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Offline indianacarnie  
#1 Posted : Friday, May 22, 2020 3:26:45 PM(UTC)
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Well, we'll hit over 100,000 deaths from the pandemic before the end of this month. Even with the States opening back up ..... sorta .... some of them ...

I was planning all winter to come back out for a full season as a "farewell tour" but that's been squashed. Was hoping NOW to at least get a partial season in but am now wondering if that's going to be feasible too.
I started in my beloved business back in Feb. 1980 and have been with it ever since. Love at first dollar you could say lol. Started out on Murphy Bro's when they had their "Mile Long Pleasure Trail" and 7 State Fairs back to back. Long , hard season but worth it both monetarily and .... satisfaction-wise for me. Stayed on the BIG shows the first 5 years of my time in the business. Was in .... Chicago? I think it was Chicago looking for Goodings Million Dollar Midways I think it was but only information I had was a year old AB. Guess the spot advertised wasn't very good as they were nowhere to be found. Was broke and I mean hitch-hiking to the spot broke, called up an ex of mine and the only show she could find for me was with a small show "Drago Amusements" about 50 miles away. Gas City? Oil City? Something like that, anyway.... got there , got a hole fully expecting to work the spot and screw back to another major show once I had some stew in my pocket. I ended up finishing the season with them and working the NEXT season for them too. It turned out to be their last. Since then the vast majority of my time in the business has been with smaller shows. I love them, shorter hours, shorter jumps and not really all that much less money, on the right shows of course. Spent 5 of my last 8 years on this small family show based in southern Indiana, Fiesta Rides. (Last 3 years full time I went with N.A.M.E. as their route can't be beat and I wanted a stash for my retirement from the business) Have spent 2 partial seasons back with Fiesta. I know the family very well, hell they invite me to dinner with them. I hung out with 2 of the 3 brothers and sisters and have their personal phone numbers to this day. They were what we , in our arrogance and false pride, called a ragbag show when I traveled with the biggies. To ME at least the small and midsize shows ARE the Carnival business, not slamming the big huge shows, hell I traveled with Wade Shows probably more than any other. I DID spend most of the time with them back when Wade Shows was just a very nice midsize show.(I was there when Frankie bought his first spectacular, that Enterprise , well he had a Skywheel too I guess)

Anyway.... what I'm trying to say is I fear very much for the future of the smaller shows playing most of the county fairs and festivals. No big show will ever play some of the little county fairs I played its not economically feasible. Having said that most if not all the smaller shows I was with were having a tough time even then. I know my Fiesta Rides is all but gone. Suitcase in a few of their better spots and put up a few of their own games/food/rides but that's all. With the pandemic raging across our country, what's going to happen to these guys? Frankie can weather a "lost" season, as can the Vivonas etc. But the small/midsize shows? Most were hanging on by a thread as it was , a lost season to them could very well be the end for countless of them. If that happens we will have lost a very integral, fundamental part of who we are as a business in my opinion. The traveling amusement parks can weather the storm, but can the heart and soul of our business do the same?
An end, even with terror, is better than terror without end. F.Neitzsche
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thunderbolt85 on 5/22/2020(UTC)
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Offline thunderbolt85  
#2 Posted : Friday, May 22, 2020 3:41:11 PM(UTC)
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I hear you, and I am too worried about the small shows and some mid size shows as well. So many have been lost over the years just here in the south that made for a fun spring/summer of carnivals in parking lots, fields, festivals, and small fairs.

Larry's Amusments, Childress Shows, Doc Hardin and his different shows, Leland Johnson, and many more, all gone.

We still B&K down here and one or two others that mainly do festivals and such. Just don't see em set up in parking lots/fields like we used too. But even talking about what your saying a few small to medium size shows play a few medium size fairs around like the Union county fair, Greenwood, and a few others, what is going to happen to them.

Just really concerned about the business right now.
Offline ridejocky  
#3 Posted : Friday, May 22, 2020 5:24:43 PM(UTC)
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I don't know that the smaller shows are much more at risk than the big show, particularly small shows that own their own equipment and winter quarters outright.

I would rather be a small show with little debt hunkering down with half a dozen key personnel than a large show with a brand new piece or two the bank owns and 50 long term employees I have to let go.

I think the fireman's festival in goat-fu*k Indiana is going to open up a long time before the state fairs. Small town committees care about the people in their communities. The governor? Not so much...
Ride the Zipper?
Offline indianacarnie  
#4 Posted : Friday, May 22, 2020 9:41:04 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: ridejocky Go to Quoted Post
I don't know that the smaller shows are much more at risk than the big show, particularly small shows that own their own equipment and winter quarters outright.

