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Belle City Trip Rport
Visit to the Citrus County Fair
By Dan McGinnis
Inverness, FL -- Belle City Amusements played the Citrus County Fair in Inverness, Florida March 19th through 24th. Belle City has been playing this date for 50 years.
Hal Porter, fair manager spoke highly of Belle City. Stepping onto the midway gives ample evidence of the job they do. Each ride was freshly painted and looked new. The game concessions featured attractive fronts in a unique design. The food concessions were state of the art. All concessions had flags adorning their tent or trailer. The tops on the merry-go-round and kid rides were in excellent condition. While the midway did not feature any new rides this year, three rides were completely refurbished. The 1967 merry-go-round especially stood out. It was very attractive, well painted, and had a new top and Belle City logos on the bench seats.
Belle City was founded in 1948 when Charles Panacek Sr. incorporated his company. Today Charles G. Panacek Jr. Is President of the company and with his wife Rebecca runs the daily operations of the show. Show matriarch Mrs. Mary J Panacek has an active role in public relations and other important aspects of the company.
Charles & Rebecca have two children, Zachary at college in Knoxville, Tennessee and Charlotte in junior high school inOrlando, Florida. Belle City has been a member of the OABA since it's inception. With many satisfied clients, they have built an excellent reputation in the outdoor amusement business.
Charles takes great pride in seeing that his rides and attractions are both safe and well maintained. Belle City's route for 2007 started here in Inverness and takes them through October 27th playing county fairs and festivals in Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, South Carolina and Florida.
Unlike some show owners, Charles is optimistic about business in 2007. Rising fuel and insurance costs are a major concern for all shows. Charles is leery about raising ticket prices to offset the increases because he believes a rise in price may result in less riders and lower revenue for the show.
Workers, formerly a perennial problem for many carnivals, have not been a difficulty for the past few years because of Visa programs using South African workers. Workers are now plentiful and obey the rules of the show. All show personnel were attired in show shirts and hats.
The show had 26 rides at the event. The list was: Merry-go-round, Super Slide, Mini Himalaya, Hampton combo, Hampton Motorcycles, Crazy Plane, Dizzy Dragons, Racing, Fun Zone, Dark Ride, Heliport, Dragon Wagon, Gravitron, Scrambler, Tilt-a-whirl, Rock & Roll Himalaya, Power Surge, Sea Dragon, Scooter, Typhoon, Scorpion, Yo Yo, Ring Of Fire, Drop Zone, Giant Wheel and Orbiter.
If you have an opportunity to visit the show, I would encourage you to do so. Their route is listed in the Marketplace section of MCW.