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  • Attendance down at 2014 National Orange Show

    Attendance was unfortunately down somewhat this year at the National Orange Show, held over the Memorial Day Weekend in San Bernardino, California.

    About 30,000 people came through the main gates over the five-day fair, said CEO Dan Jimenez. He couldn't say exactly how much of a decline that was over previous years, but he did say that the slight decline wasn't unexpected. It's the demographics of the community surrounding San Bernardino, he said, a national recession that has affected the area, the closing of a major military facility a few years back, competition from the regional San Bernardino County fair held the same weekend as well as competition from large theme parks.

    Holding up against the stiff competition and unfortunate circumstances hasn't been easy, Jimenez said, but it has been worth it.

    "I'm really proud of what we're able to do here," he said. "There are a lot of young people out there whose parents can't afford the cost of the big-name theme parks. The Orange Show provides them with clean, wholesome entertainment they can afford. Our goal has always been an enjoyable experience. We provide a great atmosphere for families at a very affordable price."

    There are two citrus shows held in California, Jimenez said, and the San Bernardino, Memorial Day event is one of them. The fair was first developed in 1889, when the area around San Bernardino was wrapped in citrus groves. The National Orange Show has made a major economic and cultural impact on the area.

    The first orange introduced in the area was one known as the Washington Naval Orange, first brought to the area in 1873. The orange was a Latin American mutation of a variety from the Iberian Peninsula named for its "belly button" at the blossom end. The fruit soon became a major catalyst for the development of California's citrus industry, according to the history of the festival.

    As the history goes, a man named Anson Van Leuven brought the first orange trees - only six of them at first - to the San Bernardino Valley from the San Gabriel Valley in 1857. In 1869, Lewis F. Cram was given the opportunity to buy 500 trees but chose to buy only enough root stock to plant less than two acres. By 1887, he had shown a net profit of $1,757, over $1,100 net per acre. It was considered a fortune in those days.

    In 1873, the U.S. Department of Agriculture sent two of those original orange trees to Eliza Tibbets. The prolific production of the trees, with the incredible quality and taste of the oranges, won awards at major expositions. The woman soon had a booming business selling buds from her tree stock.

    By 1910, one year before the National Orange Show began, at least 100,000 acres in California were planted with the orange trees, and California naval orange sales had reached $200 million. A series of citrus fairs were held in the 1880s and 1890s. The world's first citrus fair was staged in Riverside in February of 1879. That's when the Washington Navel orange was first exhibited, and its superior qualities were recognized. The fair was such a success that a second fair followed in February 1880, and a third in March of 1881. The citizens of Riverside were so happy with the outcome that they turned the fair into an annual event and actually erected a pavilion for the fair in 1882.

    Annual citrus fairs were held in Riverside, except for one or two that were held in Colton, until 1891. At the same time, similar fairs were being held in Los Angeles and San Bernardino County.

    Those were the days, said Jimenez.

    "This area was a big, big orange area," he said.

    But things have changed. Not only have the majority of the orange groves become a thing of the past, but the San Bernardino area has also changed in many ways.

    For example, San Bernardino, is the poorest city of its population size in California. It's the second poorest in the United States next to Detroit, Michigan. The National Orange Show Events Center contains the Orange Pavilion, a stadium, two large clear-span exhibition halls, a clear-span geodesic dome and several ballrooms.

    San Bernardino hosts several major annual events, including the Route 66 Rendezvous, a four-day celebration of America's "Mother Road" that is held in San Bernardino each September, the Berdoo Bikes and Blues Rendezvous, held in the spring, and the Western Regional Little League Championships held each August, as well as the annual anniversary of the birth of the Mother Charter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, Berdoo California Chapter.

