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  • Manatee County Fair Has Record Turnout and Community Support
    4/21/2017
    A real grass roots fair is how Dan West, General Manager of the Manatee County Fair describes this annual Florida event. The 2017 edition of this 101-year old fair had ideal weather condition for its 10-day run, an increase of more than 10,000 attendance - a noticeable  uptick pushing attendance to 182,675.

    "It was a good year, we had impeccable weather, we were blessed with 10 days of wonderful weather," said West. "We have a good product, and we have a clean, wholesome fair, one that the whole community supports." 

    From community competitions that range from cheerleading to decorating hay bales to a high-profile concert by Country Music legend Ricky Skaggs - and a stellar midway by Belle City Amusements - this celebration of Americana in Florida  had a great turnout in 2017. "The economy was better than previous years," agreed West. "Agriculture in this area is holding its own, and there has been a lot of growth and development. All the vendors told me they did very well, and that spending was up." 

    Fair Fun 101
    Like many county fairs, agriculture and agriculture education are main components of its mission. The advertising campaign - a modest $80,000 - utilized a marketing theme that had fun with the educational mission while at the same time furthering it. Most fairs will tie marketing into an anniversary year - such as the century mark. This being the one year after the centennial of the fair, the marketing theme was hiding in plain site: Fair Fun 101. "What we do is teach the community about agriculture, and how agriculture is important to this county," said West. "We were able to incorporate the theme into signage and other marketing, it was one of our more successful themes." 

    The fair also created a mobile app, enabling an expansion of the social media marketing. "We were able to do more on Facebook. "We also reached out to the Rotary Club and other organizations, we made a live video that we were able to distribute. We had a lot of people download the mobile app, which tied into our website."

    The fair's marketing included "the whole gamut," said West, including TV, radio, newspapers, and an enhanced website and e-marketing. "We had more online presence," he said. "With the newspapers, we also had banner ads on their website."

    A new video from a birds-eye view - footage made with camera on a drone that "was set to music, and really showed what the fair is about, and we shared this on social media and got a great response," West said. 

    Marketing timing can be tricky for the fair, which is held in mid-January, because the Christmas holiday can absorb a lot of attention - and also during the peak holiday sales seasons, ad rates are too expensive. "We begin our advertising the first week of November and then pick it up after Christmas," said West. "The only advertising we do during the holidays are during the College Bowl football games, where we buy a bowl package. We did begin our advertising earlier than we have in the past, we started booking time for earlier in the fall."

    Belle Extends Contract
    The Belle City Amusements midway featured 54 rides, which include a new Alien Abduction, a Marioland ride in Kiddieland, and two new Dalton Kiddie Rides. "We added new Kiddieland rides this year, this is a very family oriented fair," said Charles Panacek of Belle City Amusements. 

    He added, "we had a big year. We had an unbelievable increase of over 20 percent over last year, it was our biggest increase and our highest revenue at the fair."
    The 2017 edition of the fair had special significance for the carnival veteran, "we signed a new contract at the fair that extends our run there another seven years. It was a great fair this year, people were very positive." 

    The weather was of course a main factor, with an ideal streak of weather taking place for the event. "We always got rain, and there's a possibility of cold weather in Florida at this time, but we this year we had absolutely gorgeous weather with temperatures in the mid-70s." 

    Panacek noted that the fair's marketing - "did attract more people," but attributed most of the increase in midway revenue to "we had more return business this year, people came to this fair more than once."

    The economy may not have improved over the previous year according to indicators, but there has been  positive change in consumer attitudes, which Panacek credited for improving attendance and midway revenue in 2017 "People feel better about the economy this year, they are spending more money than last year," he said. "If fuel prices stay down and the economy will keep improving this will be a great year."

    The fair also made some landscape improvements that enhance the fairgoer experience. "They spent a lot of money on the fairgrounds," said Panacek. "They paved the walkways, they have troughs for all of the electrical wiring. The improvements in the fairgrounds, that definitely increases attendance."

    The best grossing rides at the fair was the Giant Wheel - "which is always number one," said Panacek - as well as the Rock & Roll Himalaya and a Nitro ride.

