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  • Outreach to Diverse Families Boosts Pima County Fair
    Celebrating diversity and responding to its community has long been a Pima County Fair Tradition, but this year this progressive fair took an unprecedented marketing approach.

    Fairs not only reflect current realities of the families in the community but create an oasis of family-oriented fun and Americana where differences of opinion are tossed aside in the name of fun, entertainment, The Pima County Fair has taken this tradition of inclusion one step further. The theme of this year's event was Love Makes A Family, a "coining"  of a tagline by Family Diversity Project, a nonprofit organization that promotes the diversity of all families. 

    The collaboration featured a series of exhibits entitled 'In Our Families',  displays with portraits of a diverse range of families - multi-racial families and families with LGBT members, and families with disabilities and mental illness. One of the exhibits "We Have Faith" was subtitled "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Clergy and People of Faith Speak Out."

    Tolerance & Diversity
    While this was a ground-breaking territory for an abashedly progressive fair, Launa L. Rabago, Entertainment and Marketing Manager, feels it is an outgrowth of what the Pima County Fair has  long strived towards. "Each year the fair tries to include an educational or socially relevant exhibit to the fair," she said. "Past efforts have included, NASA Space Exhibits, United States Holocaust Memorial Exhibits, AIDS Exhibit and HIV Awareness "

    In 2015, the showcased a Cyber Stalking and Harassment exhibit, combined with an awareness campaign about cyber bullying and bullying awareness.  "In conducting research on bullying last year, we came to identify LGBTQ kids or kids growing up in families facing this issues are the most targeted group for bullying," said Rabago. "I wasn't able to get enough research done to complete the project before 2015 fair so spent the summer and fall of 2015 researching the topics and related issues in an effort to tag onto and continue the bullying awareness campaign of 2015."  

    Her research eventually led her to the Family Diversity Project. "We worked together on bringing the exhibits to the fair, to spotlight all different types of families;  grandparents raising grandkids, step and blended families, multi-racial families, family with disability and mental illness issues as well as same sex parents and families growing up as or raised by transgendered parents."

    Surprisingly, for what many consider a "red" state, this "bluest" of initiatives was met with, she said, little resistance. "I literally mean, very little resistance," said Rabago. "I believe there was one volunteer that was somewhat open in questioning the project before ever seeing the exhibit.  Once the exhibit was in shipped in and laid out prior to the fair opening, volunteers and others were able to preview the exhibit and understand the messaging was about tolerance, acceptance, family diversity and that the fact that it truly is love that builds and makes a family, regardless of the dynamics."

    She added, "It's tough to resist when the mission is to teach peace, tolerance and acceptance."

    Gay Pride Targeting
    Pima County Fair organizers targeted the LGBT audience by some promotional community outreach. "I started off the awareness with a pretty swift message by sending a press release with the rainbow icon behind the Pima County Fair logo, then followed through by being a sponsor of the Tucson Gay Pride event, early in the fall of 2015," she said. 

    At this annual gay pride event - celebrated nationwide - Rabago estimates that more than 700 people "came up and asked about the fair, these were people who never came to the fair and said they would come." The fair also reached out to the Tucson GLBT Chamber of Commerce. Closer to opening day, the fair utilized social media statements such as "Don't' Hate, Celebrate!", "injustice anywhere is threat to justice everywhere", "by learning about other families we can put an end to stereotyping."

    In addition, the fair adorned its logo in 2016 with a Rainbow Flag, the recognizable symbol of LGBT supporters. 

    Attendance Increases
    Apparently, the marketing, promotions and exhibits on the broad themes of tolerance and diversity and the specific targeting of LGBT community members and their family had a positive impact on attendance. Attendance increased by 2.8 percent, for a total of 318,016 attendees.

    Weather was generally cooperative, although portions of the opening weekend were  blown away - and not in a good way.  "We had some wind on opening Friday which really hurt our projected attendance for that night," said Rabago. " We had Grupo Control and Banda Machos in a concert package and our hopes were high for a great success.  Alas, Arizonans do not do wind well.  We had some gusts closing Saturday which may have affected our early attendance but we caught up in the later afternoon."

