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Coming off strong season, Rosedale's Tom Gaylin looks forward to 2013
Helping OABA with outreach to veterans
By Don Muret
Photo courtesy of Augusta County Fair
Rosedale Attractions and Shows hopes to ride the momentum of last year's run with another banner season in 2013.
Toward the end of last season, the Baltimore carnival shattered records at 75 percent of its fairs, according to Tom Gaylin, the show's owner and operator.
The addition of two new dates this year should help keep things moving in a positive direction. The first one is the Towsontown Spring Festival the first weekend in May which draws about 200,000 attendees annually, Gaylin said. This will be the first year the event has booked rides after going 45 years without a carnival, he said.
The second new spot is the Cal Ripken World Series, held the third weekend of August at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, Md. The event, part of the national Babe Ruth youth league organization, takes place at a complex with 15 ballfields in addition to the 6,300-seat ballpark, a replica of Camden Yards in Baltimore. The smaller stadium is home to the Aberdeen Ironbirds, the Orioles' Class A short-season affiliate.
Rosedale booked the date after Cal Ripken, the O's Hall of Famer whose name is tied to the event and the ballpark, passed by the show last year when it was set up in Baltimore. Ripken liked what he saw and had his office contact Rosedale about booking the show at the complex. The Cal Ripken World Series has never had a full-blown midway, Gaylin said, and it should give families something to do during tournament breaks.
The complex is off Interstate 95 with hotels and restaurants supporting the baseball activities. The tournament draws up to 5,000 families a day so Gaylin sees a big upside in giving a captive audience something to do.
Gaylin is a fourth-generation showman and his family has been in the carnival business since 1928. The show plays dates in Maryland and Pennsylvania within 150 miles of their home.
"It gives us a lot more flexibility compared with shows that travel all over the country," Gaylin said.
Rosedale owns about 35 rides and runs two units. The Gaylin family, including Tom's wife Barb, owns all the game concessions and food trailers.
Some of its bigger fairs are Richmond County Fair in Virginia and the Charles County and St. Mary's County fairs in Maryland. Strong still dates connected to church and firemen's festivals fill out Rosedale's schedule.
Rosedale, unlike many other shows, has not had issues with labor the past 10 years. The Gaylins employ separate crews for drivers and ride setup and it has worked out well. The family has not had to rely on foreign labor, Gaylin said.
As a Director of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association, Gaylin is involved in the group's effort to have carnivals hire military veterans as part of a continuing education program covering all aspects of show business. Four of the biggest carnivals in North America are testing the concept this season with Rosedale Attractions interested in participating down the line, Gaylin said.
"If we can get our ducks in a row, this could change the entire landscape of the business," he said. "Obviously, the industry has changed drastically [with labor challenges] the past 25 years. If nothing else, it's been a matter of survival."
Click here to read: OABA looks to military veterans to solve industry labor issues