Over the years we have carried out a number of corporate jobs, where we have had to brand the photo booth for a client. This can range from a single sticker on the side of a retro booth, to a complete vinyl wrap. Usually they are for Christmas parties or sales promotions, but we did one job that was totally different. This time it was an anti discrimination drive to help end disability hate.
Disability Video Booth
We were contracted to supply a fully wrapped video booth for a North East police force. This was to visit a number of libraries and community centres. This was to allow people to talk about nasty experiences that had been due to their disabilities.
We had one of our regular photo booths fully wrapped by a local company we use. We also extended it and removed the seat. This would allow wheelchair users to access the booth, and we added an uprated microphone system to the unit. All of our booths have video capabilities, but as this was designed to capture their stories we improved the mike systems.
Stott Him On The Heed
The first day we operated was I think Sunderland library. I turned up and set the booth up, and was joined by a couple of females P.C.’s that would be staying with me for the event.
The first client was a young lad. He stood in the booth and asked me what he was supposed to say. I explained that if he had experienced anything nasty he should talk about it.
“Well I was picked on a couple of weeks ago by a lad, should I say that?”
Definitely I replied,
“Then I picked a brick up and stotted it off his heed, should I say that?”
Erm, I think I will get this lady PC to talk to you as I am not sure how that will go down.
For those Southerners that haven’t encountered the North East dialects. Basically he was confessing to smacking his tormentor over the head with a brick.
The PC seemed to think he would be OK, as we weren’t taking names in the data and he left his story. I was a bit worried as over the day we had about 20 visitors. Now usually we have a couple of hundred go through a booth at a wedding or something. So this looked terrible. But the Police Officers seemed over the moon at the response. I guess the client being happy was all that counted.
Looking back on the internet to see if there was anything mentioning the initiative, as it was back in about 2013, I discovered that the Northumberland Police force had actually posted a number of the video clips on Youtube.
They should be watched as some of them are heartbreaking.
I spent a considerable amount of time with the female police teams in the various towns we visited. At one location we had a fairly high ranking officer down. We were getting on really well when she received a phone call and told me she had to rush off. I did see her the next day and she explained that there had been an incident with a guy running amok with a knife. An officer had evidently tasered him, but unfortunately he had previously soaked himself in petrol. Seems that electricity and petrol soaked perpetrators turn into Roman candles pretty quickly.
The term Milkshake was first created in the 1880’s. They started out as an alcoholic beverage, similar to an eggnog type of drink with added whisky to the mix, this was served as both a treat and a strong adult tonic! Not quite the child friendly Milkshakes Galore we’re used to from McDonalds.
By the 1900’s milkshakes were being made the way we know today, a wholesome calcium drink with added chocolate, strawberry or vanilla syrups. People then started having the dessert drink with a side of added ice cream, and fast forward to 1930’s the drink was the ‘in thing’ to the students of the day and the milkshake galore era took off.
Mega Galore Milkshakes
Milkshakes are a very popular drink bursting with flavour. Many dessert places have now created fancy Mega Milkshakes . Full of chocolate bars and whipped cream, and other high calorie additions. I have to say it’s a lovely dessert but oh so many calories. Many popular flavors incorporate other desserts such as bananas, donuts and waffles a far cry from the first eggnog alcohol versions of condensed milk drinks.
Happily, our milkshakes are a fabulous treat, but far healthier than these mega shakes.
When making our milkshakes we use ice cold milk, a dollop or two of ice cream. Blended with flavored powder and a selection of treats such as a skittles, Oreo, twixs, areos and so much more!. Our blenders create the perfect texture without loosing the thick taste of an iconic milkshake.
One of our most popular attractions at events is our range of compact sidestall hire. With a range of Victorian games from the iconic traditional hook a duck and coconut shie. To modern treats such as mini basketball and knock the cans off the shelf. All of our games can be custom branded, as the examples here show on a recent job for Amazon.
