The 2015 IISF Trade Show wrapped up Saturday. As vendors packed to leave, a small crowd of attendees scrambled to make some last minute deals or just cut up a last jackpot. Vendors, in general, were pleased with the show. Companies like Ozark Fisheries, who supply goldfish direct to game suppliers, said they have grown their business considerably in this segment as a result of attending the trade show. Others said the industry was in a buying mood and though traffic was not once it once was, the people who attended were here to buy.
As you walk through the show, there are a million and one ideas bandied about on how to make the show better. Should it be shorter to save travel expense for vendors? Should the hours be changed? How does the IISA get more rides to be displayed? All the above will be talked about by the IISA and incoming President Richard George who made a point to listen to vendors and take constructive criticism. George could be seen on the trade show floor greeting vendors and customers, gathering information for his upcoming presidency.
Daniel Barbacovi is a full time paramedic who became a carnival owner by accident. When a 4th of July event he helped run got news its carnival wasn't going to show, Barbacovi purchased a bounce house and train ride to cover the shortage and pulled a couple of rides from Moore's Greater Shows to run the event.
Barbacovi saved the day and Spectrum Entertainment was started. Since 1988, Spectrum has grown to encompass 35 rides on two units, playing events in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
The show carries a Zipper, Hi Roller, Eli Wheel, Merry Go Round and Dizzy Dragons among other pieces. At the show this year they also purchased a kiddie pirate ship.
Barbacovi plays all fairs and festivals - no still dates - and he credits other carnivals for helping him get started and mentoring him along the way. He especially cited Tip Top Shows and Hawkins Amusements as companies that have helped immensely. He said he has a good relationship with the larger shows and they helped each other by booking rides when needed.
Michael, Daniel's son, helps run the show along with a daughter who has food and a brother who has games. The season for Spectrum runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Len Soled of Rides 4-U is one vendor who has not cut back on display space. Representing KMG, Fredriksen Fun Slides, SBF/Visa and S&S Power, he had many rides on display at the show.
"People are buying. I've seen lots of show owners and if they weren't going to come this would be the year. With all the bad weather up north they had an easy excuse to miss the show but they all made the trip here", said Soled.
Amusements of America bought a used ride from Soled, a Fabbri Kamikaze he had listed.
As reported previously, a show in the midwest purchased a KMG Inversion and Deggeller Attractions purchased a new Fireball. The show who purchased the Inversion will be named at a later date.
Barry Jamieson and Andy Schoendinst both purchased Frog Hopper rides. A Groovy Bus was purchased by Wade Shows, Mike Featherston of Gold Star Amusements and David Pfeffer of Tons of Fun Shows. The Drop N' Twist was purchased by Beauce Carnaval, Gold Star Amusements and Ed Burlingame of Pride Shows.
The compact spinning coaster drew a lot of attention. The display model was being delivered to Butler Amusement's Michael Brajevich. Also purchasing were Fiesta Shows and Maurer Shows. The coaster was torn down Friday because it had to leave on time Saturday to make a cross country trip. Soled promised Butler after display in Gibsonton, he would deliver the ride for an on-time setup in Indio, CA which opens this week.
All in all it was a good week for Soled. "We had a good IAAPA followed by a good Gibtown", he concluded.
BSR's Tony Cassata echoed Soled's sentiments. "It was a great show. People are buying and we had good traffic. The right people were here and everyone is in an upbeat mood", said Cassata.
Three trailers were sold at the show including the new Jumpin' Monkeys.
Other concession purchases included a funnel cake from Trailex and 2 very good prospects for the large digital display signs.
Lifetime sold a 2nd bunkhouse to Paul Murray, a new and improved 53' trailer that sleeps 25 to Chris Barton, a 5th wheel to NAME and a ticket dispenser to Murray Bros. "It was a good show", said company President Gary Otterbacher.
Surrey Forks RV also sold a trailer to Dale and Sharon Negus.
At the Uni-Glide booth, Doug Dills told us they had sold a 20' grab to Robbie Hauser. He also reported that Strates Shows had made several purchases at the show including an ARM Rock Star, Zero Gravity from Battech and a Tea Cup from Zamperla. The cups are going to Nick Strates, son of Jim Strates, who is joining the show this year as a lot man.
Speaking of new generation ride owners, Ricky Reithoffer was proudly inspecting his new Zamperla Sky Race. He carefully watched the ride being readied for transport and asked some questions to the technicians present from Zamperla. This is Reithoffer's first ride he has signed for on his own. Also in Zamperla news, a Balloon Wheel was sold to Pride Amusements and because of high interest in the product, 4 more pieces have been ordered for delivery from Italy.
Over at Owen Trailers, the Blue Sky Amusements fun house was generating a lot of attention, especially the new rope bridge at the piece's entrance. Owen were working on a few deals and hope to be closing some just after the show. Owen will be starting production of a new Wacky Shack for Windy City Amusements, which will be delivered this spring.
ARM also sold a few things at the show including the Rock Star to Strates. The company was proud of the 5 rides it had at the Florida State Fair this year including the new Frenzy and trade show visitors had a chance to see the rides in action.
Dalton also had some pieces going out the door. A bug and TUV were going to Wade Shows and a Farm Tractor to Sam Whitaker.
Wadkins brought a wheel here to sell at the show and they sold it to Ken Johnston while generating interest in more orders from others.
Battech's Albert Frieden said the company moved a few pieces during the show. Kevin Tate of California Carnival Company is taking delivery on the new double slide and the piece generated a tremendous amount of interest. Also popular was the Cliffhanger and its new LED light package, one of which was sold the 1st day. The Cliffhanger on display was on loan from Deggeller Attractions, which was delivered to the show last fall. In addition to the Strates Zero Gravity purchase, Modern Midways is doing a Wind Glider conversion with Battech.
In the back, Wisdom was busy with their new Centrifuge model Gravitron which was sold to Andrew Schoendinst. The Monster Truck on display is going to North American Midway Entertainment. Wisdom reported they will be starting production on its new Y Factor ride as soon as they return to Colorado and there have been several early interested buyers.
The dates for the 2016 IISF Trade Show have yet to be announced, but will be within the upcoming weeks.
2015 IISF Trade Show Coverage