    The San Bernardino area has cool to chilly winters and hot, dry summers. The highest recorded summer temperatures are around 117 degrees. In the winter, snow flurries occur upon occasion. The city lies in the San Bernardino foothills and the eastern portion of the San Bernardino Valley, roughly 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

    Jimenez said that the weather during the Orange Show was - "beautiful, just beautiful," with pleasant days and moonlit nights, a perfect atmosphere to stroll the grounds and enjoy the entertainment. All of the entertainment was covered by the admission price. There was an $8 charge for adults, which was reduced to $6 after 6 p.m. Admission cost $2 for children. Members of the military got in for free, and seniors over the age of 55 got into the fair for $6.

    On Thursday through Sunday, there was a $20 special on unlimited wristbands for the midway rides. The midway,, with more than 50 rides for both children and adults, was provided by Ray Cammack Shows.

    Live stage entertainment was provided with several bands on the last Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the fair. In addition, there was daily entertainment by hypnotist Tina Marie, pig races, a butterfly adventures show, Brad's World Reptiles, a stilt circus and World of Wonders. Jimenez said the pig races were especially popular.

    "It was a nice, clean atmosphere, with music, dancers, a lot of orange exhibits and citrus displays," he said. "It certainly looked like everybody was enjoying themselves. There was any kind of food anybody wanted to eat."

    Two years ago, Orange Show officials tried moving the date of the festival back by two weeks in order to try and increase attendance, but that was quickly changed back to the original Memorial Day weekend, Jimenez said. The festival also included a pie and cake baking contest, a juried art exhibit, a quilt making competition and a nostalgic art exhibit.

    On the cultural stage, the Folkorio Nuevo Esperanza and the Le Herencia Mariachi appeared to rave reviews from the audience.

    The park covers 120 acres with parking for 8,000 cars and operates year around for special events. The current National Orange Show Events Center offers 150,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space, a quarter mile speedway, state-of-the-art satellite wagering center, and can accommodate more than 40,000 attendees. The center continues to carry out its mission to promote and preserve the citrus industry; manage and operate year-round recreational and cultural facilities to attract special events focusing on education and family entertainment; and support the community through charitable programs, scholarships, and active community involvement.

    Jimenez said the fair was advertised through radio, television and other commercial media. The advertisements also included the Orange Show Internet site and emails to previous customers.

  • Salem Fair:  Virginia's Largest Fair

    Although by industry standards, Salem Fair is just a "baby," within 27 short years it has managed to become Virginia's largest.  Not only that, Fair Manager Carey Harveycutter explained that "attendance for this year's event was the highest in fair history as approximately 340,000 folks toured the 14-acre midway."

    Zero to 340,000
    So how does a fledgling fair "fly" from zero to 340,000 within just 27 years?  Harveycutter generously shared some tips for doing so.  He advised, "Make sure you hire good people to work with you, especially the person who handles corporate sales, the one who understands just what corporate entities want out of such an event." 

    Harveycutter continued, "Meet with local citizens in order to discuss what the fair brings to the marketplace.  Set up a fenced area so that you can charge admission Ė that's often a necessity.  And make sure that you have a great partnership with your carnival midway."

    Harveycutter and fellow Civic Center administrator John Saunders had long felt the need for a Salem Fair.  However, there had been an amusement park called Lakeside in the area, and they did not want to compete with an existing tax-paying entity.  When Lakeside closed, they took that as a signal to move ahead with their dream.

    However, the going was tough at first.  There wasn't enough money back then to fence the lot, and so admission was free from the start.  Because "it's then hard to go the other way," there has been no gate charge ever since.  This, as well as the ongoing free parking, has been offset by funding from sponsorships, independent concessions, the Coliseum at the Civic Center, etc.

    Harveycutter reminisced that when he and Saunders attended their first International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) conference in Las Vegas, he was in his 30s and Saunders was in his 20s.  They deliberately asked attendees in their 50s and 60s to tell them "what we don't want to do."  This openness to seasoned advice has served them very well throughout the years.

