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2024 IISF Trade Show Kicks off in Gibtown with New Exhibitors & Good Attendance

Dalton Kid Rides - Fire Truck Umbrella Ride
Dalton showcased a new umbrella ride built for Dreamland Amusements using Mangles fire truck vehicles.

Rides 4U - New & Used Rides
The IISF Trade Show was in full swing on Tuesday in Gibsonton, FL, and despite fears from some quarters that the splitting of industry organizations might harm the trade show, it seemed the event was as vibrant as ever.  New exhibitors, more rides and a sunny optimism once again were the order of the day.  

Steve Lisko, of Equipment Solutions International, was one vendor who brought rides to the show in a big way, and his efforts seemed to pay off, even from the very start.  “ We have everything sold already, with one exception”, he said by mid-day.  “It's been busy at the booth with a lot of people stopping by”, he added.

Equipment Solutions has one of the largest displays at the show, showcasing several rides including some interesting new attractions.  The Christmas Tree ride caught the eye of many show attendees looking for something new, as did the Scooby Doo dark ride/train ride, a piece Lisko is especially proud of. The big front and tunnel adds a whole new dimension to your typical train ride and Lisko is looking to add some special effects to that part of the attraction.  Also on display in his booth is a Samba Balloon, a swing ride, an Up and Away and a game.

Another display that was catching people's eye was the Dalton Kid Rides booth.  Dreamland Amusements had a 10 sweep Mangels Fire Truck ride on display that was produced by Dalton.  The classic ride was given a modern look and feel that impressed many in attendance.  Dreamland has a second ride on display in the booth as well, but the Mangels piece was a topic of much discussion.

With the weather sunny, but slightly cool, crowds came out in strong numbers to see what is new, and renew friendships and relationships.  Show owners, concessionaires and industry professionals of every stripe were on hand.

Angelo Spata of TSA Amusements, who operates in the New York City area, made two purchases, a 65' Giant Wheel and a Wrecking Ball ride from ADM, another company that has a large display here in Gibtown.  Reflecting the mood of many we spoke with today, Spata said his season “wasn't bad”, mostly hampered by rain at the end of the year.  This sentiment was echoed by Fred McDaniels of McDaniels Brothers Amusements, who plays in nearby New Jersey and upstate NY.    

Others stopping by the booth included Phil Dolci, Ian Garden and Ryan Henning.  Dolci operates the popular Banana Derby, a fairgrounds “free act” and he hosts an annual Fish Fry here at the trade show.  Garden is a circus producer who helps put together large circuses for state fairs and large events such as the Big E, the Erie County Fair, the South Carolina State Fair and the Wisconsin State Fair.  Henning has a camel show he has been operating for several years and recently produced a country music festival at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds.

Bob McKnight is a veteran game operator and showmen who spent many years on Amusements of America before moving to Powers' Great American Midways and now travels with Powers and Thomas.   At one time, McKnight operated 15 games and a dozen rides on Amusements of America, but he has now streamlined to a dozen games with P&T.  McKnight said he had a great season last year and is proud to be a part part of such a first class show in Powers and Thomas.  

Tommy Breen, who operates one of the last large side shows still touring in the country, was also on hand.  Breen purchased World of Wonders from Ward Hall and Chris Christ and has been operating the attraction as a paid show at fairs throughout the country.  This arrangement has made it easier to pay the bills with a guarantee instead of the traditional way of being booked on a carnival midway and working off paid entries. 

Breen commented on the loss of side shows on the midway.  He said there were only one or possibly two other operators today and none in certain parts of the country, such as the West Coast where side shows reigned for many years.  A few years back, Breen went to California with the show where he got a lot of interest in the show but poor locations at the events hurt the bottom line.  

Breen's schedule is looking good for the coming year and he is hoping to shore up any open dates in the coming weeks.

Brady Amusements

Marty Brady visited with MCW's Ron Weber at the MCW booth

Marty Brady operates Brady Amusements in the midwest.  Brady began his career working for Cumberland Valley Shows where his father operated games.  He moved the show for many years and later operated independent rides on the show.  When owner Jimmy Floyd passed, Brady decided to go with with All American Shows for a few seasons.  The itch to start his own show became strong and in 2006, he purchased D+P Amusements from Don Creek in Indiana.

The show sports 22 rides but usually only about 16 are put up at each event.  They operate from mid-April to mid-October in Indiana and Illinois playing fairs, festivals and one church event.

The show's lineup includes a Zipper, Miami ride, plus food and games, all operated by the Bradys.  Brady picked up a Falgas Safari Train ride this year which is being redone in the show's winterquarters with new lights and wrap.  The show owns a huge 40' Waymatic trailer that sells all the popular offerings.  Brady wrapped the concession so that it appears to be three trailers in one, adding to the overall appeal.

Commenting on the status of the amusement business, Brady said he was “pleasantly surprised” last year and that the season was “pretty decent”.  Looking ahead, however, Brady remains cautiously optimistic, worried that customers may start to tighten purse strings but hopeful that the spending on local amusements will continue to hold.

For more on the IISF Trade Show, visit for our daily updates.
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