Gibsonton, FL - The 47th annual IISA Trade Show and Extravaganza kicked off in Gibsonton on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015. The show grounds feature over 300 exhibits for the carnival and concession industry.
Although the weather was a bit cool for Florida, the sun was shining and many exhibitors were optimistic about the coming season, especially considering the low gas prices. Crowds were somewhat sparse on Tuesday but some may have been stuck by the snowstorms that have ravaged the Midwest and Northeast. Airports from Washington, DC north, and the midwest over the weekend were affected by the snow and ice. Once concessionaire has been trying to return to his home in the New York area for a couple of weeks but flight cancellations and travel delays have impeded his progress.
Exhibitors with equipment outside the building seemed to number several more than in past years.
Trailex, known for food concessions in the outdoor amusement industry had one of their huge signs welcoming visitors to the trade show and displaying their ability to advertise and market their products on the midway.
Zamperla had a Sky Racer on display in the first row, followed by Dalton Rides with three pieces, a Farm Tractor on full display and two additional rides, a Beetle and Jeeps racked on trailers.
Owen Trailers has a beautiful Surf Shack on display. The 70' long piece has a unique rope bride that is the first of its kind built by the company on this particular model fun house. The bridge is at the entrance of the ride and several children were excited to face the challenge of crossing the new attraction. The ride also has a barrel and obstacle course with bags at the top. The ride on display was going to Blue Sky Amusements, owned by the Reiss family of New York.
The concession business also seems to be healthy with numerous large new trailers to admire when walking the show. Uni-Glide manufacturing had a popcorn stand on display. Hitchhiker, had a Big Texas Grill Stand with huge marquee going to Ray Cammack Shows and an unique Cheese Curds stand going to Solem Concessions.
Gautier Fabrications had Rick's Pizza displayed as well as a Pickle Barrel Sirloin Tips stand which has a cafeteria-style design.
Schantz Manufacturing also has several trailers on the lot. Display stands include an Ice Cream for Ray Cammack Shows, with cheesecakes and a Jumbo Corn Dog Stand.
Waymatic located near Schantz and Chester, had a Funnel Cake/Ice cream trailer. Ice cream can be served when it's hot and funnel cake on the colder fall evenings. Ice Cream can also be added to the funnel cakes for an extra special midway treat.
Chester Built Trailers has a Lemonade on display owned by Al and Kim Bozich, a Chicken and Fry stand for Kim Halifax and a ticket booth. The company, owned by concessionaires who operate their own trailers, recently built ticket boxes for Wade Shows to be used at the Florida State Fair.
For house trailers and bunkhouses, Space Craft and Lazy Days both have large displays on the aisle with several trailers in each booth. Around the back, Lifetime Products had several of their bunkhouses on display. The trailers, made of aluminum, frames have made their mark on the industry and with the prevalence of bed bug problems, some have turned to this type of design to help keep the pests away. Also on display at the Lifetime booth were new ticket boxes built for Murray Brothers Shows of Ohio.
Across from Lifetime, Bob's Space Racers has a beautiful display featuring their new game Jumpin' Monkeys. This colorful new group game has monkeys that jump rope when you push the button. The more you jump, the higher the score. The game has an inventive way of displaying stock in the monkey barrels under the marquee.
Also in the BSR booth is a center trailer that features four different games, one per side, A water race is featured on the long side and a Balloon Pop on the other. The short sides have a Goblet Toss and Basketball. Also on display are a Fish Game and a Duck Pond.
Rides 4 U had their usual large display at the trade show. Rides 4 U represents S&S with a Frog Hopper, SBF/Visa with a great looking compact spinning coaster, Drop N' Twist and Groovy Bus, Fredricksen, with two slides on display and KMG who are featuring a new Flatline 360 at the show. The ride is similar to a Freak Out but it goes all the way over the top, adding a whole new level of excitement to the KMG ride family. The Heartline 360 had been presold to PBJ Happee Day Shows of Arkansas and was generating a lot of interest at the show.
Wadkins Manufacturing had their Expo Wheel on display. The company, which operates a carnival in the Baltimore area, has made a steady business of selling the wheels. Last trade show, slots were about a year out for new purchases and the company seems to be selling them as fast as they can make them.
The Spin Zone bumper cars made a return visit to the show. The ride gives a whole new twist to the traditional bumper cars.
Battech, as promised has their new Mach II Mega Slide on display. The ride, with its unique design can operate as two independent slides or both rides can be hooked together to make a “State Fair” type attraction. Many were waiting for the show to see what the new ride would look like and it has generated interest, especially for multi-unit carnivals that come together for larger events. The slide on the left is a 1995 model which was completely refurbished and adapted to the new design while the slide on the right was built brand new. The whole unit has been sold to Kevin Tate's California Carnival Company.
Also on display at the Battech booth was a Cliffhanger, a new piece that was delivered to Deggeller Attractions four months ago which sports a new LED lighting package.
Around the other side of the building, Fun Attraction has a world of inflatibles set up. In addition to inflates, the company also has small kiddie rides, especially for the rental and small carnival market. On display at the show is the company's Mini Disco Car, a small coaster-type ride for the family.
Rounding out the large display rides is Wisdom with their new model Gravitron, the Centrifuge and a Monster Truck Ride. The Centrifuge on display was presold to Luehrs Ideal Rides and a Centrifuge sold to Wade Shows is operating also at the Florida State Fair this week. Wade Shows owner Frank Zaitshik reported that their new Centrifuge out-performed his older model Gravitron and Starship models at the South Florida Fair in West Palm Beach last month.
Inside the building, Allied's Sherry Calhoun was meeting old friends and gathering a few new clients. Sherry recently moved to Colorado from Texas and she loves her new arrangement, working from home. Her assistant remains in the San Antonio office and calls can be routed directly to Sherry on her Allied line in Colorado. The move has also made travel easier. From San Antonio, Calhoun had to make connections to visit clients whereas Denver offers many more direct flights.
We will have plenty more on Day 2 of the show including an interview with Beauce Carnaval of Canada. Remember that the show now opens at 11 am each day and closes at 6 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
2015 IISF Trade Show Coverage