    Country Road, Take Me Home
    Neither has it hurt the Salem Fair any to be right off of a major thoroughfare within the Blue Ridge Mountains, Interstate 81.  Nestled in the Roanoke Valley, Salem's locale is considered to be the "commercial and cultural hub of much of Southwest Virginia and portions of Southern West Virginia."  Wikipedia also extols this area's historical trail ways and railways.

    Harveycutter said, "This year we received a Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) grant, and we were able to take our advertising within about a 200-mile radius of the fair.  This attracted people who may not have otherwise thought about us."

    He continued, "We're seeing a lot more of an ethnic mix these days.  More and more visitors are coming from all over, and we're now one of the top 20 events in the Southeast for the summer season.  This year 25 young people from China came to our fair.  They all had a wonderful time.

    We also had at least two family reunions that arrived here on charter buses.  We're going to work some more on attracting great groups like these."

    Harveycutter concluded, "Good weather makes a fair manager look really good."  And this was  certainly a banner year!  The July 14, 2014 press release stated, "For the most part, the weather was outstanding and as a result, ticket sales for rides were way up and the independent food operators also reported very solid gains."

    Win-Win Stats
    The July 14th press release also reports that attendance "for the opening night of the fair was the highest since 2010 and July 4 attendance was greater than any other Independence Day in the history of the fair." 

    "In addition when patrons were asked to bring canned food to the fair on July 8 for the Salem Food Pantry, they responded by contributing 13,000 pounds of non-perishable food items and boosting attendance on that evening by nearly 50 percent...  Creative arts and horticulture exhibits also were up 30 percent this year as 2900 individual exhibits from 940 exhibitors were on display."

    This year's advertising budget was $70,000, with a breakdown of 40% TV, 40% radio, 10% print and outdoor, plus 10% social media.  Harveycutter noted that this year's print allotment was a lot less than in previous years.  As for social media, "it grows each year and gives you an opportunity to interact with your customers."

    Harveycutter further explained, "We did text campaigns with our strongest radio station, Star Country.  You could text in to win ride passes, and we could text folks specific specials. We also had a Survivor casting contest with our CBS TV affiliate, which turned out to be a great promotional idea."

    The Deggeller Midway, which Harveycutter credits as being instrumental in drawing a huge crowd, was "up about 15% this year."  He explained, "We did a ride promotion just about every day.  Deggeller's Giant Ferris Wheel is always very popular, and the Super Nova always does well.  There are also 12 to 14 kiddie rides, and the families love them."

    Harveycutter added, "When diesel fuel went up, we looked for a way to help the carnival compensate for that.  We began a fuel rebate program by raising our ride prices some.

    Half of that raise went straight back to the carnival to assist with the increasing fuel costs."

    Grounds acts were also super this year.  There were a number of "firsts" for the Salem Fair, including Team Rock Martial Arts and Hilby the Skinny German Juggle Boy, Sean Watson the Illusionist from Starshine Events, and A Grizzly Experience. 
    Harveycutter added, "When we book animal acts, we make sure that the people take care of their animals and don't abuse them in any way." 

    Looking ahead to 2014, Harveycutter predicts "minimal changes" - just some tweaking concerning traffic flow and main-gate wristband sales.  After all, why mess around with such resounding success?      

  • Florida State Fair Authority Awards Midway Management Partner Contract to Wade Shows

    TAMPA, FL - The Florida State Fair Authority announced yesterday its Board of Directors has formally approved W.G. Wade Shows, Inc. as the new Florida State Fair Midway Manager.  The Fair Authority's Midway Evaluation Committee brought forth the Wade Shows recommendation to the Board after a formal Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) proposal and review process.  Projected benefits of the 3-year agreement include increased patron safety, reduction of the Fair's Midway overhead and increased revenue, and updated Midway brand and uniformity, all while allowing provisions for the Fair Authority to have final control.  The contract will begin immediately and Wade Shows will provide a new Midway experience for the 2015 Florida State Fair from February 5-16th.

