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IAAPA Expo - Wednesday Highlights
Drew Expo purchases ARM Vertigo


By Matt Cook

Rides 4U - NEW AND USED RIDES Farrow Finance Rides 4U - LED LIGHTING PACKAGES Farrow Finance

The second day of the 2013 IAAPA Expo opened at 10am Wednesday morning to mass crowds waiting outside the doors to enter the trade show, eager to see what's new and exciting in the amusement industry.  Of the 28,000 attendees registered, over 17,400 are considered to be qualified buyers by IAAPA.

Zamperla Rides had three new attractions on display at their booth.  New for 2014 is a new kiddy ride called the Sky Race.  The Sky Race is "a take on a kid swing ride that is designed to attract more than a typical swing ride", described Mike Coleman, sales representative for Zamperla.  The Sky Race is available in a portable, trailer mounted version or a park model and seats up to 16 riders per cycle.  The ride features a variable speed drive ranging from 9 to 14RPM, all controlled by the operator.  Over 1000 LED lights illuminate the ride and give it a bright presence on the midway. 

Zamperla Sky Race kiddy swingColeman was proud to report that the display model had been sold to a Family Entertainment Center, Fun For All, located just outside Pittsburgh.  While only one had been sold so far at the show, four or five are on order and the company expects to sell "north of one dozen within the next year" said Coleman.  Zamperla plans on displaying their new Sky Race at the IISF Trade Show this February in Gibsonton.   The trailer mounted version of the ride retails for $125,000.

Another attraction at the Zamperla booth receiving much attention was the Air Race, a spectacular attraction featuring Zamperla's new high end color changing light program.  The Air Race can be built as a 16 passenger portable model or a 24 passenger model for parks.  The ride on display had been sold to Casino Pier of New Jersey and is the second portable model to be built.  Last year, Zamperla showed off their first Air Race, themed Air Raid, built and sold to Jeff Brady's Playworld Amusements.  The Air Race racks on one 53ft trailer and has a footprint of 60ft dia. when assembled.  Coleman reports other interested buyers, however, none to announce at this time.

The Happy Swing, a third attraction shown by Zamperla is a kiddy swing ride which Coleman best describes as "a porch swing on steroids".  The Happy Swing has a capacity of 12 riders and up to four adults.  The trailer mounted version retails for $99,000.

Coleman added that while much of the components for Zamperla's rides are built overseas, final assembly for all North American bound products is done in its New Jersey based headquarters.  He expects "a strong close to the week" at the IAAPA show.

Dave and Chad Griffith's CMD Enterprises, whom sells a variety of color changing LED systems, Wacky Worm Coasters and other Fajume manufactured rides, reported a strong start to the trade show.  Chad was showcasing a second version of his color changing LED system that incorporates more subtle effects including smooth color fades and new, brighter colors.  "My goal was to make it beautiful and have less strobing action that is commonly used on thrill rides", said Griffith.  The system is more comparable to what is being sold by other major LED lighting companies for use on Giant Wheels. 

The E-14 Color Changing Auto LED is a pre-programmed unit with over 30 different sequences that is built to directly replace turbo type lighting at a fraction of the cost of existing color changing systems.  The system requires no control unit and installation is easy. Units are available as a flush mount, modular base, or in a turbo model with a turbo cap and base.  The company's first version of the system with more flashing and strobing features will still be offered.

Chad & Dave Griffith - CMD EnterprisesAll of CMD's LED systems run on 24 volts and require a transformer to step the voltage down from 110 volts.  "The natural voltage of a LED is 12 to 24 volts" Griffith said.  "To run a LED at 110 volts, a lot of components need to be added to overdrive them, which ultimately shortens the life of the unit and the colors begin to fade much sooner than a unit running at its natural voltage". 

While CMD's products are built to last in an outdoor, mobile environment, Chad says that his company will stand behind their product in the event one should fail.  "Part of what you buy is the people behind the product", Griffith added.

CMD Enterprises has been in the LED business for several years and has sold its auto-programmed LED units to Reithoffer Shows, Powers Great American Midways, Circus Circus, Busch Gardens, Jolly Shows, Windy City Amusements, Six Flags New Jersey, EK Fernandez Shows, among many others.  Chad's father, Dave Griffith, has been in the ride business for a long time and has sold over 187 Wacky Worm rides to various countries including 35 in the USA and the rest to operations in Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Italy, England, among others.

Outside the trade show, Gary Otterbacher's Lifetime Products was displaying one of its custom built bunkhouses.  Gary reported "customers are upbeat.  We sold three at the show and are hoping for more by the end of the week."  An idea Gary has been tossing around for the last few years was whether or not to produce mobile office trailers for his customers.  Gary announced that he would begin building office trailers for customers who are interested in them.  "A lot of my customers come and tell me they still have their original Otterbacher Trailers".
Lifetime is currently based out of the Tampa area and is building its bunkhouses in Gibsonton.  Gary reported that his crew was busy fulfilling an order of six bunkhouses for Eric Bates, which he will be delivering soon.

During a quick visit with Doug Flora of Haas & Wilkerson Insurance, Doug reported that he was busy working on a new insurance program targeted toward unique attractions such as cavern tours, ziplines, tours, etc.  The new program will be called the "Adventure & Tour Program" and Flora hopes to roll it out in early 2015.  "There is a lot of opportunity in that side of the industry that we have never explored" stated Flora.

Toward the close of the show on Wednesday, Jim Drew of Drew Exposition announced the purchase of a new 100ft Vertigo Swing Tower by ARM.  Drew said he plans on re-theming the ride to make it unique to their show, much like they have done with some of their attractions in the past.  The show recently sold their Fabbri Kamikaze and was in the market for a new, tall piece to replace it with.

Jeff Brady of Playworld Amusements was on the trade show floor, exploring what vendors had to offer.  In the last two months, Brady sold much of his equipment and many of his Michigan events have been assigned to other carnivals in the area such as Arnold Amusements and North American Midway Entertainment.  When asked about the situation, Brady said, "I kept 28 rides, and sold the rest and am keeping my options open.  I will know more in terms of the direction my company is going after the IAFE/SLA convention in Vegas".

Stay tuned to for highlights from Thursday at IAAPA.'s Coverage on the 2013 IAAPA Expo:
Tuesday Highlights | Wednesday Highlights | Thursday Highlights  |  Friday Highlights | IAAPA Photo Gallery

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