The 2014 edition of the IAAPA Expo kicked off Tuesday at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. The annual trade show spans over 540 square feet with 9 miles of aisle ways and features over 1000 exhibitors representing 50 nations in 125 different product categories. While the show is mainly indoors, there is also outside exhibit space in the parking lot on the backside of the trade show building. During the event, over 27,000+ people attend from over 100 nations with approximately 17,000 buyers from multiple industries including amusement parks, carnivals, water parks, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, among others. The show has a great economic impact to the area, bringing in over $51.3 million dollars to the city of Orlando alone.
During the kickoff event for the expo, IAAPA announced that Bob Cassata, founder of game builder Bob Space Racers was inducted into the IAAPA Hall of Fame. Also inducted was "Dick" Knoebel of Knobels Grove Amusement Resort. The IAAPA Hall of Fame honors individuals for their significant and lasting contributions to the worldwide industry.
"We are excited to welcome Bob Cassata and Dick Knoebel as the newest inductees to the IAAPA Hall of Fame," said Ron Gustafson, 2014 chairman of the IAAPA Hall of Fame and Archives Committee and director of marketing and public relations for Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, Connecticut. "The products and guest experiences they have created have thrilled and delighted amusement fans for years. Their passion for our industry is profound and they both deserve this prestigious recognition for their contributions."
Bob Cassata, Bobs Space Racers
Bob Cassata revolutionized the carnival game business and adapted his games to the theme park industry worldwide. Cassata's first game, a three pin bowling alley game, was built for the Daytona Beach Boardwalk and soon thereafter he built a "Pitch-Til-You-Win" and "Balloon Dart" game on a burned out house trailer that was assembled in his garage. In 1970, he designed the world's first electronic group game, called the "Space Racer," which was named shortly after the first Apollo Lunar mission. As the games popularity grew, so did demand for Bob's "Space Racer" game. In 1972, Bob's Spacer Racers was established, aptly named after his first hit game, and built the first mechanized group game in which players could compete against each other for the first time in history. From that point, Cassata never looked back, developing popular games such as the nationally recognized "Whac-A-Mole" and other group games. BSR has a well known reputation throughout the amusement industry for developing reliable, fair, and fun games. Today, the Daytona Beach-based business holds 22 patents and more than 50 trademarks and is currently doing business in 120 countries.
Waterloo Tent and Tarp
Waterloo Tent and Tarp was busy showing off their new pinwheel hex umbrellas, which are best described as free spinning umbrellas that resemble pinwheels. The umbrellas rotate with the wind and feature an industrial bearing that was built by a company who builds winches for battleships. According to company president Pete Downs, "the bearings in the umbrellas will last forever." The idea to build pinwheel umbrellas began with Waterloo designer Cheri Koth when she approached Pete about a new idea she had to build an umbrella shaped like a pin wheel that would provide shade and have unique character. Immediately, they decided that it should spin like a pinwheel and imagined how neat it would be to see a group of spinning pinwheel umbrellas on a park or carnival setting. Currently, the umbrellas are designed as park models, but they are working on a way to rack them for the carnival industry. The umbrellas can be built up to 16ft in diameter and are working on a retrofit to existing permabrellas.
Waterloo also displayed a 19x19 aluminum frame "O Hang" joint. The tent was designed with a 2ft overhang that is meant to give the midway a cleaner presentation then older, traditional overhangs. The company can build the tent to any size or shape, but recommends an overhang no more than 2ft to prevent tucks moving down the midway during teardown and setup from clipping the overhang.
The company, which normally slows down for the holiday season, is experiencing a high volume of work as it is busy building over 67 new tops for Wade Shows to debut at the 2015 Florida State Fair. The new tops will be for all concessions, umbrellas and bally cloths and will feature a unique color scheme specific to the Florida State Fair of yellow, orange and "Wade Shows blue". The tops will be purchased by Wade for use by concessionaires at the Florida State Fair only. "This is a unique situation as we need to know all of the concessionaires playing the fair well in advance so we can build their canvas specific to their application. It's probably one of the most coordinated projects we have done" said Downs.
KMG had a booth inside on a main isleway and while the company had no physical rides on display, they had plenty of foot traffic in and out of their booth. Sales representative Peter Theunisz was proud to announce two new rides that the company is developing including a 65m version of the Inversion, which will rack on 5 semi trailers. The super sized Inversion will be built and delivered to a Dutch Showman in the spring of 2016. The company is also in the midst of developing a 35m Swing Tower that will rack on one 53ft trailer. Compared to the company's giant swing tower, the Stratosphere, the smaller swing tower will feature new design techniques for setup and operation. The swing tower will have a capacity of 24 passengers and the first one, themed "Train your Dragon" is set to debut in Norway during March of 2015. Given the ride's impressive height and one trailer transport, Theunisz suggests the ride may be a hit for US show owners.
Powers Great American Midways recently took delivery of a one trailer Inversion, themed Khaos, at the North Carolina State fair. The ride was the 9th top grossing ride at the event, which Theunisz finds amazing considering the ride's 12 seat capacity in comparison with large roller coasters, flume rides, and other spectacular rides that were at the fair.
Tim and Pam Casper's PBJ Happee Day Shows is set to take delivery of a new Inversion this winter. The new piece themed "Flatline 360" will be on display at the IISF Trade Show in Gibsonton this February. The new ride replaces Casper's existing Inversion, "Nemesis 360" which the show recently sold to a show in Canada. The new attraction has an updated LED lighting package and new software and will feature a similar color scheme to the Nemesis.
Toward the end of the day, another Inversion sale was pending to a US based show. As the deal is finalized, we will report more details. Currently, KMG is selling with the closest delivery date of October 2016.
Stay tuned to CarnivalWarehouse.com for continued coverage of the 2014 IAAPA Expo.