    But the actual opening day - a Thursday - jumped 151 percent, a day boosted by both a Nelly concert and a wristband day promotion. Other records were a Tuesday, which featured a $2.00 game and rides promotion, followed by the "Highest Wednesday on record, Tobymac in concert with a wristband day promotion," said Rabago. 

    Although the headline entertainment at the Pima County Fair, Rabago was positive, the fair coincided with the Country Music Awards, Coachella and Country Thunder."  I had a tough time this year due to competing shows," she said, adding. "prices are definitely getting up there, especially for country and classic rock. Classic Rock and rock in general are big with  casino audiences, and casinos are able to pay the higher prices.  

    The Fair's advertising budget was $375,000, which included "outdoor, print, radio, TV and online with radio receiving the bulk of the buy," said Rabago. In addition, the fair added Snap Chat to its social media platform, reaching over one million followers. "We have the highest engaged followers of any attraction in Southern Arizona," she said. 

     Ray Cammack Shows (RCS) provide the Pima County Fair midway, which featured 55 rides, 42 games and 18 food stands. The fair premiered the carnival company's new Twister and 33-meter Wheel, and the top five rides at the fair were Wild River, G-Force, Crazy coaster, Rave Wave and 33-meter wheel, according to Chris Lopez, Vice President, RCS.  Midway revenue was up 2.6 percent, according to Rabago. 

    Lopez noted that the open spaces where the fairgrounds were originally built are less open. The fairgrounds used to be in the middle of no where, but now seems to be in the middle of new schools, homes and businesses."

    He added, "The demographic is very diverse.... The Pima County Fair is drawing more visitors and return visitors from the surrounding counties.

    He added, "they do a great job with their promotions, they had entertainment every night, the wristband days there are big.  They offer a 5 dollar discount when patrons  bring in a soda product, the fair also partners with local grocery store to offer a discounted fun card during the week which also very successful. They have really gotten the formula for success there, it shows in many capital improvements to the grounds, the Pima County Fairgrounds has quickly become a sought after venue for Rodeos , RV rallies, car races and concerts year round."

    He added, "The Arizona economy is having a good and steady comeback. The Tucson area is seeing the same boost."

    Regarding the economic recovery, Rabago is less positive.  "The economy is still recovering, but it is still not fully recovered. It has a long way to go but it was not as bad has it had been. We always keep the economy in mind and try to keep the event affordable for those hardest hit by the recession.  This seems to continue to work for the Pima County Fair." 

    Nonetheless, the fair's revenue "cleared the $4 million mark for the first time ever," she said, adding that per capita spending was up by 5.1 percent. 

  • Amusements of America to book 15 rides with NAME at the South Carolina State Fair
    CHARLOTTE --- Amusements of America may be looking for a new spot to play here in the Queen City after the owners of the Metrolina Tradeshow Expo sold the 94-acre property in March to Beacon Partners, a real estate developer.

    For the past five years, the carnival has played the Metrolina grounds twice a year in the spring and fall. The spring date, called the Charlotte Fair, typically coincides with Cinco de Mayo and draws many Hispanic families with 30 rides and attractions booked through event promoter Larry Linton. 

    But that could all change now after the property was sold in March. Beacon Partners plans to develop an $80 distribution business park on site and construction is set to begin during the second half of 2016, according to local reports.

    Marco Vivona, running the carnival's unit here, said Linton is searching for other potential sites including the possibility of moving the event to the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The track has multiple campground sites with ample room to set up a carnival. At the same time, the promoter and carnival officials have not ruled out coming back to the Metrolina grounds pending the new development, Vivona said.

    Otherwise, Vivona said this year marked the first time Amusements of America caught nice weather on both weekends of the spring event. Dates were May 6-15. In addition to the carnival, the event featured professional wrestling, The Magic of Bob Bohm, the West Texas Rattlesnake Show, the Aguilar Family Circus & Thrill Show and Boger Farm's Animal Petting Zoo. 

    Sideshow operator Jack Constantine booked multiple attractions in Charlotte. Rio Cristiani's fun house and dark ride, and Phil Wilson's mechanical bull and bungee jump were also part of the mix. For the Charlotte Fair, ride wristbands were $25 with about 300,000 $5 off coupons distributed throughout the Charlotte market. Gate admission was $8 for adults, $5 for children age 5 to 11 and free for kids 4 and under.

