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South Florida Fair down slightly, Wade Shows up on midway

3/20/2007

By MCW STAFF

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The 2007 edition of the South Florida Fair was held January 12-28. A total of 8 national musical recording groups performed and over 20 family entertainment acts or shows were offered; all free with fair admission ticket. The Fair added an entertainment stage, offering 4 venues. This year's theme was "Dreams, Screams, Chills and Thrills." Parking remained free.

Despite several days of inclement weekday weather, the 2007 South Florida Fair is going to be remembered for a slew of new records. A total of 15 individual gate, ride and concession records were broken including the all-time gate revenue numbers for opening day. A new record was also established for overall ride midway gross.

In addition to opening day, individual gate revenue records were set for the second Friday, middle Sunday, last Friday and last Saturday. Ride gross revenue records were broken for the first Sunday, 2nd Friday, middle Saturday and Sunday and the last Friday and Saturday. The food concession gross revenue for opening day was shattered by over 40 per cent.

While weekend weather was ideal, rain or cold weather hampered the Fair 7 out of 10 weekdays, including the Fair's two biggest weekday promotions (Martin Luther King Day and Palm Beach County Day). The Fair closed early, due to rain, on Wednesday night, January 24. Total attendance numbered 586,550, off by 2 per cent from a year ago, although that figure is up over the 2005 South Florida Fair. Last year the South Florida Fair was ranked #34 in MCW's Top 50 fair listings.

"In spite of the disappointing weather, especially on the 2 major promotion days, we had a very good fair," said Rick Vymlatil, President and CEO of the South Florida Fair. "There's no telling where we could have been if Mother Nature had cooperated some during the weekdays, although we were blessed on the weekends. Fairgoers had a great time and I believe appreciated the expanded entertainment offerings."

Frank Zaitshik's Wade Shows provided the midway for the second straight year, bringing back a sky ride to the fair, which had a one-year absence after the midway contract change. Other attractions included Mike Wood's Techno Power, Jimmy Drew's Seattle Wheel; over 90 rides and attractions in all. The show set the fair's second consecutive record ride gross record, having now set individual daily records over the past two years on all fair days but 2. Asked about the Wade Shows midway, John Picano, Marketing and Public Relations Director for the fair said, "The reviews, from the public and media, have been very positive. We've been able to offer more rides than ever before. Our patrons are impressed with the attractive wide aisles, cleanliness and overall fun factor of the midway. The addition of Wade has also been beneficial to our fiscal operations." The public also responded well to the changes, increasing carnival midway revenues by almost $1,000,000 in the two years Wade Shows has held the contract.

Frank Zaitshik, Wade Shows' owner was ecstatic with the results, "At the end of last year's fair people were wondering what we were going to do for an encore. Given a year to plan our comeback, we assessed what we could do to improve the midway. We were able to enhance our midway beautification projects, add rest areas and amenities and a new walkway in kiddieland. I think our success last year and the improvements this year translated into even higher revenues." Zaitshik said the show was finalizing negotiations for a new long term contract with the fair and plans were already underway for improvements to the for the 2008 edition of the fair including a couple of new "surprises" that were set to be announced this summer.

The 2008 South Florida Fair will be held January 18 through February 3.

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