Possibly the simplest game ever. Catch a duck to win. If you need to make it harder then we can mark some of the ducks as winners to reduce the odds. This is ideal for the kids but tends to be a bit simple for most adults.
This one adds a bit of skill into the mix, on the surface its quite simple, throw a ball into the bucket. However the catch is, the ball needs to stop in, harder than it sounds.
One of our more upto date games, throw a mini basketball into the hoop. If you want it a little harder make it 2 out of 3.
Another of the olde tyme favourites, knock a coconut off with a wooden ball. On some traditional fairgrounds the coconuts would be made out of either wood or metal painted to look like wood. Ours are actual coconuts so you have a chance of winning.
This one is a little different to the others. More of a traditional village game, it is oh so simple to play, but fiendishly difficult to win. The operator drops a toy rat down the drainpipe, as it shoots out of one pipe into the other you need to whack it with the bat. Thing is rats don’t really like being whacked. So as a result they move fast, like a, well, like a rat down a drainpipe. So you need to move like Jason Bourne to actually hit one.
Cans Off The Shelf
One of our harder games. Easy in concept, you just knock the cans off the shelf. But due to the weight of the cans, and the lightness of the balls, you need to really wind up and throw.
Ball In A Milk Churn
These fall in the mid range for difficulty. You just need to throw one of the baseballs into the top of the churn. We can adjust the throwing distance to make it easier or harder.
In line with the current situation we are all dealing with, all of our stalls come with hand sanitisation stations attached, allowing the players to ensure they remain safe from the virus. Additionally all of the surfaces on the stalls are treated with Zoono, 30 day anti microbial treatment, which actively destroys the virus on contact. This is to ensure that sidestall hire is offered safely for your event.
This is a tale of disaster and destruction caused by a close friend of mind who is a dead ringer for the grim reaper. Let me introduce Fred. Fred is is the sort of guy that if you had a problem would be the first there to help you. If he had a £1 and you needed it more than him he would let you have it.
He does however have a couple of issues. First is his propensity to eat. By eat, I don’t mean take enough calories in to survive. I mean eat like a garbage disposal machine on steroids. He once went with a family group to an Indian restaurant. The waiter came to Fred first, took his order then started to leave. When another guest asked the waiter where he was going he replied “To the kitchen with your order.” No mate, that is Fred’s order, the rest of the table want food as well.
Claim To Fame
For a time he had a minor claim to fame at Harry Ramsdens Fish and Chip shop in Hong Kong. It seems they had a challenge, eat their special fish and chip dish and you got it for free. So Fred being Fred was up for the challenge. When it arrived they reported that it was the size of a small shark. It was huge, with a pile of chips you could have used for mountaineering exercise, and enough mushy peas to fill the moat at the Tower of London.
The waiter explained the rules, you had a set amount of time to eat it, you couldn’t share it etc. When he asked Fred if there was anything else he needed to know Fred told him, “Yes, can I have some slices of bread and butter please as I am quite hungry.” Suffice it to say Fred demolished the dish and ended up with his picture on the wall.
A Modern Day Frank Spencer
Fred’s other trait, is that he is a combination of the grim reaper and Frank Spencer. Now if you are too young to remember Frank, check this video out. Basically he was what could charitably be described as an idiot. He meant well, and tried his best, but whatever he did would set off a chain reaction that ended up in chaos and mayhem.
When the Challenger space shuttle exploded, Fred was in America. He was somewhere in the region when the tsunami hit a few years back. And I have no doubt that once scientists get to the bottom of Covid 19, Fred will be a link in the chain, probably with something he ate.
I was once with him at a Masonic social event, when 2 buttons popped off of his shirt, flew across the table and hit a guy in the eye. He promptly turned and punched a neighbour because he though he had attacked him. That’s the sort of thing Fred can create without even trying.