    In other news, Amsuements of America has purchased two used rides, including an Orbiter from Florida show owner Bobby Myers. In addition, the Vivona family acquired a Kamikaze in a three-way deal between show owner Todd Merriam and Chance Rides that resulted in Merriam getting a Zipper from the ride manufacturer. Amusements of America sandblasted the Kamikaze and installed a new LED light package on the ride, Marco Vivona said.

    Separately, the carnival bought a 500-kilowatt generator from Billy Tucker's Dixieland Amusements after Tucker made the decision to get off the road and start an amusement park in Alabama. Amusements of America also purchased a new bunkhouse from Kale Gorham with fiberglass inserts for $36,000. The inserts create five to six separate rooms and the fiberglass material makes it easy to clean, Vivona said. 

    During the offseason, Amusements of America made a deal with North American Midway Entertainment to share equipment for fall dates when both carnivals are spread thin with conflicting events. Amusements of America has committed to supplying 15 rides for the South Carolina State Fair in Columbia after NAME picked up the Tulsa (Okla.) State Fair. 

    "They picked up Tulsa and it closes on a Sunday and they open in Columbia the following Wednesday," Vivona said. "It's impossible to get there with all the big rides. You just can't do it."

    In return, NAME will reciprocate by providing about a half-dozen rides at the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair in Statesboro, Ga., which runs immediately following the Eastern Carolina Agricultural Fair in Florence, S.C. Amusements of America plays both fairs in October. It has enough equipment for Florence, where its winter quarters are situated, but needs help in Statesboro, Vivona said.

    Both carnivals agreed to the deal during the IAFE convention in Las Vegas. They signed the agreements at the Gibtown trade show in February. 

    Elsewhere, Amusements of America picked up one new fair, the Hickman County Fair in Centerville, Tenn. It fits in nicely in mid-August, between the Ohio State Fair and the Wilson County Fair in Lebanon, Tenn.

    Upcoming events include two stadium parking lot spots: the Capital Fair at RFK Stadium, May 27-June 5, in Washington, where Major League Soccer's D.C. United plays its home games, and the State Fair Meadowlands, June 23-July 10, next to MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Jets and Giants.
    The carnival returned to Puerto Rico after an extended absence to play the island, booking 35 rides for a five-week run from early December through mid-January. The show went back to Puerto Rico after two years of playing Peru, an even longer boat ride that beat up the rides and heavily damaged the shows Giant Wheel. The salty air over the ocean is bad for the rides in general, Vivona said.

    "Even in Puerto Rico, there was salt damage," he said. "We spend a lot of time pressure washing and painting rides after we get them back from the island. But my wife [Lourdes] is from Puerto Rican and she loves to go down there. She's the happiest one of all."

  • Strates & Erie County To Celebrate First Centennial Midway Partnership in Industry
    The Erie County Fair in Hamburg, N.Y. and its midway provider,  Strates Shows, are on track to make history in eight years. In 2024, this long-time partnership will result in the first centennial of a carnival company and a fair. 

    "Strates Shows and the Strates family are delighted to be part of the time-honored tradition of the Erie County Fair," said E. James Strates, President, Strates Shows. "In 1924, when my father signed the first contract, little did we know or expect that nine decades later the relationship would still be flourishing and growing. There is a bond between not only the show and the fair, but with independent operators, agricultural people, the local community and our many lifelong friends. It's an unbroken tradition that few fairs and carnivals share."

    Long Tradition

    Strates, who at 86 has never known a summer that he did not spend on the midway in Hamburg, a  Buffalo suburb, told Carnivalwarehouse, that the deal was "not about money, it was about family." 

    The Erie County Agricultural Society extended its contract with the Strates Shows Inc. by 10 years - through 2026 -  at a signing ceremony in April  on its fairgrounds. On hand were three generations of Strates family members, E. James Strates, his son John Strates and grandson Nick Strates and representatives of the Erie County Fair. "We are pleased to have secured a long-term relationship with the Strates Shows," said Dennis R. Lang, CEO & Erie County Fair Manager. "For the past 91 years, the Strates Shows has provided Western New York with an exceptionally entertaining and safe family experience."