    Food Vendors Happy
    The Manatee County Fair featured 40 food vendors, which included famous corn dogs by the Sunrise Kiwanis Club. New food vendors include Wisconsin Cheese and Amish Donuts. "Sales were up for all the food vendors," he said. "There are were a lot lines and the vendors were happy." 

    The fair offers limited entertainment - although a high profile show was performed by Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, a rare performance for his renowned bluegrass ensemble. "It was a really great concert and he loves playing here, it was the third time for him at the fair," said West. "We also had Little Texas. Our music is always free."

    Live music is mainly presented on slower weekday nights. The fair only has 32 acres of fairgrounds and the grandstand also doubles for staging the various competitions and exhibitions, including Youth Livestock Competitions, the Manatee County Fair Queen Pageant - which has four age divisions - and the Cheerleading Competition. For this community oriented fair, these events draw the biggest and most enthusiastic crowds.

    In addition, there was an Arts and Craft Competition , also deeply rooted in the community showcasing home crafts produced on Manatee County farms. Other contests included: the Corn Dog Eating Contest, Pie Eating Contest, the 4-H BBQ Chicken Competition and the 10th Annual BBQ Competition.

    New free acts at this year's fair included Rocket The Robot, Johnny Welde & His Bears, Dennis Lee, Steve The Pretty Good, and Sally Ann "America's Country Darlin." West said, "we try to have something for everyone, but we are offering more grounds acts. People love being surprised by what we offer."

    The animal acts, which included a petting zoo, fit into "the educational mission of our fair," he said. West added that two other attractions were a Fire Fighter Training Show and the Agri-Puppets, "which fit right into our marketing theme, but it was for younger children, where we use puppets to educate people about agriculture." 

    With an attendance increase, a major country star, and a community enthusiastic for the fair, 2017 was a successful year for the Manatee County Fair. "We had a quality fair, and it is always satisfying when everything comes together," said West. "We had a good mixture of everything at this fair. We had a lot of those attributes, and we try to surpass each fair every year." 




  • Long Time Insurance Veterans Launch New Insurance Company
    4/19/2017
    Gene Berger and Rick D'Aprile have started a new insurance company for the amusement industry. Based in San Antonio, Texas, Amusement Entertainment Risk Insurance Agency, (A.E.R.I.A.), officially opened shop March 14th, 2017. A.E.R.I.A. will provide midway liability, automobile, workman's compensation insurance, inland marine, (cargo), and excess liability insurance. "We are fully back in business to help people the way we always have for the last 30 years," says Berger. 

    Combined, Berger and D'Aprile have about 60 years of insurance experience. Berger started working in the insurance industry in the early 80s; he provided insurance for tow trucks and towing companies. Later, in the summer of 1985, he had the opportunity to interview with Allied Specialty Insurance Agency and was offered a job.  After working with company for 10 years in Florida, he relocated to San Antonio, Texas where he resides today.  

    D'Aprile was working in the life insurance business starting since 1985.  He interviewed with Allied Specialty Insurance Company in 1988 after hearing about insurance specializing in the amusement industry. During D'Aprile's high school and college summers he worked at an amusement park and fell in love with the business.  So having an opportunity to work for an insurance agency specializing in the amusement industry  was a good fit for him. D'Aprile became a Vice President of the company in 2000 and he was promoted to  President of Allied in 20014, where he worked until 2014.  Berger and D'Aprile both left Allied Specialty Insurance Agency in 2014, working in other facets of the insurance industry.  This year, they returned to the service the industry with their new company.

    During their time in the insurance industry, Berger and D'Aprile's admiration of the amusement business grew and played a role outside of their regular work. Berger once served as the President of the St. Louis chapter of the Showmen's League of America and D'Aprile just ended his term as President of the Miami chapter of the Showmen's League of America this past February.  That love of the business helps them to understand the needs of their customers and they say that with this specialized knowledge and immersion in the business, they are best suited among their peers to work in the mobile amusement industry.

    A.E.R.I.A is licensed in most states and Berger says that he and D'Aprile are working toward gaining licenses in the remaining jurisdictions. To get the word out about their new company, Berger and D'Aprile are pounding the pavement: they each have trips planned to visit fairs and carnival companies to talk to potential clients and ask them about their needs.  D'Aprile and Berger are planning on attending future industry events and Gene also plans to attend the St. Louis Showmen's League Spring Dinner this year. 

