The skies cleared up on Friday for a beautiful trade show day. Although temperatures were only in the high 60's the sun was out and people stayed warm.
Although he spends a lot of time in Florida, Robert Briggs of Modern Midways is a native of the Chicago area. He opened about 4 weeks ago in southern Florida and plays this week in Kendall, near Miami.
The route continues in Florida with two units each week until the last week in May, when he heads up north to Chicagoland for the summer. There the show plays 2 - 3 events each week through Labor Day. The show then heads south playing county fairs in IL, GA and AL until they hit Florida again at the end of October.
With a strong Florida route, Modern Midways is one of the few shows that keeps busy all year round. The carnival carries 50 plus rides now and purchased two here at the trade show in Gibosonton. Briggs bought a SBF/Visa Groovy Bus from Len Soled at Rides 4 U. He also bought a refurbished Cliffhanger from Battech Industries that he says will look brand new when delivered.
Denny's Electronics is completing a job for new scenery and LED lights on the Thunderbolt. Denny's has done several jobs for Modern Midways over the years including the show's Fireball.
New this year to the route is the Winnebago County Fair in Illinois. The fair runs at the end of August.
Brigg's crew includes a mix of industry veterans and new blood. Heading the concessions department are brothers Frankie and Eddie. Brian Morrisey is the general agent for the show and John Whitfield runs the office. Mike Robb has rides on the show and runs the second unit. Jean Brake does the very important duty of securing permits in the City of Chicago.
Briggs is past President of the Miami Showmen's Association. He is very proud that his father, Frank Briggs, is being honored by the association as the Man of the Year (Golden 100) The plaque is being presented in his memory. Those interested in lending their support to the Golden 100 should send a check to the Miami Showmen's Association, 3391 Griffin Rd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312.
ROCKEN GRAPHICS ACQUIRES BELL'S ON SITE CANVAS
Kenny Smith of Rocken Graphics is a man on the move. Until now, Rocken Graphics has been a sign and design company based in Gibsonton. Smith is very active in the Showmen's Association and helps run the trade show.
He recently purchased Suzanne Bell's On Site Canvas business and moved the operations to Gibsonton. "We started doing digital canvas three years ago and this is a market we wanted to concentrate on", said Smith. Bell will be staying on board for a while doing sales and consulting.
The purchase includes patterns, supplies and equipment. The purchase of On Site doubled the size of Smith's printing operation. He now has a better array of services to offer his customers.
One new item they will be offering is custom printed trash cans. These prints can have any logo or design and have a spray laminate that is baked in for long lasting protection.
Smith believes that because they can deliver canvas and work in-house from design to completion, they have a competitive advantage over their competitors. In addition, being based in Gibsonton, he says customers can pick up canvas during the trade show and save on shipping.
KMG FREAK OUT RIDE PATENT UPDATE
KMG sold an inversion during the trade show, with the buyer to be announced at a later date. Peter Theunisz of the company said there has been tremendous interest in their products and he is hoping to close several more deals by show's end. At the close of the day on Friday, Theunisz confirmed a deal with Deggeller Attractions who placed an order for a brand new Afterburner (Fire Ball).
As reported previously on carnivalwarehouse.com, KMG has had some patent and copyright difficulties with what they believe are unauthorized copies of their popular Freak Out ride.
When the show began Theunisz approached Polish manufacturer Luna-Park with an agreement whereby Luna-Park would agree not to sell or advertise a ride they produce that is similar to the Freak Out. According to Theunisz, the company did not accept the agreement. KMG proceeded to file a suit against Luna-Park which was served at the trade show. Theunisz said an suit against an American operator using one of the knock off rides would also be filed.
KMG has patents in four European countries and the U.S. for the Freak Out in addition to a copyright.
Theunisz pointed to a case in KMG's past where he said they were the first to come up with the Miami-type ride. The ride idea was later copied by many operators over the years because the ride was never given legal protection by getting patent or copyright. He said KMG has learned its lesson and thus has been enforcing its rights, even through legal action, if needed.
In other KMG news, the company will be building a new 220' Inversion that will travel on 5 semi-trailers. The ride will hold 24 passengers and with a price tag well into the millions of dollars, will be targeted at a small number of European operators.
Theunisz explained that in Europe, ride operators are given locations at major events but they are expected to purchase new equipment and bring it to the event every few years. The old equipment is then sold off in most cases and the company retains the rights to a prime spot at a major date with new equipment.
Unlike in the US, unlimited ride pricing such as wristbands are rarely used. Each rider can pay $10 or even $20 per ride on some of the top attractions. In order for a US ride company to make a purchase of that size, some of the pricing structure at events would have to change, enabling the US ride company to charge a significant amount of money per ticket without use of a wristband or similar unlimited ride ticket. For now however, the market for these truly unique super spectaculars will remain largely in Europe.
The final day of the 2015 IISA trade show is Saturday, February, 7th. We will be wrapping up our coverage of the event and revealing many of the purchases that have taken place at the show or finalized here. Please visit carnivalwarehouse.com in the coming week for additional trade show wrap-up coverage.