    Lang echoed the sentiment expressed by Strates that the tightly knit relationship between the fair and carnival company was a close family. "Beyond just a contractual relationship, we truly regard the Strates as part of the Erie County Fair family. The 10 year contract means that the Strates Shows will be part of the Erie County Fair beyond their 100th anniversary with us," said Lang. "We look forward to a centennial celebration with Strates in 2024."

    According to Robert Johnson, President of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association, the relationship between the Strates Shows and the Erie County Fair is the longest continuous run - by more than a decade - of any carnival midway in the United States. The next longest run would be 84 years between Reithoffer Shows and the Delaware County Fair in Walton, New York, he said.

    "2024 seems like a long way away, but I'm sure that their 10 year contract, just renewed will continue to make Strates Shows the first carnival in the mobile amusement industry to have a 100 year contract," Johnson told Carnivalwarehouse. 

    He added, "I can't think of another carnival operator in the United States with a longer run than what the Erie County Fair has with Strates," said Johnson. "It's rare in modern business times to see such a strong relationship. It is a tribute to the Erie County Fair and the Strates family. The Strates Shows ongoing commitment to quality, safety and innovation, added to its close relationship with the Erie County Agricultural Society's management, makes for a great partnership. It's this type of partnership that we would like to see emulated at fairs across the county."

    However, while Strates is a fourth generation carnival company, "I only knew about Reithoffer as they are a fifth generation carnival company," said Johnson. "These two (Strates and Reithoffer) shows are among the oldest in the U.S..  I do know that shows like Skerbeck Amusements in Michigan, also have long history of fair contracts as they are a sixth generation show, with roots back to the circus industry.  While there may be 3-4 generation carnies, its very, very rare for this to occur with carnival companies. Some of the largest carnivals, like Royal American came to its demise after the third generation."

    "Working with the family, the father and the sons has been a great tradition," said Lang. "They have integrity, honesty and true numbers. We have the facility, they have the entertainment. They have been building happy memories with our customers for decades and for decades to come."

    1st Decade Length

    In addition to the new contract ensuring the partners celebrate a historic anniversary in the fair industry, the new decade long contracts is the longest contract ever agreed upon by the two parties. While 10-year contracts are not unheard of in the industry, they are uncommon. Previous agreements between Erie County and Strates Shows were for 3-5 years. Lang, who is 68 years old, said while he has no immediate plans for retirement, he wanted to shore up the midway aspect of the fair in order for a smooth transition in years go come. 

    "I never wanted to make an arrangement that wasn't solid," said Lang. He said that he and Strates representatives had an in-depth conversation about the upcoming contract at the annual trade show and convention of the International Association of Fairs & Expositions in 2015 where they "kicked around" ideas about "longevity and extensions." It was Lang's intention that when he does step down his replacement, "will have one less thing to worry about. We both wanted a smooth management transition. It is important for the fair to have that stability for its biggest money maker."  

    Strates credited the fair for reinvesting in the grounds, facilities, and grandstand, pointing out that the Buffalo Raceway built a "racino" - the Hamburg Gaming Center - with some of the profits being diverted to the fair and agricultural programs. "They did what they said they were gong to do with the money, everything has been replaced and improved, the new grandstands are beautiful. They have done some of great landscaping in the last few years, they really have enhanced the fairgrounds."

    He added, "it is really a great agricultural fair.  Other fairs change. The agriculture business is slipping in some areas. Some fairs promise one thing and then you get there and they do another. But Erie County has a great community, a great agricultural community, who really support their fair. They get great perception." 

    Riding the Rails 

    To commemorate the extended relationship, Strates Shows and the Erie County Fair are inviting fairgoers to join in on the celebration. On August 18th will be "Strates Day at the Fair," when fairgoers to the Erie County Fair will be able to enjoy 90-minutes of free midway rides from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

     Unique among today's amusement operators, The Strates Shows is the only "railroad carnival" left in North America, transporting their rides by rail for their eight-month season. The "fair train," as it is commonly known in Western New York, currently is comprised of over 50 rail cars and its arrival at the depot in the Village of Hamburg is an annual celebration, and what many feel is a living piece of Americana. 