    Following A.E.R.I.A.'s incorporation in mid March, the company welcomed its first two carnival clients.  The company signed New Jersey based Campy's Blue Star Amusements followed by All County Amusements of Long Island, NY.  Their first two customers under the new company have been friends and Berger and D'Aprile look forward to visiting with many of their long time colleagues and acquaintances in the near future. 
      
    According to Berger and D'Aprile, A.E.R.I.A.'s focus is their client-driven work ethic and integrity; "Our service and dedication to the client cannot be matched by any other company," says D'Aprile. A.E.R.I.A. assures quality of service; they are partnering with multiple A+ A.M. Best rated insurance companies so that all client needs can be met. "Rick and I just love the business. There's nothing else I'd rather do. I still want to be a part of it and I enjoy doing it," says Berger. A.E.R.I.A. is currently focusing on getting contacts in each state and talking to potential clients about amusement industry needs.



  • Record Breaking Attendance Continues Winning Streak for Houston
    4/17/2017
    Willie Nelson played a 60 minute set without a set list and received a standing ovation for his show at the Houston Live Stock Show & Rodeo. The country music legend and beloved Son of Texas played on the same day the single-day attendance record of 185,667 was set.

    In spite of a weak Texas economy - and a unsolved and alleged shooting incident - the Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo continued a trend of growing attendance for this unique event celebrating Texas and western heritage with a premier livestock auction, high-quality rodeo, an amazing line up of entertainment and a midway that debuted one of the largest mobile Ferris Wheels in the world.

    Breaking Records
    "Powered by more than 33,000 volunteers, we successfully provided a record number of visitors with a world-class entertainment experience," said Joel Cowley, president/CEO Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. "During the 2017 Show, fans were immersed in one-of-a-kind educational and agricultural exhibits, larger-than-life entertainment, and nightly celebrations of Western heritage during RODEOHOUSTON." 

    Total attendance for the Houston Stock Show & Rodeo reached a record 2,611,176. The record breaking year started off on the right note - an opening-day record of 47,883. "We had in general, about a 6 percent increase in attendance," he said. "We had great weather, there were only three days of rainy weather during the 20 days. It was outstanding."

    This year was the third year of continual increases for the event. "We've had stable growth in 2014, 15, and 16. Each stock show was within about 23,000 of each other."

    The paid Rodeo/concert attendance reached 1,370,263, which included RODEOHOUSTON performances that landed on the list of the Show's top 20 paid rodeo/concert attendance records: Go Tejano Day - Banda El Recodo & Siggno - 75,557 and Luke Bryan - 75,033. 

    Entertainment Success
    The entertainment lineup - a music and rodeo ticket - was "one of the most diverse" for the event said Cowley.  "We had classic country and modern country, including Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Florida Georgia Line as well as acts outside that typical genre - such as Alicia Keys, and for the first time, an Electronic Dance Music (EDM) act, Smoking Section. "It was a risk for us to have that type of show," he said. "We weren't sure if it would translate to our crowd. But it was a big hit, although we did break some chairs. It was our most diverse year for music."

    Music remains a major draw, so mixing up the genres for the concert/rodeo ticket was intentional. The idea was to appeal to the younger audience, especially students on Spring Break. While it may still be a seller's market when it comes to entertainment, booking 2017 actually was easier than previous years. "We were very fortunate this year, we got our first or second choices for every night," he said. "The prices did not go up dramatically, and we were very fortunate with routing and scheduling, and filling that line up was easier this year."

    In addition, NRG Stadium had free Wi-Fi, giving it a state-of-the-art connectivity, coupled with a new Vixi 3D board, which allowed for crowd sharing of social media photos and other images. "It gave us another level of engagement," he said. 

    For the livestock show portion of the event, this increased connectivity and engagement enabled a People's Choice Grand Champion Steer Selection - the audience got to vote for their winners. In another example of the enhanced engagement through the high-tech upgrade of the NRG stadium, the audience got to see a live birth of a foal from a championship mare. "We turned on the spotlight and we saw the birth of a foal, her daughter, and our fans got to name that filly in a contest. We had a great response, and the winning name was Houston Honey." 

    The newly wired NRG stadiums also meant that for the first time, live streaming of RODEOHOUSTON action was available at rodeohouston.com and FoxSports.com/Southwest throughout the U.S. and Canada.