Fred and His Rides
Anyway, Fred owns a couple of children’s funfair rides, and occasionally we contract him in for jobs. A couple of days after one such contract Fred rang to tell me he had encountered a problem on the job. Now, my standing instructions are that problems are to be reported to me as soon as they happen so that I can contact the client and try and sort it out, rather than them ringing me days later upset. So I immediately went into a rant, questioning the marital status of Fred’s parents when he was born, and introducing him to some other Anglo Saxon phrases. In between a pause for breath, Fred interjected that it hadn’t actually happened on the job. Good, that calmed me down a bit. What he said happened was, well I will let Fred tell you in his own words!
When I set off home in my transit van, towing the ride, the motorway was closed due to an accident, so my sat nav diverted me cross country. I was sat at a nice 60 mph, on a single carriageway road, when I hit a pheasant.
The said pheasant, was catapulted at high velocity, across the road, whereupon it happened to smack the lead rider, in a pair of cyclists, smack bang in the side of the head. He promptly disappeared over the edge of the road, and down a 20 ft embankment.
Now, I felt partially responsible for this state of affairs, so I pulled up to help him. Coming the other way, was a lovely elderly couple in a beautiful vintage car, that I later learnt from them, they had been 15 years restoring it to its current state. They also saw what had happened, and pulled up on the other side of the road.
I climbed down the bank with the other cyclist, his mate was a bit battered and shaky, his bike wheels were bent into weird shapes, so we helped him back up the bank, and then retrieved his bike.
The Incredible Hulk
The cyclist sat for a few minutes pulling himself together, then asked what had happened. I pointed at the pheasant, feebly twitching at the edge of the road and explained. The rider, stood up, then ran at the pheasant and booted across the road.
Straight into the path of a four door pick up truck. The driver instinctively swerved, and ran straight into the elderly couples vintage car. Turning it into a pile of parts scattered over a wide area.
As the pickup came to a stop, the door opened, and what can only be described as a white version of the incredible hulk unfurled himself from the interior. As he walked towards us all, he growled “I have just driven that out of the showroom, its my first ever brand new motor, I am on the way to show me mam, Where did that fu***ng bird come from?”
Deciding that I so wanted to continue living, I pointed at the cyclist, and said he kicked it. Mr Hulk, promptly hit him with a crashing right hand. That sent him over the edge and back down the embankment. He then proceeded to jump on the other cyclists bike in an attempt to create some modern art.
At this point I finally understood the phrase discretion is the better part of valour. Not wanting my initial part in the disaster to be brought up. I decided to test the acceleration of a transit van towing a ride to exit the area. Looking back as I set off, the second cyclist was clinging to the hulks neck, in a vain attempt to save his bike. The little old couple were sat crying by the roadside over their demolished car.
I don’t know why things like this keep happening to me!
Like most of the rest of the events industry, our previously full order book for 2020 disappeared literally overnight due to the pesky little microbe doing the rounds. Like all of our compatriots in the industry we sat and wondered if we would ever work again, and if so when. So when we suddenly started picking up bookings for August it was both a godsend and a worry.
A godsend obviously as we would be earning again. A worry about how things were going to be under the ‘new normal’ as it is being called. The first of the jobs to arrive was for a previously regular client, Amazon. Usually through the year we do a mixture of work ranging from handing out catering goodies during Prime and peak periods, to providing a full fairground for their summer barbeque.
The first job was giving popcorn out at one of the Northern fulfillment centres. We had done the same thing a number of times over the years at the same centre so usually this would be a nice easy repeat job. However after talking with the client and doing our own research we put together a package of anti Covid-19 measures.
The first change was to install clear polycarbonate screening on the carts we use to separate our staff from the guests. Although we could still interact with them to a degree, it did feel weird and somehow strangely disconnecting. Usually we engage in a bit of banter and joking, but this felt more ‘institutionalised.’
Zoono Anti Microbial
After researching most of the sanitisation options, we settled on Zoono. Not a cheap option, this bonds a film to the surface of whatever you spray it on that lasts for upto 30 days. The product actively kills virus molecules after application, rather than just during the cleaning process. For complete safety our standard operating procedure is to apply it at the start of each job. We also use their hand sanitiser, which creates a similar barrier on your hands, this time lasting for 24 hours.