    The Strates Shows is a 93-year-old family owned business with headquarters in Orlando, Florida. Founded in 1923 by Greek immigrant James E. Strates as the Southern Tier Shows in Elmira, New York, the Strates Shows is considered one of America's premiere providers of carnival midways. After the death of James E. Strates in 1959, his only son, E. James Strates, took over as manager of the company and is still actively involved in its operation. Now in its 9th decade, Strates Shows is led by the 3rd generation of Strates family members including Susan, Jimmy, Sibyl, Jay and John. Nick Strates, who officially joined the show full-time during the 2015 season, is the 4th generation of the Strates family to continue the tradition. Over the decades, the Strates Shows has brought many innovations to the carnival industry. 

  • Iowa Issues RFP Announcement to Create Independent Midway
    One of the highest profile fairs in the world has declared its independence, at least as far as  its midway is concerned. The Iowa State Fair takes place not only in the Midwestern state that many feel epitomizes America's heartland, but every four years candidates running for the presidency stop by for a photo-op in this classic celebration of Americana. In early May, the Iowa State Fair issued a call for RFPs for "various components for its midway amusement area" for the 2017 fair, August 10-20.

    Belle City Amusements has been the fair's midway provider for six years, but instead of renewing or renegotiating their contract - or soliciting RFPs from another large midway provider - Iowa is now following the footsteps of other Midwestern state fairs, such as Minnesota and Wisconsin and creating an independent midway. And, unlike some fairs across the decades that have gone back and forth between an independent midways and solo carnival company operations, this is an entirely new step for Iowa.

    "It was a board decision," said Mindy Williamson, Marketing Director, Iowa State Fair. "This is the first time we are creating an independent midway, so this will be our first RFP for this initiative."

    Concession Models

    Williamson said that instituting an independent midway is no reflection on the Belle City Amusements operation. "We have been happy to work with Belle City Amusements since 2009," she said. "The decision was to make the midway managed in a way we manage the rest of the fair. The agreements will be handled on a component by component basis, much like we currently handle our concessions operations."

    Will Belle City be encouraged to submit a proposal? "The process is open to anyone who meets the criteria to apply," she said.

    Before making this decision, she said the board reviewed other independent midways, but also wanted adapt the contracting used in other segments of the fair to midway rides. According to Williamson, the Iowa event is divided into separate "components" resulting in any number of different contracts and numerous vendors, and now that approach is being applied to the midway. 

    "We looked at models of other state fairs with independent midways," she said. "We have a component model with concessions at the fair, where we hand-select each vendor, and do it piece by piece while looking at the overall big picture. With our concessions we offer our customers variety and different choices, so we will be doing something similar, with individually different rides and games."

    Some Independence Already

    Iowa scored record attendance last year - 1,117,398 - and  record midway revenue, according to Charles Panacek  of Belle City Amusements, whose midway featured 41 rides. But the fair has two additional, satellite midways that are unaffiliated with Belle City, the Thrill Zone and Kid Zone, accounting for about 10 rides combined, and contracted individually with other ride operators. "The Thrill Zone and our Kid's Zones are contracted separately and are different from the midway rides," she said. "They can be described as more experience rides with a slightly older audience or a very young audience specifically."

    What sort of ride companies - large or small - and/or how many components Iowa State Fair stakeholders envision for the new fair - has yet be determined, and is dependent in what type of responses the RFP generates.

    The RFP announcing specifies "Elements of the midway,"  and for rides, they are casting a wide net among types and sizes of carnival companies. "The very best spectacular, major, standard and children's independently-owned and operated and/or carnival-owned and operated rides," the RFP announcement reads. 

    "We are keeping the door open for all different components and companies," said Williamson. "We are open to both options, whether its wholly-owned carnival companies with many rides, or single ride or small groups of rides by independent operators. The agreements will be handled on a component by component basis." 

    All Components

    Iowa State Fair has upwards of 200 concessions - and concession contracts - so the fair is accustomed to dealing with numerous vendors. The RFP also solicits proposals for a range of midway operations, including: "Outstanding shows and unique special attractions," "The finest games of skill," "Superior support equipment and services, including: Electric power generators and distribution systems, Safety, inspection and loss control services, Ticket sales booths, Staffing, Guest services and comforts"

    While the bottom line is expected to improve, Williamson said no estimations of how much of an improvement, nor what internal changes will be made at the fair - typically, independent midways require an executive level manager to oversee all operations and deal with the many individual operators. Both internal staffing decisions and the review and approvals of the proposals will not be announced until after the 2016 fair. Whether the ride inventory will increase or decrease, or other changes to the actual fairground and infrastructure, will also not be announced until this year's fair is out of the way. 

