SLA Reports Good Experience in San Antonio; SLA Funding Up Thanks to Creative Fundraising
Deggeller Attractions to debut new E-Ticketing System; Show awaiting new coaster & KMG Speed
Day 2 of the IAFE convention and trade show was also the second and final day of the SLA Exhibitor’s Lounge held at the Marriott Rivercenter in downtown San Antonio.
Showmen's League Exhibitors Lounge
The SLA’s Cindy Henning said that booth space was down a little from 2017, with less registrants as well, but last year, she pointed out, was an abnormally good year.
Contributing to the difficulties this year was a snowstorm affecting the East Coast and Midwest, canceling thousands of flights and leaving others stuck in airports or at home.
Henning said that overall, San Antonio was a good experience. She said registrants seemed to be having a good time and were happy with the people of San Antonio, the restaurants and nightlife. She especially had accolades for the Marriott Rivercenter which she describes as a big improvement as far as the quality of the hotel over Bally’s in Vegas. She said the new facility was larger and more spacious, giving attendees an overall more positive experience.
Andy Schoendinst of Luehr’s Ideal Rides of St. Louis, MO, is the new incoming president of the SLA. He was installed Monday at the convention, replacing Guy Leavitt of Ray Cammack Shows. Leavitt will end his reign Tuesday night at the annual banquet.
Henning reported that the SLA’s funding was up. Successful fundraising events include SLA after Dark, where proceeds help fund the scholarship drive and pay for initiatives such as the cemetery, the Christmas party for underpriveleged kids and the annual Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade.
She said that overall, it was a positive experience to be in San Antonio. The banquet was sold out due to a focus on pre-registration. “Charlene and Guy Leavitt have done a fantastic job this year”, enthused Manning. “They helped us raise a lot of money for the club”, she added.
Another successful fundraiser this year was the 2nd annual SLA calendar which were sold for $20 a piece. The calendars are uniquely formed; carnival operators, their families, and other SLA members submitted photos vying for one of the 12 coveted calendar spots. People then voted on the photos—$1 per photo—and the top 12 were placed in the calendar.
The SLA also held its annual memorial service on Tuesday. The affair featured Holly Swartz from Hitchhiker singing during the service.
Deggeller Attractions Debuts New E-Ticketing Program
Deggeller Attractions was one of many carnivals exhibiting at the IAFE trade show in 2019. His booth also featured the latest entry into the cashless ticketing world; Fun Pass. The company has been working on the solution and will be testing it this Spring, starting with an event in Florida.
Andy Deggeller reported that the 2018 season was decent, especially with solid fair runs later in the year. Hot weather in the middle of the year depressed crowds a bit and strong county fairs like those in Fredericksburg, VA and Manassas, VA were affected by the uncomfortable temperatures.
Things started to pick up by Labor Day however, as the show had a good run in Maryland and a fantastic run at the State Fair of Virginia. Deggeller praised Marlene Pierson-Jolliffe, the State Fair of Virginia manager and her team, for bringing more Richmond families to the event. Deggeller, who is a University of Richmond graduate, knows the area well. He was excited that the fair was engaging local wineries and breweries and adding a “festival feel” to draw younger, affluent families to the event.
Other highlights of the 2018 season included a rental with Delta airlines. The show set up on the tarmac at Hartsfield International Airport for a 30,000-person party. Half of the party participants were flown in by the airline.
The company also did a concert rental in Jacksonville, FL, for a country music festival. Deggeller also sent his Super Nova into Charleston, SC to work with the Vivonas at the end of the season. Originally, they had scheduled the Enterprise to go, but it was undergoing a refurbishment so the Super Nova was used as a replacement. Deggeller has one of only a handful of Huss Enterprises on the road. The other two belong to Wade Shows and Strates Shows.
That is not the only Huss piece operated by Deggeller. Another unique ride for them is the Huss Top Spin.
Looking ahead to 2019, Deggeller was awaiting delivery on a Pinfari ZL-42 looping coaster. Amusements of America moved the same style rides in the 90’s and into the 2000’s and it makes for an unusual sight on the midway. With a single loop in the middle the coaster certainly stands out.
With the purchase fo the ZL-42, Deggeller will now have four major roller coasters on the the road; the ZL-42, a Pinfari Galaxy coster, a Wild Mouse and a Flitzer.
Deggeller will be adding a second major new ride in 2019: a KMG Speed. The ride should be arriving in the states in a couple of weeks and will be themed the Space Port. KMG will be using the ride for a display model at the IISF Trade Show in Gibsonton in February.
Rides are not the only big news in the Deggeller camp. One of the company’s largest events and a MCW Top 50 fairs, the York Fair in PA, will be moving their dates in 2020. They have given advance notice of the move to concessionaires and stakeholders.
The fair traditionally runs in September, but will now be opening in July. According to Deggeller, the fair is hoping to move away from the Maryland State Fair, where they overlap marketing areas, and be open while kids are still out of school. With the kids in the area on Summer break, they are hoping to boost the weekdays and not be so reliant on the weekends.
The move will definitely impact concessionaires as many vendors have moved for years from the York Fair to the Bloomsburg Fair. Deggeller will be adjusting some dates on his route to accommodate the fair’s move.
After some initial Florida dates, Deggeller moves to Virginia where he works in Virginia Beach and has even ventured into Nags Head, NC, a resort destination just to the South. He spends most of the summer in VA, playing county fairs and festivals. He drops into Maryland for a few weeks including the MD State Fair and the York Fair in PA before returning to VA for the state fair. Its then back to Florida for the winter.
Deggeller operates about 70 rides although he doesn’t often need all the equipment. He operates one unit during fair season and two units in the Spring and summer.
2018 IAFE / SLA Convention Coverage