The 2015 IAAPA Attractions Expo trade show opened Tuesday in Orlando, attracting buyers from the carnival, amusement park, arcade, and entertainment industries. The expo attracts over 28,000 attendees - including 18,000 buyers annually from over 100 different countries. This year's show is the second largest in IAAPA's 97 year history, featuring over 1,000 different exhibitors occupying more than 525,000 net square feet of exhibit space.
One of the shows regular exhibitors, Zamperla Rides, occupied one of the largest indoor booth spaces. Zamperla featured the new Windstarz ride, which is a giant family ride that riders are able to control the elevation of their ride vehicle using a hang glider on top of the ride seat. The Windstarz seats 24 riders and is a perfect ride for families considering its interactive ride motion and a height requirement of just 36" with an adult or 42" alone. The ride occupies a 60ft diameter circle and is only available as a park model. Sales representative Michael Coleman explained "the ride would require multiple trailers and would be far too difficult to set-up and tear down for the carnival market".
Zamperla's latest portable ride, the Endeavor, was not on display at the show due to the low ceiling height, but was described as a piece with action similar to a Huss Enterprise. Zamperla engineered a (patent pending) dual stage start and life mechanism which will help reduce the number of trailers required to transport the piece from three to two trailers. "We eliminated the need for ride decking, which reduced the number of loads" said Coleman. The new attraction debuted at Zamperla's Luna Park Amusement Park in Coney Island for Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Awards, but the company received so much interest in the piece that they ended up selling it to another park and opting to take delivery of a new model at a later date. "It's a great piece for carnivals and parks. We sold a few to major parks already", said Coleman. "There has been some demand for a slightly smaller version that would shave off some of the set-up and teardown time and shorten some of the trailer loads for better portability" echoed Coleman.
A popular attraction that Zamperla debuted at IAAPA in 2014 was a family giant wheel, the Balloon Fiesta Wheel. Since its debut, Zamperla has delivered 10 models and has six more in production. "It's a great wheel for smaller shows that don't have the capacity for a big giant wheel. It's also great for larger shows that want to put a smaller wheel in their kiddieland" said Coleman. The wheel racks on one 28ft trailer, takes two hours with a two to three man crew to assemble, and is extremely affordable.
On the kiddie ride front, Zamperla re-introduced a classic children's ride to the market, the Zip Zap Racer, which is a modern version of the Midget Racers. Zamperla used modern engineering with updated components to recreate the once popular childrens ride. "There are only a handful of the originals left. The ones that are left are hard to get parts for" said Coleman. Currently, the Zip Zap Racer is built as a ground mount, but could be designed to rack on a flatbed trailer.
Waterloo Tent & Tarp
Pete Down's Waterloo Tent and Tarp is keeping busy producing canvas for the fair, carnival, and amusement park industry. After Anchor Industries announced early this year that it would no longer be producing canvas for the amusement industry, Waterloo has seen a huge boost in sales. "The added business pushed our production schedule back about four weeks, but we are continuing to service our existing customer base while servicing new customers" said company president Pete Downs. "September through December is the best time for our customers to order canvas. That's the slowest time of the year for us and the best time to get good deals".
Waterloo featured a 20x20 aluminum frame top with an 8-point overhang at the show. "The 8-Point Overhang has become very popular for carnivals. They are easy to set up and give a clean, modern appearance on the midway" said Downs. Also on display is a product Waterloo introduced last year, the Pinwheel Umbrella. The Pinwheel Umbrella features a rotating top that pivots freely in the wind. The new product has been popular with parks and the company recently sold 12 to the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds.
Another product Waterloo offers is digitally printed canvas, but cautioned ride owners to keep safety in mind when having skirts and tops made by companies producing canvas that is not up to the ride manufacturers specifications. "Some companies will print ride skirts and tops on banner material with no webbing or threads. If there is a safety issue with the canvas, the liability will fall back on the carnival and not the manufacturer. You always have to keep safety in mind" said Downs. "We certainly can do digital prints, and while other companies can do it for less, we put a lot of consideration into our product before delivering it to a customer" echoed Downs.
At the 2015 Florida State Fair, Wade Shows re-branded the look and feel of the midway through the use of a custom canvas design specific to the fair. Downs hinted that this may be a trend in the industry and Waterloo is currently working with several customers on midway theming concepts.
The 2015 IAAPA Expo continues through Friday at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Keep posted for daily coverage of the event on CarnivalWarehouse.com.