    "The number of rides will depend on the size and depth of rides proposed and selected," she said. "We want to make sure and focus on the 2016 Fair, but we know that scheduling will require some time, so we have started the request of proposal process. The applications submitted will be reviewed after the 2016 Fair is complete."

    The most important issue is that fairgoers, "won't notice the difference, they'll just a better midway," said Williamson.

    Market Disruption

    While Iowa State Fairgoers are bound to be delighted with potential improvements to the midway, independence may cause a disruption among ride operators in August. The Iowa State Fair often overlaps with Wisconsin State Fair and is in the same month as the Minnesota State Fair, two of the largest independent midways in the country. 

    By the same token, most ride companies subcontract with smaller ride operators as well as game and concessionaires to provide a complete midway at a fair. With the Iowa State Fair independent midway now creating new opportunities for multiple ride companies during what is essentially the peak of the Midwest fair season, the market not only has gotten more competitive, but likely become more of a sellers market. 

    "Your traditional carnival company, does not want to see more independent midways because they make a huge capital investment and either they don't play the independent midway or only send a few rides," said Robert W. Johnson, President, Outdoor Amusement Business Association. "There are lots of smaller ride companies who book some of their rides with a larger carnival company, and, depending on their routing, may get a better deal for an independent Iowa midway.  It will depend on who is available during the time of the fair, but yes, it could be more of a seller's market, because this does increase demand for smaller ride operators." 

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HEADLINES from the web
Reithoffer Shows
The Kings County Fair
Brooklyn, NY
5/19/2016 - 5/30/2016
Wade Shows
Atlanta Shriners Carnival
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5/20/2016 - 5/29/2016
Wade Shows
Livonia AM Rotary Carnival
Livonia, MI
5/20/2016 - 5/30/2016
Wade Shows
Macomb Fair and Expo
Mt. Clemens, MI
5/20/2016 - 6/5/2016
Houghton Enterprises
Clifton Heights Boys Club and PAL
Clifton Heights, PA
5/23/2016 - 5/28/2016
City of Fun Carnival
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5/25/2016 - 5/28/2016

IAAPA Attractions Expo - Orlando, FL
[more info..]

I.I.S.F. Gibtown Extravaganza - Gibsonton, FL
[more info..]

2015 TOP 50 FAIRS
1. Texas State Fair - Dallas, TX
2. Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo - Houston, TX
3. Minnesota State Fair - St. Paul, MN
4. San Antonio Livestock Show & Ex. - San Antonio, TX
5. Canadian National Exhibition

View Top 50 Fairs
The Industry Buzz
OABA seeking donations for H2B Support
"Gregg Hartley has arranged for an dinner event with the Chairman of the House Small Business Committee, Steve Chabot to take place on Monday, May 23, 2016 with the rescheduled Senator Blunt dinner event taking place on the Tuesday, the 24th. 
Gregg indicates that while we have raised $11,000 including OABA's PAC donation, he still looking for $4,000 to reach our goal of $15,000.  Please consider donating to this event.  (Four $1000 pledges or eight at $500 each get us to goal.)
Chairman Chabot wrote an article for the OABA Midway Marquee, titled "A Legislative Fix to Boost Seasonal Labor" on page 21, and as you know, his legislation, Strengthen Employment and Seasonal Opportunity Now" (or Season Act) makes the returning workers exemption permanent and removes the Department of Labor from the regulatory process, and puts it with DHS, only answering to one government agency. 
Chairman Chabot is fighting for us, please help with a small contribution." 

  Posted by Robert Johnson / OABA on 4/29/2016
Wade Shows adds first portable Street Fighter Revolution in US
Wade Shows CEO, Frank Zaitshik announced the purchase of yet another new ride for the 2016 season, a Street Fighter Revolution from Technical Park.  The Street Fighter Revolution is in similar design to the traditional Street Fighter, but it makes a complete 360 degree loop upside down.  The show purchased a used Street Fighter from a showman overseas and Technical Park will be converting it to the looping model at their Italy based facility.  While several Street Fighter Revolution models have been sold to piers and small amusement parks in the US, Wade's Street Fighter Revolution is the first portable version to be owned by a US based Carnival.

