|Exclusive News and Interviews
Day 1 in Gibtown
By MCW Staff
Gibsonton, FL -- The IISF's annual Trade Show and Extravaganza opened today in Gisonton, FL. The trade show is the largest event of the year for carnivals and related industries. Manufacturers and suppliers, hoping to begin the season with a spate of sales were on hand with the latest and greatest new items for the industry as well as many old standbys.
MCW had a booth in the breezway this year and we will be reporting each day from Gibtown. We hope to cover some of the seminars and talks most of interest to our readers, highlight many of the vendors and their products and conduct interviews with carnival owners and concessionaires. Shelby Royal, President of the Showmen's Club and Steve Ianni, 3rd Vice-President, reported "a lot of people for the first day." The parking lot was full and the traffic at the MCW booth and on the grounds appeared to be steady. In fact, attendance was over 2300 people up from 1,994 last year.
The MCW booth had many, many visitors wishing us their best and offering their thoughts and comments about the website. The crew from Cook's Concessions stopped by to tell us they check in every day, "Snowman", Avery Wheelock checked in as did Mike Thomas of Wade Shows, Chaz from Toy Factory, LLC, and moderators Ryan and CNY Chris and their crews.
MCW was also visited by legendary showman Ward Hall. Mr. Hall is co-owner with CM Christ of the "World Of Wonders" side show and Christ-Hall Inc. Mr. Hall related many stories from his years in the business and spoke of his plans for the coming season. Still traveling with a full-sized show, the tentative route for 2007 includes State Fair -- Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ, the Minnesota State Fair, the Ohio State Fair and the Florida State Fair. Hall said he has played the Bloomsburg and York Fairs with Reithoffer Shows for over 20 years as well as the Georgia National Fair in Perry and Pensacola Interstate Fair.
Hall said that the show remains extremely popular, garnering excellent press coverage whenever they set up. "Every spot we played, we made the front page of the paper", he said. The side show was featured in press releases and Hall appeared on Prarie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor on NPR. At the Minnesota State Fair this year, long time friend Penn Jillette, of the comedy and magic duo Penn and Teller, visited the show and then proceeded to promote the side show in media appearances for another project he was working on! One couple visited Mr. Hall during the Minnesota State Fair saying she usually only visited the fair once a year but after hearing the great review of the show from Penn Jillette, she decided to return again to the fair just to see the side show.
After the trade show closed at 6pm, the vendors were treated to a wonderful reception hosted by Shelby Royal and the trade show committee. We visited for a while with Tony Cassata of Bob's Space Racers who is now an avid reader of MCW. Tony told us the history of BSR and we hope to have a vendor spotlight up about them in the next day or two.
Wednesday features the safety seminar sponsored by the OABA and the second fuel seminar. We hope to have coverage of both classes.
If you visit the show, please stop by and say hello at the MCW booth.