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Canada Based Wild Rose Shows Expands After The Pandemic
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Wild Rose Shows, the Canadian carnival company, is run by Michael Kryzanowski and his family. Currently running two units containing a total of about 50 rides, along with food and game stands, Wild Rose Shows travels all over Alberta and parts of Saskatchewan from April to September.

Kryzanowski's roots in the outdoor amusement business began with his father, Mike, who always dreamt of owning a carnival. “My dad's entrance into the business began when he left the farm to work at Acme Novelty,” says Kryzanowski. Acme had stores all across western Canada including Ontario. Michael laughs recalling how he and his friends used to think he worked for the cartoon explosive company that always blew up Wile E Coyote. “Acme sold concession equipment and my dad used to service that stuff. He worked for the store in Edmonton which owned a carousel and a ferris wheel and that's when he got the carnival bug,” says Kryzanowski.

Eventually, Acme Novelty closed its doors and Mike had to find his next gig. “He partnered into ownership with Imperial Amusements which actually didn't even have amusement rides. They had a big warehouse where they housed and supplied casino equipment, gambling tables, and bingo tents. They serviced the Calgary Stampede,” says Kryzanowski. While working at Imperial, Mike already had acquired a moon walk ride, a mounted swing ride, and a cotton candy trailer. “At this point he had all that stuff parked in the backyard and already had some side gigs on the weekend using the equipment,” laughs Kryzanowski.

Once Imperial Amusements closed down, Mike went out on the road on his own and started Michael's Amusements. “We had a big meeting and came up with what the name should be and we somehow landed on my name,” says Kryzanowski. Michael's Amusements began doing business in the same ways Acme and Imperial did: the way Mike was used to. “We supplied cotton candy machines, popcorn machines, event rentals basically,” says Kryzanowski. During this period Mike and his wife were operating both a rental business and a small carnival. “We moved up from Edmonton to Spruce Grove and bought a couple of properties where we started to store the 10-15 rides my dad had bought. Once I got out of high school we went from 40-miler events to full time on the road,” remembers Kryzanowski.

Michael joined his dad on the road full time while his mother ran the rental store back home. Eventually, Michael and his wife Debbie owned their own rides and started Wild Rose Shows along with their children: Matthew, Mikayla, and Cassandra. Once Mike was ready to retire from the carnival business, Michael and his wife Debbie took on his dad's show and grew Wild Rose Shows. “My sister took over the store and it is now named ‘Michael's Party Emporium',” says Kryzanowski. While Mike has given up working on the road, Michael's mother is still a part of the business and helps the family sell tickets. “She's always loved the carnival,” says Kryzanowski.

Both units of Wild Rose Shows are completely family run. Michael travels with Mikayla while his wife, Debbie, travels with Matthew and Cassandra. “They all do a great job. This is truly a family business but we also have some awesome long term employees who help round out our key staff,” says Kryzanowski. For the first time ever, Wild Rose Shows has applied for foreign employees to help throughout the season. “It should be a relief,” says Kryzanowski. “It's tough to find people to help but the process is expensive and a lot of work.”

Since the Covid-19 Pandemic, Wild Rose Shows has done quite a bit of expanding and refurbishing on the show. First, they purchased a Mardi Gras in 2019 and spent time during the pandemic rebuilding it. “We added a few rides for 2022, we bought a new Scrambler, Music Fest, Choo Choo Charlie, and and an Expo Wheel from Homeniuk Rides out of Ontario. We also added bumper cars and an Orbiter to the wife's unit,” says Kryzanowski. Last season, they acquired four Otterbacher ticket boxes. New this season is a roll-off lemonade trailer that Debbie purchased, which should be ready in August. Michael is also working on developing a new website through Matt's Web Design. At the 2023 IISA Trade Show, the Wild Rose Shows team came down to look at the different types of gondola wheels on display. “We want a new gondola wheel for the 2025 season and we're still contemplating which one we'd like to buy,” says Kryzanowski.

In the Wild Rose Amusements shop, Michael and his son, Matthew, are working on redoing their Yo-Yo and Hurricane rides. The show also recently bought a printer and laminator to do their own wraps. “We actually just wrapped our own semi trailer,” says Kryazanowski. “We're lucky to have a graphic artist, Larry, who works with us three days a week.” Michael and Matthew just finished building a couple of bunkhouses in their warehouse. “We did this about four years ago too, and prices for equipment have at least doubled. Next time I think we'll just buy new ones,” laughs Kryanzowski.

Traveling in Alberta and Saskatchewan from April to September, Kryanzowski jokes that they start the season with snow on the ground and end the season with snow on the ground. Routes for the two units are bolstered by longtime partner events but Kryanzowski says the route is always changing a bit and it's difficult to develop solid events all the time. “Even though we've been in the business for years it's taken a while to get the route in order. We have lots of consistent, good contracts we can rely on but we're always looking for something new. My unit traveled up into the Northwest Territories recently. We are the most recent company to go up that way and it was worth our while,” says Kryanzowski.

The Wild Rose Amusements team expects another great season in 2023. Kryanzowski feels the enthusiasm for outdoor events has carried through since the resurgence post-Covid. “July 2021 was our first spot out after Covid. The Calgary Stampede really pushed for a July 1st reopening of fairs and carnivals. Excitement was back and things were busy. I think it's a sign of the times now; people are out looking for something to do,” he says. While Alberta news outlets are crying “recession,” Kryanzowski is skeptical, saying that 150,000 jobs have been created. “The last two budgets people keep are for food and entertainment. If there is a recession, it may slow things down but we can always make a living.”
Left to right:  Debbie, Mikayla, and Michael Kryzanowski along side Kevin Dalton (Dalton Kid Rides) at the IISF Trade Show in Gibsonton.
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