You couldn't have asked for better weather during the 2019 IISF Trade Show. Every day was sunny, warm, but not too hot, and there was certainly plenty to see and do at the show. While the mood at the show was generally positive, two factors kept a good show from being a great one; the rainy 2018 season for some, and the labor uncertainty caused by the lack of a deal on H2B caps.
WISDOM RIDES OF AMERICA
Jared Davis of Wisdom said that the show was very good but with labor such a big issue right now, people were holding off on making purchases and final decisions. Davis said he had a lot of interest in the new Y-Factor ride. The piece on display is owned by James Gang Amusements. Also at the show was the company's new Fast and Furious, a Flying Bobs-type ride that belongs to Robert Salerno's All Around Amusements.
Davis said he closed a few deals at the show. He sold a Himalaya to Coleman Brothers Shows and a new generation Sizzler to and Starship ride Wade Shows, and an Alien Abduction to Powers Great American Midways.
Eric Bates, a veteran of both carnival operations and ride manufacturing, says people are nervous about the H2B issue hurting their shows and hurting the industry. He laments the increase in regulations that he says makes it tough to operate a carnival profitably. He points to several carnivals including Playworld (Jeff Brady), Myers, Paul Murray, and his own brother's show (Bate's Amusements) that have ceased operations recently.
Bates is an advocate for the pay one price system where admission and rides are included for one price to the fair. He says he started the first pay one price fair at the Carroll County Fair in Ohio after a trip to Disney World. Disney had recently abandoned a tiered ticket system for an all you can ride one price entry fee. Bates thought it would work at fairs as well and convinced the fair to raise the gate from $2.50 to $3.00 but include the rides. At the end of the event he says, both fair and carnival had made more money. Many other Ohio fairs followed suit including, the Ohio State Fair which remained pay one price until 1991.
ARM's newest attraction the Sky Hawk, has two units sold. The first will be delivered to NAME and the second to Powers' Great American Midways this year.
Another domestic manufacturer with a new product but customers reluctant to pull the trigger largely because of labor issues, is Majestic Manufacturing, also of Ohio. Vince Kudler said he had a lot of interest in his new family coaster but H2B laws have put a stand still on orders. He says the rain last year and strong foreign competition because of the strong dollar have hurt US manufacturers.
Despite the challenges, Kudler is hopeful the newest edition to his ride lineup will be a hit with carnivals. The first model went to Steve Swika, who recently booked the ride with Amusements of America at an all ticket fair. The Backspin Coaster, according the Kudler, came in first through fourth each day out of the 43 rides on the midway. The Backspin will also be making a return appearance at the IX Center where the Director was delighted with the operation and extended an invitation to return during the event last year.
The Farm tractor on display is going to Gus Mitchell's Mitchell Brothers Shows and the company sold a Jump Cycle to Chris Williams of Wee Entertainment.
The Monkey Maze shown at the show was purchased by Matt McDonagh's Big Rock Amusements in 2018 and like other manufacturers, he has a sale pending the labor issue being resolved. Owen is hoping to finalize the deal by week's end.
RIDES 4 U
Len Soled Sold Crazy Cars (Mini Breakdance) to Majestic Midways and Beauce Carnaval, an Air Show to Skelly's Amusements, a Frog Hopper to Houghton Enterprises and two other Crazy Cars to World's Finest Shows and Butler Amusements. A KMG Speed, themed Space Port, was delivered to Deggeller Attractions.
On the used ride front, he also moved a Samba Balloon to Houghton Enterprises.
Commenting on the show, Soled said “It is still one show where I can see about 60% of my carnival owners in one place. There was good turnout from the US and Canada, although the international business was slower”.
Luna Park delivered 50' wheels to Cole Show and James Gang Amusements and closed three more deals for wheels with Caseys Rides, Frazier Shows and Big Round Wheel Amusements of South Carolina. They also sold a circus train to Anderson Midways.