Boris Says, Hands – Face – Space
The carts have a hand sanitiser mounted for the guests to use. We also built a number of portable units that can attach to hand rails, counters, carts, rides etc. This means that even when we are using sub contractors we can ensure that all the attractions we supply come with approved sanitisation facilities for the guests and staff.
To round off our anti Covid activities, we supply all of our staff with full face shields to help protect them and the guests from each other. These are far more comfortable to wear for extended periods of working than the little face masks that we tried. Well and truly back in the saddle
A few years ago I bought an impressive ornate drinks fountain from a guy in Norfolk. I went down in person to pick it up. After I had loaded it in my van I got talking to him and he suddenly burst into tears. Now comforting heartbroken men isn’t really my forte. But eventually through his sobs I made out that his wife was having an affair, and that she had left him with his four kids.
I was by this point looking for an exit strategy as I had a long drive home. I did however pause when he told me he wanted to sell the rest of the business, which consisted of two chocolate fountains, a popcorn machine, a large number of chair covers, and a large number of bookings.
“Oh I’ll keep my eye out on eBay for one of the fountains”I said.
“No, I want to sell the business as a going concern and I want £3000.”
“Done”, said I as I opened the back of the van to start loading my new business up.
I remember getting home and carrying everything into the kitchen. My wife came in and burst into tears looking at the mass of stuff.
The First Job
As we got used to operating the fountains, we eventually bought soup soup kettles, these were great for melting the chocolate, you could fill them up leave them on and they wouldn’t burn or thicken the chocolate too much. But on the first job we took a microwave to melt it in batches.
Anyway at the venue, the speeches etc were over running as these things tend to do. I was getting a bit anxious as never having done a chocolate fountain job before, I wanted the spare time in case of any problems. Eventually the manager told me I could set up. I whipped the fountain up in no time then started melting the chocolate.
As I finished the last batch I shoved the jug I had been using into the microwave. Unfortunately the jug still had a couple of napkins and a spoon in. As I closed the door the microwave sprang to life. I didn’t notice, but the spoon was creating sparks which set fire to the napkins.
Towering Inferno’s Little Brother
When I did notice, I grabbed it with the intention of running outside to dispose of it. As I picked it up and hugged it to myself, the hotel manager came into the room to talk to me about doing another event. So there I was stood, holding a sodding microwave that inside was rapidly turning into a mini towering inferno, whilst praying that smoke didn’t start coming out of the top whilst in front of the manager.
Eventually he finished and left me alone, I ran outside to empty the burning crap out only to see the entire wedding party stood outside whilst the main room was turned around.
FFS, I ended up opening the back of the van up and jumping in there, emptying the fire out on the floor and dancing around to stamp it out, a bit like the twisted firestarter song really.
I think time I stumbled out the van I was coughing from the smoke but otherwise fine. The manger and the guests never tumbled and we did a number of jobs in the same hotel.
The moral of the story is, its awfully easy to become the twisted firestarter, totally innocently lol.
Working For Queen Victoria. A lot of people think that corporate entertainment is a relatively new industry. The thinking seems to be that the big corporations are relatively young and so it follows that offering them entertainment services must be equally new.
Looking back through our records, one of our earliest private jobs, was provided entertainment to Queen Victoria at Windsor castle. Not me personally I hasten to add. But a couple of generations back in the family. The Millers had a sort of a cross between a circus performance and a variety show. What exactly Queen Vic thought of them isn’t on record anywhere. Hopefully they didn’t get the “We are not amused”, the Victorian era equivalent of no X’s on Britain’s Got Talent.