    Attendee Experience
    The attention to enhancing the fairgoer experience Cowley feels is key to maintaining the growth trajectory of the event. Last year the fair implemented a sweeping upgrade of fairgoer amenities - leisure areas, which included more seating, tables and planted grass. The Houston Stock Show & Rodeo also added upgraded portable bathrooms, replacing porto-potties with restroom trailers. A construction fence around the Houston Astrodome, which underwent a renovation, was also removed so the there was an expansion of the grounds, which allowed additional customer areas. 

    "In my opinion, the guest experience is what is most important and what brings people back," said Cowley. "You look at the improvements we did, which also include more ticket buildings that improved efficiency, we really improved the guest experience."

    Not only did the improvements encourage lingering, and more spending at the fair, but the fact it was done helped push up attendance. "I think there was good word of mouth last year about how comfortable people were at the fair. That brought more people here this year." 

    Shooting Incident
    One incident did mar the event, a shooting incident - more precisely, gunfire was heard - no one was injured, nor apprehended - although a few days later a 17-year-old suspect was arrested for evading arrest in relation to the shooting, according to local news reports. A "Shelter-in-Place" warning was issued as the law enforcement personnel conducted a search, but within an hour an all clear was given and the midway resumed activity, although after several hundred people evacuated on their own volition. 
      
    The shots caused what Cowley described as "some chaos," with people reportedly evacuating the grounds in haste. Guns are not permitted on the grounds, and a local news report stated: "HPD [Houston Police Department] officials are confident in the carnival staff's process of inspecting visitors for prohibited weapons and other items."

    The day following the incident, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo tweeted: "HPD has investigated the incident reported at NRG Park Wednesday night and has stated that they have found no weapons, have no suspects in custody and there are no reports of injuries. As a precaution, Show officials instructed people to shelter in place for a short time until officers determined that conditions were safe. We will continue working with HPD, HCSO and Texas DPS to monitor the situation."

    According to Cowley, "we evaluated our security, and if a gun did enter the fairgrounds, the most likely place was along one perimeter fence. We added some more lighting in that area, and additional security. There were kids on spring break, and there were a lot of youth that night, some were causing problems, and there was some havoc. But that night was the end of the incident." 

    The Texas economy has softened, due to rising unemployment and declining fuel prices. "We lost a couple of sponsors because business was not so great," he said. "Our commercial exhibitors were up 6.5 percent, which was positive."

    Crowley pointed out the championship auctions "were off a little bit," although the junior auction sales still totaled $15,239,356. "We saw a difference as to where spending occurred. We are such a great value, that people were doing their stay-cation, so even if they are not going on a vacation this year, they still are coming out to the stock show." 

    RCS Midway
    The Ray Cammack Shows (RCS) midway featured 78 rides, and saw an increase of 9.3 percent over last year, said Cowley. In addition, the discounted Carnival Packs - which sell for $50 - increased 4.5 percent in sales. Cowley was particularly impressed with the premier of the La Grande XL, "which is the largest portable observatory wheel in North America, and it has air-conditioned gondolas, which were a big hit."

    The new Ferris wheel energized the midways and was visible from a far distant. "It's a great partnership RCS/HLSR," said Chris Lopez, Vice President, RCS Inc. "It's also very nice to see the entire community and state get behind and support the event. Our revenue was up. We have seen a trend over the last few years, being up in Houston sets the pace for a successful year throughout. It was like all the stars aligned." 

    He added, "we had great weather, great community support, one week of spring break." The fair actually started a week later than usual due to the Super Bowl, which was held at NRG stadium, although that did not seem to mar the event for this carnival company. "All those variables made for a successful equation," he said. "We had a very strong pre-sale along with big days on first responders and military days."

    The biggest grossing rides were the Skyride, Windstorm, RaveWave,  G Force of course the La Grande Wheel XL. Other new rides were: Endeavor, Big Wheel, and Puppy roll.

    The top five games were Bank a Ball #1, One Ball, Mini Basketball, Bank a Ball #2 and Tubs. 