    "We are so pleased with this process and excited about the possibilities," says Doyle E. Carlton, III, Florida State Fair Authority Chairman of the Board.  "It is always good to have a fresh set of eyes, and Frank Zaitshik of Wade Shows has been here at the Fair, and has so many great ideas to invigorate our Midway," Mr. Carlton continues.  "There will be a new design to the Midway that will be more family-friendly and lend itself to a very secure environment for Fairgoers to enjoy.  We feel this move will be positive for all involved."

    From 1992 through 1997, and again from 2005 through 2014, the Florida State Fair has operated under an Independent Midway structure, where Midway operations such as rides games and food concessions (in the Midway) were fully managed and overseen by the Fair Authority.  In recent years, hard costs, including staffing personnel costs have greatly increased. 

    The new Midway Management contract, considered a Hybrid Contract, ensures the Fair will continue to maintain the highest quality Midway. The Fair will retain the right of approval over the Midway layout and ride selection.  Under the agreement the Florida State Fair will continue to set up and oversee the Mall area, and all non-midway food concessions, which is nearly 80% of total food operations during Fair time.

    Wade Shows is the largest family-owned carnival business in the U.S. and plays more State Fairs than any other carnival company. Ranked by Carnival Warehouse magazine as the 3rd largest carnival operator in the U.S. based on attendance, Wade has had a long-standing relationship with the Florida State Fair.  The company has been a part of the Fair for 23 years, and has partnered with the Fair Authority on charitable events such as "Miles of Smiles" for underprivileged children.  Founded in 1912, Wade successfully manages and/or operates numerous venues including the San Antonio Livestock Show & Exhibition, the Oklahoma State Fair, the South Florida Fair and the New York State Fair; all with an annual attendance range from 550,000 to 1.7 million.
    "The Board's decision to approve the Midway Management agreement will benefit all of us," says Chuck Pesano, Executive Director of the Florida State Fair Authority.  "Since Wade Shows has been our largest Midway provider for the last ten plus years, the transition from Independent to Hybrid Midway should be nothing short of seamless.  Frank Zaitshik of Wade Shows calls Tampa Bay his home and is invested in this community. He is committed to improving with us."

    Operating under the direction of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and its Board of Directors, the Florida State Fair Authority, located on the fairgrounds' 330 acres in Tampa, Florida, strives to create positive entertainment experiences through the annual State Fair and variety of year-round events and quality competitive programs. The FSFA is committed to agriculture, education and community service with a focus on new opportunities. The Florida State Fair Authority (FSFA) operates strictly from revenues generated from the annual State Fair and other events throughout the year. Although the FSFA is an instrumentality of the state of Florida, it does not receive any annual tax appropriations from the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County or the State.

    Please keep posted to for more details on Wade Shows plan for the Florida State Fair midway.

  • Let It Be: San Diego's Fab Fair Gets Back to Beatlemania

    The 24-day San Diego County Fair presented by Albertsons/Sav-on, attracted 1,457,130 according toTim Fennell, CEO, who claims this is the 2nd highest attendance in the history of the fair, first held in 1880. In addition, revenue showed notable upticks in several segments, including, food concessions, midway ridership and merchandise sales.

    This increase in purchasing indicates consumers are more comfortable parting with their hard-earned disposable income. "Spending was up at the fair, maybe the economy is a little better this year," said Fennell. "It's not just the fair showing positive growth, all our events were up, including the horse show. Hopefully there are more jobs being created and there's more consumer confidence out there this year."

    The Del Mar Fairgrounds include Surfside Race Place, Horsepark Equestrian Center and the Del Mar Golf Center. The 22nd District Agricultural Association, a California state agency that owns and operates the fairgrounds, the San Diego County Fair,  the Del Mar National Horse Show, Professional Bull Riding (PBR) and The Scream Zone. The Fairgrounds hosts more than 300 events annually.