EQUIPMENT SOLUTIONS INTERNATIONAL
Steve Lisko reported lots of interest and was very happy with his new location. “We did much better this year than last year”, he said. The company sold a a ride to Australia and closed deals on a train and possibly 2 boat rides to smaller parks and rental companies which represent the core of his business.
Lisko said Thursday was especially a good day for his company at the trade show.
Kolmax again had one of largest displays at the show with several rides from their line represented. The company sold Jumbo Elephant rides to Powers and Thomas, Dreamland Amusements, ILand, LLC, and the piece on display was being delivered to PBJ Happee Day Shows.
The Tea Cup ride with the roof went to ILand, LLC and the Tea Cups without the roof went to Ben Pickett of Ray Cammack Shows. Ferris wheels were sold to ILand, Big Wheel, and Jay Jessop of Jessop's Amusements. The bumper cars on display was delivered in 2018 to Alex Arnold. The Dragon Coaster on display was purchased by Modern Midways and additional coasters were purchased by Brown's Amusements, Powers' Great American, ILand, LLC, and Powers and Thomas.
This was Bojux's second year at the IISF trade show and they had a nice display with two Miami rides and a carousel.
The company sold four Miami rides with Jolly Shows, NAME, 1st Class Amusements and Jessop Amusements all making purchases. Moore's Greater Shows purchased the carousel and a 25 meter wheel will be delivered shortly to Tons of Fun Shows.
“It was a great show for us with lots of interest from buyers”, enthused Jirina Hajkova of Bojux.
Carlo Guglielmi had some good news to report as well. He is delivering a new Street Fighter from Technical Park to West Coast Amusements in April and he sold a 93 ft. Technical Park Wheel to Fun Spot. He will be selling their older wheel that the current one is replacing.
Other sales being delivered this year include two Street Fighter Revolutions to NAME and an Aerobat and a Bertazzon Musik Express to Scott Simpson of Ocean City, NJ.
In addition, the company has a Super Miami from Technical Park being installed for Santa Cruz Boardwalk and 22m meter wheels will be delivered to Cushing Amusements and Wade Shows. These 22m wheels include lights for the tubs.
Guglielmi said they are now making a 28m wheel that will have larger capacity tubs that seat 6 instead of 4, increasing capacity by 50%.
Ital represents Technical Park, Bertazzon and InterPark in the US.
KMG / Used Rides Europe / New Rides Europe
Lamberink, KMG and Used / New Rides Europe were very happy with their new location near the front of the show.
Peter Theunisz, who represents these companies, said he sold a used Inversion at the show to a European company. On Thursday, a Brazilian client ordered a brand new Speed for 2020.
In July of this year, Big Rock Amusements will take delivery of a new KMG Freak Out.
The first KMG ‘Surf Ride' for the US was sold to Otterbacher Shows and will be on display at this year's IAAPA show, and in 2020 at Gibtown.
“There were several US showmen who showed interest in a Lamberink RL22 wheel on one semi-trailer”, said Theunisz. “The first one will be delivered to Drew Expositions in August. They ordered the ride at the IAAPA show in Orlando”, he added.
According to Theunisz, KMG will release another new ride concept in September and present it at the IAAPA show in November. The ride will not physically be on display but the company will bring pictures and video of the new attraction.
Next year KMG, Lamberink and Used Rides Europe plan to return to the same location but will add the KMG ‘Surf Ride', a Lamberink RL22 wheel and probably a new KMG ‘Speed'.
Theunisz said attendance in general suffered this year. He attributes the softness to the industry struggling with the H2B situation.
Nevertheless, he says KMG will continue to develop new ride ideas and they are putting a lot of effort into supporting their US customers and the industry in general.
Theunisz was very proud to accept an award on behalf of Used Rides Europe and KMG for their support and sponsorship of the OABA to find a solution to the H-2B labor issues.
All in all, it seems to be a solid year for buying in the industry, the big question mark for many though remains the uncertainty of their ability to hire foreign workers under the H-2B program, making for many sleepless nights as opening days approach.