    New foods at the fair included the Bacon Nutella pickle, "which was outstanding. That was the most popular new item. Other new cuisine was Selfie snow-cone, Flaming Hot Cheetos roaster corn and Flaming Hot Cheetos corn in a cup; Nutella funnel cake and Flaming Hot Cheetos pizza. Other favorites at the fair were local vendors, Rancho Burger Barn and Pappasito's Cantina. Fair staples still enticed the Houston crowd - Visitors consumed 47,480 tamales; 38,000 cinnamon rolls; 18,915 barbecue sandwiches; 10,819 sausages on-a-stick; 8,000 funnel cakes; and 3,400 corn dogs - as well as 122 slices of bug pizza. "The bug pizza was new this year, I don't know how popular it was," said Cowley. "People come to the stock show to eat fun foods they only eat once a year." 




  • Networking, Security & Agriculture Top Agenda  for Texas Fairs
    4/12/2017
    "Telling Your Tale," the theme for the 2017 convention of Texas Association of Fairs & Events, echoed an upbeat organization encouraging its members to rediscover and cultivate its greatest source of support - the communities they serve.

    According to Daryl Real, Livestock Manager of the Texas State Fair, who assumed the presidency of the Texas Association of Fairs & Events in January, the theme selected was for "encouragement for members to get their story out, to connect with their communities and the people in those communities, and to tell them the agriculture story and the fair story, and to celebrate their fairs with their communities."

    Community Connection
    Those communities are not the only audience for the stories the individual fairs and festivals are telling. The convention's theme also encouraged sharing ideas among the fair professionals in the state. "The convention provides a networking opportunity, and people connect with others at the convention and share ideas to make better fairs."

    The Texas fair industry  had a "healthy 2016 as a general rule. A handful of events had bad weather days," said Real. "We had a wet spring, that hurt some of the fairs. But I know one fair that had rain, but also had individual record days, so the bottom line did well." 

    The Texas economy also is not as robust as it was, mainly due to the price drops of fuel. But Real points out that the economic doldrums is not as widespread as it might seem. "North Texas and Houston are two of the fastest growing areas in the country, creating a lot o jobs. There has been a lack of activity in the energy sector. In more rural areas, those communities that had been more dependent on oil production, they are now hurting, because they don't have the same driver that stimulated economic activity. But the events that are close to metro areas are doing better because those economies are more diversified, and that offsets the decline in the energy sector. Some of the smaller towns that relied on oil productions aren't doing as well." 

    The Texas Association of Fairs & Events represents 115 fairs and festivals and the convention attracted 687  attendees, both numbers showing slight but significant increases. Real attributes this growth to a few more festivals joining the ranks, as well as more county fairs joining the associations. "The new members are bringing fresh ideas to the association and they make us stronger," said Real, who added that the new members from both categories add-value to the association by enhancing the networking and idea exchange aspects of the organization.

    Regarding the small but noticeable influx of  county and local fairs, many of those fairs often go in and out of membership, dependent on a variety of factors. Why they are joining again is that the "fairs had better years or their organization is more financially stable," he said. "they are seeing the value of paying the dues and coming to the convention. Many of the fairs had a good season, with higher attendance. Most people who work for the smaller fairs are volunteers, so sending them to the convention is a kind of benefit, and they come back with new ideas for their fairs."

    Free Entertainment
    In addition, the fairs are realizing the value of collaboration. "They are working together more for contracting entertainment and routing talent throughout the state in a more cohesive fashion."

    Entertainment - particularly the free and roaming acts - made up the majority of the Trade Show, which sold out this year, with 77 vendors and 88 booth spaces, with a highlight of the event a Talent Showcase for entertainment. "We created some new spaces this year but we still sold out, there is a lot of demand for the spaces," said Real. 

    While other categories of the vendors - associate members of the organization - such as insurance and ticketing companies as well as midway providers -remain stable, the expanding segment seems to be entertainment. "There seems to be healthy balance between types of vendors, but we are seeing more entertainment," he said. "We have a pretty good return rate of vendors. We have talent agencies who handle the free and strolling acts, and also regional musicians, which have followings. We're lucky in Texas because we are known for our music, especially in places like Austin and San Antonio. Our fairs may be booking more music. The pool is very deep here."