The Street Fighter Revolution joins a long list of purchases made by Wade Shows for the 2016 season - totaling over $5 million.  Earlier, Wade Shows announced the purchase of a 45 meter Giant Wheel in partnership with Wood Entertainment.  The Show also added a Zero Gravity from Battech, a Puppy Roll from Featherston, a Dumbo ride from Kolmax-Plus, and a used Jungle Twist coaster.  The show also is having its Zipper re-manufactured by Chance Rides, which will be like new and feature the manufacturers new open air tub design.
  Posted by Matt Cook on 4/25/2016
Chance Rides President, Mike Chance, passes
Statement from Dick Chance, CEO Chance Rides and father:

"Yesterday our family and company suffered a tremendous loss. Our son and company president Mike Chance lost his long‐term and well‐fought battle with depression. Mike had suffered from this tough disease for years and had faithfully sought treatment and relief from its effects. Like any other disease that is not yet well understood, depression is often difficult to successfully treat.  

We are proud of Mike for bravely fighting this disease for years while living a full and rich life as a wonderful husband and father, son, grandson, brother, friend and a great company leader. He was a triathlete who competed alongside friends in Iron Man triathlons across the country.  

Mike valiantly fought this disease while focusing on doing great work together with our employees so the fact that he had this disease will come as a surprise to many who knew him.  Just as with other diseases that take our loved ones too early, our family's hope is that research into the treatment for depression will advance. And that those seeking relief from this disease will find a path to successful treatment."

Mike Chance died Tuesday, April 19 at age 42. Service arrangements and memorials are pending. Chance Rides announced the news to employees this morning and is offering ongoing grief counseling for its 100 employees. 

A celebration of Mike's life will be held Wednesday, April 27, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church 1550 N. Chapel Hill Drive, Wichita, KS 67206. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the following organizations:  
KidzCope, 9415 E. Harry, Suite 501, Wichita, KS 67207
Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas, 555 N. Woodlawn, Suite 3105, Wichita, KS 67208.    

  Posted by Dick Chance Press Release on 4/20/2016
Wisdom Rides Walter Williams passes
Long time Wisdom Rides parts department supervisor, Walter Williams passed away peacefully at his home on Friday, April 8, 2016.  

He lived his youth all over the world as an "Army Brat". It was a life he loved and one that led him to join the United States Air Force on his 17th birthday. He served 8 years, being stationed in the U.S. and Korea. He was a part of the effort in shipping of all ammunition at Kunsan Air Base to the Vietnam War. While a member of the Air Force, he also received numerous citations for various services. He was honorably discharged in December of 1967. He was then employed at Coors Brewery in Golden until he was forced to resign after developing asthma which rendered him allergic to the hops. He and his family the moved to Sterling, where he worked for Evans Railcar until its plant closed. In December of 1987, he went to work at Wisdom Manufacturing where he worked in purchasing and selling until his death. He loved his work.

Visitation will be from 4 pm to 6:30 pm Tuesday, April 12 at Tennant Funeral Home in Sterling, Colorado. Vigil and Rosary evening service will follow at 7 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:00 am Wednesday, April 13 at St. Anthony's Catholic Church with Father Michael Bodzioch celebrating.
  Posted by Matt Cook / Obiturary on 4/11/2016
In our efforts to chronicle the history of our industry, we could think of no better way to further this endeavor than to interview industry pioneers and preserve their videos for posterity.

TYAUT Designs - Lap Bar Refurbishment & Grip Bars

Wisdom Rides manufacturers some of the most profitable amusement rides in the industry including the Viper, Beetle Bobs, Starship 3000 / Gravitron, Dragon Wagon, and the new Looney Lagoon.  Visit for more info!

Harley Concessions is seeking IMMEDIATE HELP for games including balloon store, bank a ball, beer bash, and more.  Call Terry at 502-404-1401.

Looking to GROW your business?  With over 40 years of experience, we know what it takes.  Financing, Asset Lending, Working Capital Loans and Financial Advice.  Call Mike at 601-842-6573.

Evans United Shows is now booking game concessions for the 2016 season!  Call Tom Evans   (816) 392-0759
 or email

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