Thursday, day three of the annual IISF trade show, saw light crowds despite beautiful sunny weather for the third day in a row. Many vendors claimed traffic was slow but several new sales were reported. Len Soled said he sold an Air Show ride to Skelly's Amusements and the company's name was hung on the fence of their new purchase. Coupled with the sales of Crazy Cars to Beauce Carnaval and Majestic Midways and the Deggeller Spaceport (Speed) from KMG, it is looking like a good sales season for Rides 4 U.
Gosetto, a manufacturer of dark rides, fun houses, bumper cars and family spin coasters, are displaying at the trade show for the 3rd year in a row. Represented in the US by Gina Guglielmi, they have a dark ride at the Florida State Fair owned by the Myers family. The ride was first delivered for the Minnesota State Fair in 2018 and underwent a few tweaks for its first set up before heading to Dallas for the Texas State Fair where it “did very well”, said Guglielmi.
The ride is 2 stories and has uphill and downhill slides on the track, a waterfall effect and over 20 tricks, some even with animation.
This is the second Gosetto piece for Myers. They also own the New York, New York Funhouse that they purchased from the company three years ago.
The company was especially proud of a new walk through haunted house they built recently for a company in Columbia. The ride, called the “Horror House” has video screens and images that can be changed to give the ride a new look . The ride is about 50 feet long by 24 feet wide and is one level but has scenery that gives a two level effect. The top facade hydraulically folds down then the external level slides into the lower level.
The ride is packed with scary tricks and images. Easy to set up, it takes 3 men only 3 - 4 hours.
In addition to representing Gosetto, Guglielmi also sells used rides but laments that the market is currently slow. ‘Everyone is holding on to equipment and refurbishing instead of buying new because of the ride prices”, said Guglielmi. Despite some slow traffic, she was hoping to generate some good leads and maybe even a sale or two at the show this year.
American Earth Anchors
Another vendor, this one in their second year at the trade show, is American Earth Anchors. The company has come up with an innovative alternative to stakes and concrete footings using heat-treated aluminum anchors that screw into surfaces such as grass, asphalt, sand and even underwater applications.
The company sells these light-weight anchors to many industries, but started with the military and military contractors like Raytheon. The anchors have been used to tie down radar systems, duct work, conveyor belts on ski mountains and many other applications.
The market expanded to include concerts, festivals and staging. The solar market is also big where the anchors are used to tie down solar arrays so they don't have to wait for cement to dry.
As the company moved into he tent and then inflatable market, they began to see the application for the outdoor amusement business and decided to exhibit at the show last year where they did very well.
The screw-like anchors are seated into the ground using an impact wrench or air impact wrench for larger anchors.
The company is working with ASTM to receive testing and approval and they even sell brackets to go with the anchors.
While last year was better for the company than the current year, they are looking to make some additional contacts during the final day on Friday.
Showmen's League of America
The week in Gibsonton and Tampa is not only for the trade show but many other organizations such as the OABA, NICA and even the Showmen's League of America hold important meetings.
Cindy Herring, Executive Director of the Showmen's League, was encouraging shows to hold SLA After Dark fundraisers. The events, which typically include auctions, food and other activities, help increase membership and give the organization a nation-wide reach.
To encourage thee fundraisers during the year, the SLA will be giving 2 tickets to Jeff Blomsness' “The Site” shooting range to any carnival owners reaching a set fundraising goal.
Herring attends many of these “SLA After Dark events, spreading the message of the SLA from CA to the East Coast while meeting and greeting the organization's members.
Andy Schoendienst is the current President of the organization with Mary Chris Smith serving as 1st Vice-President, Robert Thorson as 2nd Vice-President and Patrick Jamieson of World's Finest Shows as 3rd Vice-President.
Schoendienst said his agenda is to continue to lead the SLA into the 21st century, setting new guidelines and updating bylaws for the organization. He says that over the last several years, both membership and financials have been rising.
One fundraiser the SLA is undertaking is the $100,000 raffle where they sell 100 - $1,000 tickets and give away $50,000 to a lucky winner.
“The SLA has a good base of people from all over the country”, said Schoendienst. He points to the popular Vendor's Lounge at the IAFE convention as a program that has seen great success. “The show is an inexpensive, casual trade show with short hours filled with buyers and the opportunity to spend quality time with customers”, said Schoendienst.
Membership to the SLA is only $35 per year and is open to showmen and show-related people throughout the country.
One of the great services the SLA provides are $1,000 scholarships to college bound students who are sponsored by a member. The scholarships are open to kids with a GPA of 2.75 and above and last year, 40 students were awarded scholarships by the organization.
With the addition of new fundraisers such as the $100,000 raffle, a new calendar that will feature show kids, and the expansion of the SLA After Dark events, Schoendienst is hoping that the number of scholarships will be expanded in the coming year.
Stay tuned for our trade show wrap up including new purchase announcements.