I would rather be a small show with little debt hunkering down with half a dozen key personnel than a large show with a brand new piece or two the bank owns and 50 long term employees I have to let go.

I think the fireman's festival in goat-fu*k Indiana is going to open up a long time before the state fairs. Small town committees care about the people in their communities. The governor? Not so much...


Not quite sure I agree tbh. I spent close to 30 years on small shows and only a handful (that I know of) owned their winter quarters outright. Hell, one of them I know for a fact rented storage space to park their rides and assorted equipment for the winter. I submit that its harder for a small show that keeps 5 people (or less in the case of Fiesta Rides) employed all winter and with ride debt of $175,000 or more (again Fiesta Rides) and a route of decent enough fairs/festivals with ride grosses of $20,000 (a very good ride take for Fiesta, average was probably closer to 15 or less) over a season of 6 months than Frankie with his million dollar (or much much more) debt and 50 year round employees doing a route of huge fairs with grosses that reach into the millions on a route of 8 to 10 months. Not only would Mr. Zaitchik get much better loan rates but less credit card debt , fuel discounts etc.

I'm not at all saying it will be easy for the big shows but when this pandemic is over and done with they will still be here, does anyone doubt that? I'm not at all sure about the majority of the small shows and quite a few of the medium shows in that same regard.

As for the "firemans Festival in goat-f*ck Indiana" even if they DO open just how many people do you think are going to go? I see attendance drops for any Fairs falling by 60-75% or more this year even if they do open. This Coronavirus has been and will continue to be a catastrophe for our business until a vaccine is found.
An end, even with terror, is better than terror without end. F.Neitzsche
Offline ridejocky  
#5 Posted : Saturday, May 23, 2020 1:12:18 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: indianacarnie Go to Quoted Post
...will continue to be a catastrophe for our business until a vaccine is found.


So if a vaccine is never found it will mean the end of the business?

The Asian flu in '59 was arguably worse and no one shut down...

Ride the Zipper?
Offline Dave  
#6 Posted : Saturday, May 23, 2020 11:04:59 PM(UTC)
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If Disney can do it then other operations can to. The world needs large events vacations sports back as they account for big chunk of the economy
https://carnivalwarehous...ks-and-events-1588118400

Im wondering how less rider capacity due to cleaning will effect everyone's bottom line. Maybe someone comes up with poly sheets like a dr exam table. We need some ingenuity on fast ride cleaning to keep capacity the same. I think that would help sell the opening to authorities. The line ups can be managed maybe fairs are a bit smaller where no extra grounds They might have limited occupancy depending on states transmission rates. cant stay closed forever
Offline Pizzagod  
#7 Posted : Monday, May 25, 2020 1:49:46 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: ridejocky Go to Quoted Post
So if a vaccine is never found it will mean the end of the business?

The Asian flu in '59 was arguably worse and no one shut down...



We're a lot more mobile than we were sixty years ago. Society was a lot more insular, the interstates were a good proposal that hadn't linked us the way we are now. Changing times.

For one dollar I'll guess your weight, your height, or your sex.
Offline JustinJames  
#8 Posted : Monday, May 25, 2020 9:11:48 PM(UTC)
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Obviously, this does not apply to every show. But there are some that are in the situation to say no operation means no expenses. Shows that own their equipment and have minimal dept could be one example as Paul stated above. The bigger issue is getting your lenders to put off payments for the time being. Another issue will be returning help when shows are allowed to open. It seems this PLANdemic is being used to facilitate many otherwise not feasible political moves... one being an excuse to hurt the H2B Visa program. Seems these rich politicians sit in their mansions thinking now that they have driven unemployment into oblivion, we will suddenly have all the american help we need. This all while offering more money to be unemployed than to work a blue collar job.

Many variables to consider. I fear we will see many businesses close from these INSANE and dragged out measure. Not to be overly political here, but I have the sneaky feeling that after the November elections we will suddenly see swift moves and media frenzy to re open. Seems the media has the power to control the "sheeple"

I pray for everyone being snuffed out by our government. rant2
thanks 1 user thanked JustinJames for this useful post.
thunderbolt85 on 5/26/2020(UTC)
Offline ridejocky  
#9 Posted : Tuesday, May 26, 2020 1:24:53 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Pizzagod Go to Quoted Post
We're a lot more mobile than we were sixty years ago. Society was a lot more insular, the interstates were a good proposal that hadn't linked us the way we are now. Changing times.



