The 2016 edition of the IAAPA Attractions Expo ended on Friday, attracting a record breaking 35,100 professionals from the amusement industry. Of the 35,100 attendees, 22,600 were recorded as buyers from all facets of the business.
The IAAPA expo has a huge economic impact on the Orlando and surrounding area, generating approximately $51.3 million for the local economy. At the close of the show, the general buzz around the industry was optimism about the future and owners were not holding back on purchases.
Len Soled's Rides 4-U debuted several new attractions at the show, and had several hit attractions on display including a Compact Spinning Coaster, Pirate Mini Jet, and Goovy Bus from SBF/Visa.
The company introduced a new family attraction from SBF/Visa called the Wave Rider. The Wave Rider is a stand-up attraction that's best described as a giant swing. A park model was on display at the show, however, a trailer mounted version is in the works and Soled hopes to have it on display for the upcoming IISF Trade Show in Gibtown this February. "We have several show owners on the list to buy one, and hope to be in a position to take orders in Las Vegas", Soled said of the trailer mounted version.
Soled reported that they saw a wide range of carnival operators, ranging from east to west coast and everyone was in a shopping mode. "Overall, we had a great show. It was well attended and we visited with a lot of carnival people. Everyone seems encouraged by the President-elect that he will help their businesses with labor and economic issues" said Soled.
New Rides Europe / Lamberink Rides
Peter Theunisz, owner of NewRidesEurope.com and UsedRidesEurope.com, represents KMG, Lamberink Dutch Wheels, and, as recently announced, Battech Enterprises, reported a successful show.
Last winter, Theunsiz sold the first Lamerink 46 meter Dutch Giant Wheel to Wade Shows and Wood Entertainment. The wheel is in production at Lamberink's Netherlands facility and is slated to be set up for the first time the week prior to Christmas.
Michael Wood will be on hand with a crew to help tear the wheel down so that they can begin learning the procedure. All the racks will be built by the factory and shipped in open-air containers. When they arrive in the US, the racks will be lifted out of the containers with a crane and mounted onto flatbed semi-trailers. The wheel is scheduled to debut at the Florida State Fair in Tampa this February.
The Wade-Wood wheel features 36 rectangular gondolas, with each gondola having indicator lights to show if the gondola door is properly locked. The wheel will feature an automatic program and will load five gondolas at a time.
Theunisz was also pleased to announce the sale of a second 46m Lamberink Giant Wheel to Bill Prescott, owner of an amusement park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Built as a park model, the wheel will be installed in July of 2017 and will feature 36 gondolas - 6 of which will be handicap accessible. Prescott's wheel will be set up as a major tourist attraction, with a European ticket box out front and a large half circle canopy over the rides queue.
Riders will be able to purchase drinks to enjoy while they ride from a nearby bar prior to boarding and purchase branded souvenirs when they exit.
At the close of the show on Friday, Theunsiz could report on the sale of a KMG Inversion to ARMCO Inc., owned by Larry Sankowsky of Arkansas. Sandowsky currently owns a KMG Speed Ride, which they book independently.
The Inversion is slated to be delivered in April of 2018.
Galaxy Amusement Sales
Todd and Scott Kunz had several new items on display for show owners. A product that Todd Kunz was particularly excited about was a new 360 degree LED module, which, is the first LED module that is designed to illuminate on all sides of the module - front, sides, and back.
An item on display that was receiving some attention was a new free standing portable light tower. The telescopic tower sports decorative RGB LED lights on the sides with high powered LED flood lights pointing down on the midway.
The tower uses Galaxy's slim LED flood lights, which have proven to be very durable. "Of the thousands of floodlights that we have sold, we have had zero returned to us due to failure," Kunz said of the product's reliability. The units are designed to be picked up with a forklift, but Kunz promised an updated version to be on display in Gibtown.
A product that has been popular for Galaxy has been the company's truss system. These trusses have been used for creating eye-catching fronts for food stands and now front gates. Mike Fetherston's Gold Star Amusement purchased a protype Truss Front Gate last season. The gate features custom cut lettering with LEDs. Other options can include mounting LED video boards to the gate so you can display any message of your choice.
A company that has taken the industry by storm over the past 10 months is Kolmax-Plus, a ride manufacturing company based in the Czech Republic. While Kolmax may be new to the US market, they have been producing amusement rides full-time since 2001 and are very well known throughout the European market.
When the Czech Republic was in communist control, showmen were not able to import rides from other countries. Instead, they were forced to build their own, thus making the showman both the builder and the operator.
Showmen would operate rides at fairs and events during the months of May through September and build rides from October through April. Kolmax founder Roudolph Kamenicky began by building a bench ride, also known as the Miami or Gee Wizz.
Showmen saw how great a product Kamenicky was building, and commissioned him to build bench rides for their carnivals.
Soon, Kamenicky's bench ride became very popular within the European amusement industry, with other manufacturers copying the design. Kamenicky has produced and sold over 136 bench rides to showmen all over the industry. In 2016, Kamenicky made substantial changes to the ride to make use of the latest technology.
Since 2001, Kolmax-Plus has served as a full-time manufacturing company and no longer operates amusement rides.
Roudolph's sister, Irena, acts as the company's sales representative and Jack Souilljee is their technical advisor. Souilljee is no stranger to the ride manufacturing business, being one of the original founders of KMG, a company he worked for until 2007.
Souilljee spends much of his time helping engineer each ride so that it meets very specific standards, including TUV approval.
Kolmax rides are very affordably priced. Much of this can be attributed to the major difference in the cost of labor in the Czech Republic versus other parts of the world. "The price of labor and the cost of living in the USA are much higher than in the Czech Republic," explained Irena.
Souilljee explained that there are many manufacturers building rides in Czechoslovakia and selling them to the USA, but buyers must beware that not all Czech manufacturers hold themselves to the same standards of quality that Kolmax does.
"Some manufacturers use Chinese steel, where as we use German steel that costs four times as much as Chinese steel" said Souilljee.
Irena pointed to the reputation that Kolmax has established in the industry - selling over 27 Flying Elephant rides in just two years. "When the same buyers come back to buy their second ride, we feel good about our product."
Kolmax's first year exhibiting at IAAPA proved to be successful. Irena reported several new ride sales from the show including a Children's Carousel to Stewart Amusements and a new Flying Elephant ride with folding platforms to All Around Amusements. Other sales include a Flying Elephant, Tea Cup, Baby Train, and a Bumper Car ride to Powers Great American Midways.
After the success of exhibiting at the IISF Trade Show in Gibtown in 2016, the company plans to bring even more rides to display in 2017. Kolmax will exhibit Power's new Bumper Cars, a Tea Cup, and the new Flying Elephants with folding platforms.
"The platforms open with hydraulic rams and the entrance and exit gates can be configured to any side of the ride" clarified Irena. The new model of the Flying Elephants is estimated to reduce approximately one and half hours of set up time.
Kolmax will be helping two other Czech manufacturers break into the US carnival market. Longtime friends Jung Max and Flachs will be exhibiting in Gibtown for the first time - displaying a Ferris Wheel, Baby Train, and a trailer mounted roller coaster.
At 4pm, the 2016 edition of the IAAPA Expo came to a close. IAAPA is scheduled to be back in Orlando for the 2017 expo, scheduled for November 13-17 and over 249 exhibitors have already booked space on the trade show floor.
Up next for the amusement industry is the SLA/IAFE Trade Shows in Las Vegas, taking place November 27-30, 2016 and the IISF Trade Show in Gibsonton, Florida scheduled February 7-11, 2017.