    In recent years, many fairs across the country have cut back on headline entertainment because of rising costs and increased entertainment. Texas Fairs are in a different situation. The smaller fairs traditionally have not booked big name headliners - certainly not as ticket shows - while the larger fairs continue to book some of the biggest music acts in the country. The reason is that the larger fairs - the "Rodeos & Stock Shows" - book a combo ticket with the PRCA and a headliner. 

    Obviously, big names like Willie Nelson do not attend the annual convention of the Texas Association of Fairs & Events, but the roaming or strolling acts and other free entertainment are showing an uptick. "Fairs need free entertainment, and they need to book family entertainment," said Real. "We have seen a plethora of regional acts and a wide variety of strolling acts. There has been an increase in booking these acts by the fairs." 

    Security & Safety
    "Safety and security was the big topic of discussion," Real said. "In this day and age, you have to be concerned about all areas of safety and security. The possibility of something going wrong is growing, that doesn't mean we live in fear, but as event mangers, we have to be responsible."

    What will be the new safety procedures adopted by Texas fairs and festivals in 2017? Real says that adoption will be on a per-event basis, but the safety and security discussions that took place so much more noticeably this year was that fairs, especially at the county and local level, are seriously  considering procedures and protocols for the first time. "More fairs are discussing bag checks and metal detectors," he said. "It was a topic of discussion, and people left here with the seed of that discussion to see how they can make their event more safe. As event managers, the safety of our guests is our top priority and we have take reasonable measures, that make good sense, to ensure that safety."

    Two of the best attended seminars were "Carnival Safety - You Can Never be too Careful!" and , "Options for Big Picture Security."

    Other top seminars were: "Strengthening Your Backbone -Volunteers & Members," "Agriculture Programming At Your Event," "Grow Event Revenue with Online Marketing," "Sponsors & Social: The Art of Partnership Promotions," and "Engaging with your Community."

    Unlike fair industries in some states, Real said there is not much concern of a graying of the profession, mainly due to synergy between fairs and the agriculture industry. "The agriculture industry is still the number one economic driver in the state. The agriculture industry is seeing a lot of younger professionals entering the industry, and they're supporting the fairs. The last decade we have seen more young professionals in the agriculture industry in general and at the fair management level." 

    He added that fairs and the agriculture industry bond over the need to expand agriculture awareness.  "Fairs and the agriculture industry ask themselves, what they are doing at the event, and what they can do, to raise public awareness and education of agriculture. We wan to increase the agriculture literacy of our guests, and that continues to be a trend and younger people are very much receptive to spreading that message." 

    In addition to Real, the new officers of the association include: First Vice President: Jerry Huffman of the George H. Henderson, Jr. Exposition Center; Second Vice/President/Treasurer, Nanci Kimmey of the North Texas Fair & Rodeo; Secretary/Assistant Treasurer: Douglas Borchardt of  the Washington County Fair , and Immediate Past President, Steve Russell of the Titus County Fair. 

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SHOW ROUTES
Wade Shows
Fiesta San Antonio
San Antonio, TX
4/20/2017 - 4/30/2017
Ray Cammack Shows
Pima County Fair
Tucson, AZ
4/20/2017 - 4/30/2017
Poor Jack Amusements
Poor Jack Amusements 2017 Season
MILTON, IN
4/21/2017 - 10/7/2017
Poor Jack Amusements
Golay Comm. Center
Cambridge City, IN
4/25/2017 - 4/29/2017
Butler Amusements
Santa Barbara Fair & Expo
Santa Barbara, CA
4/26/2017 - 4/30/2017
California Carnival Co.
Sanger Spring Festival
Sanger, CA
4/27/2017 - 4/30/2017
Arnold Amusements
Christ The King
Tampa, FL
4/27/2017 - 4/30/2017
INDUSTRY CALENDAR

11/14/2017-11/17/2017
IAAPA Attractions Expo - Orlando, FL
[more info..]

11/26/2017-11/29/2017
Annual IAFE Convention and Trade Show - Paris Hotel - Las Vegas, NV
[more info..]

2/6/2018-2/9/2018
I.I.S.F. Gibtown Extravaganza - Gibsonton, FL
[more info..]