I also came across a picture dating from about 1926, of one of our vehicles that had been branded up for Thorne’s Toffees. I believe it was Henry Thorne & Co. Limited of Leeds, England. The bit of history I could find was;
“From humble beginnings in a mustard and chicory shop in the 1830s, Henry Thorne’s business grew into a leading name in confectionery. Them having similar Quaker roots to Cadbury, Terry and Fry; by the time the 1960s rolled around, the Thorne business was producing over two million pieces of confectionery a day.
This lasted until 1971 the business closed with the factory being demolished. Thornes, and their distinctive slogan The World’s Premier Toffee, had their factory in the middle of Leeds. Next to the old bus station – now wasteland being used as a car park.”
To be fair, most of these aren’t actual scams. A lot of them rely on people not actually reading the instructions. When I learnt to fly I had 9 written exams to take, and as I walked into the room for the first one, my instructor said “RTFQ”. Now I was once told that becoming a pilot, was learning lots of acronyms and learning how to manage a hangover. I had learnt the acronyms by that point but RTFQ was a new one. Turned out to be ‘Read The Fu***NG Questions’! Seems a lot of students rushed the exam and lost points simply for not understanding the paper. And I still have trouble with hangovers. So read on to learn about some of the common scams on funfair games.
This is more of a misconception than a scam. Anyone that shoots regularly, would spend time setting up the gun to suit both his requirements and the range they were shooting at. Guns on the gallery tend to be left set up the way they came out of the box.
A lot think that the sights are off or the barrel bent. Hmm, a bent barrel doesn’t fire round corners, it tends not to fire at all as the pellet gets stuck. As to the sights being set off, some operators do that. Thing is anyone who knows how to shoot would simply fire the first shot, see which way the pellet was off, and adjust their aim accordingly. Anyone who doesn’t know how to shoot will miss, regardless of where the sights are set to.
You know this game, you have to throw the ring over a wooden block with a prize on, if the ring goes completely over the block and lays flat on the table you win the prize.
Now, the first problem here, is that people don’t read the instructions, they think all you need to do is get the ring over the prize. Something Stevie Wonder could probably manage. They are seldom happy once you explain why they can’t have that expensive computer game they have just told their kid they won.
Another oft heard complaint, is “The rings don’t fit over the block.” Very quickly disproved as the game operator will demonstrate they do fit.
Where the scam comes into it, if that is the right word. Is that the blocks containing the lower value prizes, perhaps a box of chocolates or small teddy. Are actually slightly smaller than the ones with the big ticket items. You can actually win on any of them, but are far more likely to be successful on the cheap stuff.
One tip is to spin the ring as you throw it, if it catches the prize right it will tend to keep spinning and work its way down and around the block.
The darts used tend to be cheap, disposable type darts, with the tips blunted. To get them to stick in the board you will need to use more force than normal and that will affect you accuracy, though most of the professional operators will actually let you use your own darts, to stave off any claims of impropriety.
A common game is bust the balloon. A board full of balloons and all you need to do is bust one with a dart, easy peasy right. Sadly harder than you think. The darts are slightly blunt, and the balloons being only partially inflated have enough give to shrug off most darts hitting them.
Pick A Ticket
In earlier years, this tended to consist of a guy (or girl) holding a basket full of sealed tickets or spinning a tombola. You paid your money, picked your tickets out, opened them, and usually found you had a fist full of losers.
Trouble is, no one would put the winning tickets in a basket. It was just too random. Sods law would dictate that when the fair was full and you wanted someone to win, no one ever did. Just as the fair was closing for the night and was pretty much deserted, someone would have a last go and win the star prize.
Eventually the Dutch system was imported. This consisted of tickets with various numbers on. To win your numbers had to add up to 21. You could play multiple times and keep your tickets to make the magic number. Thing is, you needed an odd number to win, and these were in short supply.
However, in this game, the ‘dealer’ has packets of tickets pre prepared. He knows which packets have winning tickets in so can control when someone wins. You tend to find winners come thick and fast just as a crowd is beginning to form. Once there is a large crowd playing the game then winners come out at regular intervals to keep them interested, but it is a pretty well controlled stream of winners.
