changes are made and the client can view the changes on screen exactly as they will appear. The graphics then go through production and a UV clearing process. When the product is ready, the company schedules an install date and they bring the product to the place of the client's choosing and wrap the ride. Installation of the wrap typically takes one long day or two normal days to complete.
In addition to rides, the company also wraps food stands and games, makes safety signs and other promotional signs. More and more uses for the wraps are being developed every day. Interactive lighting, where the lights move to music, is even available in some applications.
Another popular use of wraps is for carousel horses. Amusement Wraps has several package designs with ornate detail that give the illusions of a jewel-studded design and intricate brushwork. Packets of decals for horses can be self-applied by the owner or applied by the company.
One amazing new application the company has designed is all-new 3D wraps. For a customer wearing 3-D glasses, the images appear to pop right out of the artwork. The new technology is mainly designed for funhouses and darkrides and the application can be seem in both 2-D and 3-D. The 3-D experience can be sold with the glasses as an upcharge.
Amusement Wraps currently is doing a Mardi Gras project for Eric Bates and they also have done or will shortly complete projects for Jolly Roger Amusement Park, Murray Shows, Triple Treat Amusements, Bates Brothers, Michael's Amusements, Deggeller Attractions, Jeff Pugh, Power's Great American's Flying Bobs and four trailers for NAME.
In NICA news, Russ Harrison takes over as chairman for this year and he has big plans for his organization. Harrison hopes to increase communication among fairs, event managers and partners of NICA.
He also has the goal to continue to strengthen NICA's relationships with industry organizations including the IAFE, the OABA and the IISA. With the IAFE, NICA has been given a platform during the trade show in Las Vegas to highlight issues that are facing concessionaires with respect to fairs. Harrison also hopes to join the OABA in facing labor issues that are becoming a large problem in many states including New York, California and Michigan. The IISA allowed NICA to use their boardroom for the spring workshop.
Harrison said "I love the Gibtown Club" and the trade show is a big part of his annual calendar. He sees the NICA show, OABA meetings, IISA Trade Show and Florida State Fair as a very attractive reason for fair managers to make a trip to Tampa and visit this time of year.
The NICA Show and Business Expo, sponsored by Fair Foods, went extremely well. Ron Porter's Fair Foods is a great partner he said and they provide excellent customer service to fair vendors because they know the industry and the unique problems facing fair concessionaires.
Harrison said NICA membership has remained constant with 1,100 to 1,200 members. He noted that there were many benefits to membership including hotel discounts, Coke discounts, a credit card program and most importantly, it gives concessionaires a sense of professionalism. Many fairs ask whether or not the applicant is a NICA member when reviewing their request to vend at the fair.
Wisdom's Looney Lagoon spinning kiddy coaster
Chuck Wheeler of Amusement Wraps
Concept rendering of Majestic's new Helicopter kiddy ride called, Cloud Buster
Rendering of the racking for the new Cloud Buster
Lifetime Products - Gary Otterbacher