2016 TOP 50 FAIRS
1. Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo - Houston, TX
2. Texas State Fair - Dallas, TX
3. San Antonio Livestock Show & Ex. - San Antonio, TX
4. Minnesota State Fair - St. Paul, MN
5. San Diego County Fair - Del Mar, CA

View Top 50 Fairs
The Industry Buzz
Help The H2B Program - Call to Action

JKJ Workforce is urging supporters of the H2B program to call their senators and ask them to support the letter drafted by Senator Flake (R-AZ) that urges leadership to support the returning worker exemption.

Many carnivals and concessionaires have been denied their workers this year due to the visa cap.  Relief may be in sight with your support!

STEP #1:
Click HERE to view Senator Flake's letter to leadership.

STEP #2
Call your senators and ask them to support Senator Flake's letter concerning the returning worker exemption for H2B visas.  Call the capitol switchboard at 202-225-3121 to be connected to your senators (you have two), or click here to look them up online.
  Posted by JKJ Labor / MCW on 4/12/2017
Support H2B - Sign the Petition!
If you are involved in the amusement industry or support it, please sign the petition to help save the H2B Program!

  Posted by Matt Cook on 4/7/2017
Act Today to #saveH2B
With the 2017 H2B Visa Cap met, many shows were denied foreign workers for 2017.  This left many shows and concessionaires in our industry in a pinch trying to find dependable employees for the upcoming season.

Fortunately, there may be hope in re-instating the returning worker exemption for 2017, which would give cap relief to those who had been denied.

Congress must address federal spending bills for the remainder of fiscal year 2017 by April 28 in order to avoid a government shutdown.  The primary opportunity that we have for getting the Returning Worker Exemption reenacted and saving the H-2B program for this season is by inclusion of the language in the spending bill that must be passed by that date.  Congress needs to hear a steady drum beat from H-2B users across the country if we are going to be successful in reinstating the returning worker exemption through a year-end spending bill.  Your help is crucial in this endeavor.

Today & tomorrow week we need you to do the following:

Call and email your Representative and ask him or her to sign onto the attached letter that Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) is currently circulating. It will be sent to House leaders.  This Thursday is the deadline to sign onto the letter.   You can reach your Representative through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121.  To find out who your Representative is please click here.  To download Andy Harris' letter, click here.

If you have not already done so, please call and email your two Senators and ask them to cosponsor the Save our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act, S. 792, that was introduced last week by Senators Tillis (R-NC), King (I-ME), Thune (R-SD), Collins (R-ME), Rounds (R-SD), Cornyn (R-TX), Murkowski (R-AK), Blunt (R-MO) and Warner (D-VA).  You can reach your Senators through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121. To find out who your two Senators are, click here

Please also tweet at your elected officials and encourage them to pass H-2B cap relief immediately.  You can also thank your Senators if they are cosponsors of S. 792 or encourage them to cosponsor this bill if they have not yet done so.
  Posted by JKJ Labor / MCW on 4/4/2017
2018 Gibtown Trade Show Reduced to 4-Days
The International Independent Showmen's Association announced that the 2018 IISF Gibtown Trade Show and Extravaganza will be reduced to a four day show, opening Tuesday, February 6 and concluding on Friday, February 9, 2018.  In recent years, the show opened on Tuesday and closed Saturday, however, many vendors felt that reducing the total number of days would be more beneficial.  The 2018 trade show marks the shows 50th anniversary.  More information on the IISF Trade Show can be found on the IISA's web site at www.GibtownShowmensClub.com.  Posted by Matt Cook on 3/21/2017
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
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.

WINDY CITY AMUSEMENTS - Ride Help, Electrician, Mechanic wanted for 2017 season!  Call Mark at 630-327-7156 or Timmy at (630) 965-5270

AMUSEMENTS OF AMERICA IS NOW HIRING & BOOKING for the 2017 season!  Employment Inquiries call 
Dominic:  (732) 446-7144 and for 

Concession Boing call 
Rob:  (732) 337-7748

Deggeller Attractions is now hiring ride, game, food, cdl drivers, and more.  Visit www.deggeller.com to apply.

Crescent City Amusements is seeking General Help PLUS CDL drivers, electricians, and maintenance supervisors for the 2017 season!  Call Greg at (985) 960-3013 for more information.

BATTECH is an amusement ride manufacturer, producing popular rides such as the Cliff Hanger, Zero Gravity, Downdraft, and Super Slide.  Visit www.battechrides.com for more info.

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