    This being drought-stricken California, rain was not a factor when it comes to the weather, but weather perfection made the San Diego shoreline unseasonably appealing. "We had perfect June weather, and it would have been all time high but when we get the warm weather, we compete with our beautiful beaches," said Fennell. "We lost a good 30-40,000 because of the weather."

    On the plus side, the fair, spread out over five weekends, and was closed all four Mondays. "We traded a weekend for a weekday," he added.

    The Beatles Theme
    The other reason this year's San Diego event could be described as fabulous may be found in its 2014 theme - The Fab Fair. The Beatles hit America in 1964, forever changing the world. The San Diego County Fair's celebration of the 50th anniversary of the "Fab Four" appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show (and their first U.S. hit songs, music tour and release of their groundbreaking film, A Hard Days Night) practically revived Beatlemania in Southern California.

    The San Diego County Fair celebration of the birth of the British music invasion with "The Fab Fair" attracted multiple generations of fairgoers. "Our board president came up with the idea, and we all agreed, everybody loves The Beatles," said Fennell. "There was a very clear popularity to the Beatles, and it was a way to talk about history and the 1960s. They affected everything, music, fashion, politics. The also cross generations, it's not just baby boomers. The kids of baby boomers grew up with the Beatles and so did their kids."

    The theme was drawn out with a 40-foot high Yellow Submarine, Beatles inspired uniforms for the workers, and a major exhibit of everything Beatles, which included rare memorabilia discovered overseas. "We sent people over to London, and worked with people and museums over there, and we developed relationships so we could put together a really thorough exhibit."

    He added, "when we develop a theme we worked with schools and the community to tie in as much education as possible. The Beatles were a natural."

    According to Fennell, shortly following last year's fair (the 2013 theme was Video Games) - about 40 people, including staff and board members - "brainstorm" about the theme for the fair, setting goals and devising ways to best to carry through those themes.  The Beatles and British invasion music of the era had to be well-represented. The Fab Fair promised 24 days of Beatles music, which was played by a variety of tribute acts, including Britbeat, British Invasion, The McCartney Years, and the Fab Four. Beatles music was played live every day of the fair. "The Fab Four have been here before and they have a guy who plays Ed Sullivan to introduce them, in keeping with the 50th anniversary, it is very humorous," said Fennell,. "I was surprised how every night, the shows were almost a full-house and the exhibit was packed."

    Themes & Education
    One of the strategies of the fair is to have a pop-culture oriented theme, which Fennell admits years ago first met with some resistance by the regional agricultural interests in the fair, "Some of the agricultural people felt they were taking the spotlight away from the mission of the fair, but you can't argue with the numbers. We've been able to grow attendance to our fair and our other events, and we put the revenues back into the facilities."

    With the historical context of the Beatles as gateway to discussion of the social changes of the 1960s, the educational mission at the heart of the fair was mollified. In turn, the agricultural inception of the fair is strengthened by an expansion of awareness of California's agricultural industry. "We broadened the theme which brings in more people and that exposes them to more agricultural exhibits," said Fennell.

    While Beatles A-Z could be heard daily, there was other major headliners at the fair's multiple performance spaces. Stages at the San Diego State Fair included the Plaza Stage, Coors Light Rock On Stage, Ford Dealers, Paddock Stage and the Heineken Grandstand Stage, which featured other headliners including Toni Braxton & Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Huey Lewis & the News, REO Speedwagon, America, Taylor Hicks, Kristian Bush, Leon Russell,  Fee Waybill and The Tubes, Grand Funk Railroad, Darius Rucker, Jeff Dunham, Third Eye Blind, and the 10th Annual Gospel Festival featuring Fred Hammond.