In that same sixty years we've gone from classrooms with 40 students to classrooms with 20, families of six to families of three and 900ft^2 to 1,800ft^2...
Ride the Zipper?
Offline thunderbolt85  
#10 Posted : Tuesday, May 26, 2020 5:24:59 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: JustinJames Go to Quoted Post
Obviously, this does not apply to every show. But there are some that are in the situation to say no operation means no expenses. Shows that own their equipment and have minimal dept could be one example as Paul stated above. The bigger issue is getting your lenders to put off payments for the time being. Another issue will be returning help when shows are allowed to open. It seems this PLANdemic is being used to facilitate many otherwise not feasible political moves... one being an excuse to hurt the H2B Visa program. Seems these rich politicians sit in their mansions thinking now that they have driven unemployment into oblivion, we will suddenly have all the american help we need. This all while offering more money to be unemployed than to work a blue collar job.

Many variables to consider. I fear we will see many businesses close from these INSANE and dragged out measure. Not to be overly political here, but I have the sneaky feeling that after the November elections we will suddenly see swift moves and media frenzy to re open. Seems the media has the power to control the "sheeple"

I pray for everyone being snuffed out by our government. rant2



Have a sneaky feeling you very correct, meanwhile many will have been hurt and many things gone.
Offline thunderbolt85  
#11 Posted : Tuesday, May 26, 2020 5:28:13 PM(UTC)
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Well I will say this, if any fair around do happen this year, I will not be "hard" on the show owner if the midway is light. Perfectly understandable this year, although will not be as fun, just the way it is.

If any fairs do open and shows come in, will they be able to fill the rides they bring, in other words will enough folks come to the fair to ride, maybe so, maybe not.

Of course the show wants to make money, but to pull all of that stuff out, transport it, set it up and then have only hundreds show up to the fair instead of thousands.....its got to be on their mind.

Someone said it earlier, not matter what if there is any kind of fair season it will be light.
Offline william davis  
#12 Posted : Tuesday, May 26, 2020 10:24:14 PM(UTC)
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Here in Michigan I read in the last few days that the Fair Boards of both the Fowlerville Fair (Skerbeck shows spot)and the Oakland County Fair (Big Rock) are still planning to go ahead with these fairs. These are both large (for Michigan) County Fairs here. Not sure about the Michigan State Fair (Arnolds) as the location last I saw had been turned into an overflow hospital for COVID cases. I do know the Traverse City Cherry festival (Arnolds) has been cancelled.
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thunderbolt85 on 5/27/2020(UTC)
Offline rodler  
#13 Posted : Wednesday, May 27, 2020 2:21:32 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: thunderbolt85 Go to Quoted Post
Well I will say this, if any fair around do happen this year, I will not be "hard" on the show owner if the midway is light. Perfectly understandable this year, although will not be as fun, just the way it is.

If any fairs do open and shows come in, will they be able to fill the rides they bring, in other words will enough folks come to the fair to ride, maybe so, maybe not.

Of course the show wants to make money, but to pull all of that stuff out, transport it, set it up and then have only hundreds show up to the fair instead of thousands.....its got to be on their mind.

Someone said it earlier, not matter what if there is any kind of fair season it will be light.


If a carnival is not able to play the fair is it possible they could work with a regional show to fill in for them?
RodB
Offline thunderbolt85  
#14 Posted : Wednesday, May 27, 2020 12:11:44 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: rodler Go to Quoted Post
If a carnival is not able to play the fair is it possible they could work with a regional show to fill in for them?


Well guess anything is possible this year.
Offline JustinJames  
#15 Posted : Thursday, May 28, 2020 6:58:03 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: william davis Go to Quoted Post
Here in Michigan I read in the last few days that the Fair Boards of both the Fowlerville Fair (Skerbeck shows spot)and the Oakland County Fair (Big Rock) are still planning to go ahead with these fairs. These are both large (for Michigan) County Fairs here. Not sure about the Michigan State Fair (Arnolds) as the location last I saw had been turned into an overflow hospital for COVID cases. I do know the Traverse City Cherry festival (Arnolds) has been cancelled.


It all depends on Supreme Chancellor Whitmer. If she continues to extend the stay at home orders two weeks at a time throughout the summer... it won't matter. She seems to be hellbent on keeping the state closed at all costs. Time will tell.

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