Win Me If You Lose
This is one which definitely falls into the RTFQ bracket.
What happens is you see a stall with massive prizes, and large signs saying you get me if you lose. So you rush over pays your £2, cos this is a no brainer, that big teddy must be worth £50 retail, and its only gonna cost me two quid.
You throw your darts, add the numbers up and yay, you are a winner. As you sit back basking in the glory of showing your friends you are one of life’s winners, the girl in the stall hands you a keyring.
WTF. Before you explode you should really read the rules. You do in fact get the super big teddy if you lose. Trouble is you haven’t lost. The sign doesn’t say that winners get better prizes than losers. All the operator has done really, is swapped the scores around. To actually lose the game is very very difficult. SO virtually everyone wins, and gets the little prize.
The thing to bear in mind is basic common sense. No business can afford to continually swap £2 for £50 prizes. If it looks too good to be true, then it is most certainly going to be.
A variation on this are games like the hook a duck stall. You rarely win the big prize, but you can save your smaller wins up and exchange them. You really do need to work out how much something is going to cost you before you get carried away in the excitement of the day.
There are many games on the fairground that give you the chance to win large prizes, but you must expect them to be difficult, or need a decent level of skill. At the end of the day, the stalls are all small businesses, and to stay in business they must take more money than the prizes, rent, fuel, insurance etc cost. So as a rule the bigger the prize, the harder it is to win. A walk around any major fair such as say Hull fair or Nottingham Goose fair, will see dozens of people carrying huge prizes, so it is possible to win them, but just use a little common sense.
If you want to hire funfair games without the scam, no probs, get in touch.
We have undertaken a multitude of events, from christenings to weddings, corporate parties to sales promotions. One of the things which makes this business so enjoyable is the fact that pretty much everyday, you are somewhere different, doing something different. This one lead to something really profound.
A few years ago we were contacted to supply an espresso coffee cart to an event somewhere down south. When we arrived and set up, it was in a large marquee. There was a nice gentleman in the structure who we got talking to. When we enquired as to what the event actually was, it turned out to be his daughters funeral! She was known for her love of coffee, hence us being there.
She was only a young girl, about 23 or so if I remember correctly. But in that few years, she had undertaken missionary work, acquired her HGV licence, climbed mountains, and had been working as a paramedic.
The sad story behind her demise, was that on the day of her grandfathers funeral, she hadn’t turned up. When they went to her flat to see why, she was laid in bed and had sadly passed away. It turns out she had a sort of adult cot death syndrome, no actual cause for her passing was found at the post mortem.
There were various pictures of her exploits around the marquee. And in one corner was a plaque with these words;
Whatever we do in this life will be insignificant. But its important that we do it anyways.
I think that is one of the most profound statements I have ever read, coming I believe from Mahatma Gandhi.
Its 23rd July National Hot Dog Day. Hot diggety dog, or should we say dogs. That staple of fast food, beloved at stadiums around the world.
Our American cousins eat an estimated 20 billion a year. Whilst we don’t eat anywhere near that, they are an increasingly popular option on menu’s throughout the UK.
Frankfurt-am-Main in Germany is traditionally credited with originating the Frankfurter. Though this is in contention, by the claim that the “little-dog” sausage was invented by a certain Johann Georghehner, a butcher from Coberg in Germany. Whatever the true origin, in 1893 they became standard fare at baseball stadiums in the States. This tradition is believed to have been started by a St. Louis bar owner, Chris Von de Ahe, who was a German immigrant and owner of the St. Louis Browns major league baseball team.
The world’s biggest hot dog measured 669ft.
The New Gourmet Hot Dog Food
Like the humble burger before it, frankfurters are undergoing something of a Renaissance over here, being elevated to gourmet fare with upmarket ingredients and toppings.
We offer a range of hot dog cart hire for your events. With basic hot dogs, chilli dogs, and even the American corn dogs, which are basically hot dog sausages inside a waffle on a stick.
However you like your, happy national hot dog day!