    Revenue Streams
    The San Diego County Fair operates an Independent Midway, contracting with 14 midway operators, for 82 rides. The midway was up 5 percent, with the top 10 rides being: Crazy Mouse, Grand Wheel, Sky Ride, Magnum, G-Force, Fast Trax, Olympic Bob Sled, Sky Flyer, Alien Abduction and Carousel. "There are pluses and minuses to having an independent midway," admitted Fennell. "But from our standard, we sell all the tickets and control the sales. The rides do bring in the people, and the people spend money. We keep the look of the midway consistent. All the staff, all the ride workers, all wear uniforms, which we design."

    Merchandising is another revenue stream this fair has cultivated. Their in-house graphic artist created a fair logo that was used on various souvenirs and knickknacks. "We work with a merchandiser, but we do it all in-house," said Fennell. "That's an advantage we have, because we created a revenue stream."

    Fennell, estimates that the San Diego County Fair merchandise generates a few hundred thousand dollars of revenue, he recommends "keep it basic - some kids and adult items - apparel and accessories, pens and pencils.'

    According to Fennell, the Beatles and people's love of the music and the optimism they engendered had an effect on increasing per-capita purchasing. "People were staying longer at the fair, and if they stay longer, they spend more money," he said.

    What they were frequently buying was something to eat. "Food concession revenues were 9.24 percent higher than last year - and Premier SMG, the fair's onsite cater which serves alcohol and handles grandstand F&B, was up by more than 16 percent. Fair cuisine stats include: 15,000 pounds of bacon by Bacon-A-Fair; more than 3,000 Martha Stewart hot dogs and more than 2,000 Emeril-Bam hot dogs sold by Pink's 20,000 pounds of whole wheat cinnamon roll mix, 4 tons of cinnamon & sugar and 500 gallons of cream cheese frosting used by Country Fair Cinnamon Roll and 21.5 tons California grown potatoes used by Tasti Chips.

    Fennell said that Chicken Charlie was "probably the most successful food vendor, and their Krispy Kreme Triple-Decker Cheeseburgers were a hit at this fair." (20,000+ of this donut/hamburger concoction were sold during the 24-day event.)

    Speedier Promotions
    The fair's marketing showed little change, except for the typical trends of less print media and an expansion of social media promotions. "Our promotions were very balanced - we promoted the theme, food and items, and we promoted the value," said Fennell. "We are promoting more through social media. You can put the promotions out the next day."

    Fennell sees social media enhancing  the bedrock of fair marketing. "The best promotion is word of mouth," he said. "If you have a customer who has a great experience, and they tell another someone else, that is the best. With social media, that word of mouth gets disseminated much more quickly."

    The Fair paid tribute to Tony Gwynn, Baseball Hall of Famer and beloved player for the San Diego Padres, who passed away on June 16th . "We made up special programs for the day, and we ran a promotion that if anyone had a San Diego Padre ticket, they got in for free. We had about 4-5,000 who participated, and we had some press, newspaper and radio mainly, but that promotion was done almost entirely through social media."

    Having a pop culture oriented theme may be unusual for U.S. fairs, but the San Diego County Fair is probably more traditional that the theme indicates. For Fennell, innovation is not just the key to success, it has long been part of the fair business, at least in San Diego. "If you keep your fair relevant, have new programming, and keep it educational, fun and exciting, you are going to have a good fair," said Fennell. "You have to think outside of the box, and be entrepreneurial, and make good business decisions."

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Mary Vakulskas, mother of Carnival Priest, John Vakulskas passes

Mary Vakulskas, loving mother of Tom, Janet,Maria and Father John Vakulskas died July 20, 2014 in Sioux City, Iowa.

Visitation, Wednesday, July 23 3-8 p.m. at the
Christy-Smith Funeral Home
Larkin Chapel
2320 Outer Drive North
Sioux City IA 51104

Funeral: Thursday, July 24 at 10:30 a.m.
Church of the Nativity
4242 Natalia Way
Sioux City, IA 51106

  Posted by Matt Cook on 7/22/2014
Walter F. Larson, original manufacturer of the Super Loops, passes

Walter F. Larson, original manufacturer of the Super Loops ride, passed away on July 18, 2014.  Walter F. Larson was born on Sept. 26, 1930, to Walter W. Larson and Anita Jarvis Larson.  Upon graduation from Plainview High School, he attended American Flyers pilot training school in Fort Worth. He married his high school sweetheart Sharon Turner on April 9, 1950. He worked for Claude Hutcherson as a charter pilot and held special fond memories of the medical charter flights he flew. Later, he opened a Ferguson tractor dealership which became known as Larson-Turner Massey-Ferguson located at Fifth Street and Yonkers in Plainview. After selling the dealership to the James Brothers, he ventured into manufacturing high clearance tractors. He possessed a unique and uncanny ability to take what was good and make it awesome. These tractors were customized for a number of unique applications which included being used on tomato plantations, harvesting grapes and corn de-tasseling. He also manufactured Versa-trac highway sweepers. In the early 1970s, he began manufacturing amusement rides and is best known for the Super Loops carnival ride, known today as The Ring of Fire. Featured in the movie "Big, "SuperLoops was the ride Tom Hanks was not big enough to ride. He retired from this business in 2007.

He is preceded in death by a daughter, Melinda Larson. He is survived by his wife of more than 64 years, Sharon Larson; sister Sally Hale of Lubbock; daughters, Sarah Larson of Elgin, Texas, Loretta Haynes and husband Jim of Las Cruces, N.M., and Alice Kofahl and husband Lloyd of Dallas. He is survived by six grandchildren - Dr. Ann Marie Baker and her husband Dr. Chris Baker of Damon, Texas, Andrea Hebison and husband Kent of Lubbock, Larson Hampton and wife Brandi of Aledo, Texas, Katherine Kofahl, Laura Kofahl and Lee Kofahl, all of Dallas. He is survived by eight great-grandchildren, Aria Gras, Ainsley Baker, Preston Baker, Kayden Russell, Addison Hampton, Levi Hampton, Ashlynn Hebison and Zavery Hebison; nephews Tom Andrews of Bowling Green, Va., Jim Andrews of Lubbock, and niece Anita Page of Lubbock.

Memorial services for Walter F. Larson were held on July 21, 2014.  Memorial contributions may be made to: St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 710 Joliet St., Plainview, TX 79072 or Cal Farley's Boys Ranch, 600 SW 11th Ave., Amarillo, TX 79101 or to one's favorite charity.

  Posted by Obituary on 7/21/2014
Wade Shows ranked top finalist by Florida State Fair Authority
The Florida State Fair announced Wade Shows was the top ranked finalist to submit a bid to operate the midway at the Florida State Fair.  The Fair has invited Wade Shows to enter negotiations with the fair to coordinate the midway at the 2015, 2016, and 2017 state fairs.  If a contractual agreement between Wade Shows and the Florida State Fair Authority is not reached, the fair will then enter into negotiations with the second ranked highest bidder, Reithoffer Shows.  As more details are announced, we will report them here.  Posted by Matt Cook on 7/8/2014
Miller Spectacular expands route into Kentucky; adds five rides
Freddy Miller reported a strong start to his family's carnival, Miller Spectacular Shows, 2014 season.  Miller expanded its route into Kentucky, picking up several county fairs previously played by Myers International Midways, including the Taylor County Fair in Campbellsville.  So far, Miller has been happy with the new spots on his route and sees a lot of opportunity for growth.  "The fair board at Taylor County was great to work with.  They were very accommodating and open to ideas on ways to grow the fair in the future".   Miller also reported the purchase of five rides including a Zamperla Samba Balloon and Surfs Up.  The Samba Balloon replaces the shows old balloon ride which was damaged in an accident earlier this season.  The show also added two new Schantz food trailers earlier in the year.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 6/27/2014
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.

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