A short case study about our support for the 100% Club scheme.
About 4 or 5 years ago we supplied a single ride, a Carousel to a school in Leeds. This carried on for about three years, until they suddenly expanded the booking and starting reserving multiple rides and catering.
It turns out that they were running a 100% club. Any kid that had a 100% attendance record for that term would be entitled to spend a period of time at the mini funfair they had booked.
Suddenly we started receiving requests from other schools for the exact same thing. Turns out they were all part of an academy group of schools. We now provide attractions regularly to something like 9 different schools. This ranges from the latest thrill rides to things like burger and chips.
Talking to some of the teachers, it seems that they had posted an increase in average attendance at the schools running the scheme.
The Health and Safety team at the schools were pretty fierce at the first events, and had us jumping through hoops. Gradually they seemed to relax a little and adopt an attitude of suggesting slight improvements where necessary, rather than making a big issue of it. I think the fact that we put so much effort into doing things right, coupled with us making changes as soon as they request them, helped a lot.
Many of the funfairs around the world have a long and storied history. Some started as feast days, other ‘hirings’ where able bodied men presented themselves for potential work.
Today’s post is the world famous Hamburg Dom, which dates from the 11th Century. The whole shebang started when the old Mariendom cathedral was used as a shelter by the local merchants and entertainers. This was a tradition which lasted centuries, until the cathedral was demolished in 1804.
The merchants remained ‘homeless’ until 1893 when a new location was found for them in the Heiligengeistfeld event space in St Pauli district.
The name Dom is the only link to the days in the old Cathedral or ‘Dom’ in German.
Originally a winter market was held on the site. In the 30’s a spring market was added to help ease local merchants through the economic crisis. Post World War 2 a summer market was introduced as well.
Nowadays Hamburg DOM is the largest fair in Northern Germany and the longest running in the country with three seperate 30 day events. Like many modern events the fair is primarily a fun fair with a huge selection of modern rides, games and food outlets, over 200 in all, definitely putting up around the top of the major European events.
The events have a tradition that Wednesday’s are family days, where special rates are on offer for kids. Every Friday night they offer hugh firework displays.
The summer DOM hosts rainbow day, to coincide with Pride week, including a separate parade through the fairground.
Like many European fairs, food is a big part. Hamburg being known for Schmalzkuchen, it’s famous fried bite sized doughnuts, also roast almonds, currywurst and sauerkraut.
Over 60 stalls serving these treats along with the usual fare of coffee, candy floss etc. Oh, and one major difference between the UK and European funfairs, is that they tend to serve beer, mulled wine and other alcoholic beverages.
Our crazy golf has been a big hit this season. We have however been inundated with requests for a more ‘wedding’ themed layout. We finally got around to putting together our initial wedding course for a client. Pictured here are our initial wedding crazy golf 9 holes. Like most things we will modify and adapt this at it evolves and we come up with better ideas.
Slalom the love letters, around the rotating wedding shoes, miss the stacked hearts and then into the birdcage. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
The iconic symbol of love is the heart. And we have lots of them, in various shades. Throw in a bouquet or two and you have our second hole.
Hole 3…Ducks Of Love
Our classic rubber duck hole. Through the ducks of love, avoid the funfair shooting gallery ducks, then up the ramp and into the bath.
Hole 4…Let Them Eat Cake
An important part of the day. The wedding cake. A selection of cakes, with fun toppers.
Hole 5….Make A Wish
Through the wishing well, dodge the windmill, and into the hole. On a role now.
Hole 6…Diamond Geezer
Dodge the diamond solitaire. Loop the loop of the engagement ring, up the bridge and into the hole.
Hole 7…Lucky Horseshoes
Lots of luck here, horseshoes galore.
Hole 8…Can The Can
The classic wedding cans attached to the back of cars as the happy couple flee the scene.
Hole 9…Mr & Mrs
The final hurdle, through the wedding party of skittles, slalom the happy couple (Which can be Mr & Mr or Mrs & Mrs) and up the ramp to the finish. Bobs your Uncle.
Of course you don’t have to have our wedding crazy golf for your event. You can just as easily have one of our multi themed golf courses.
One of our favourite games, which is lately seeing something of a resurgence. Easily playable by both young and old, it has something for everyone. Let’s take a quick look at the history of crazy golf.
The game has various names around the world, including mini golf, midget golf, goofy golf, and putter golf. The last name probably being the most accurate as the game is basically the putting part of its parent game.
Golf proper, has a long history. Mention is made of King James II banning the game as it distracted his archers from their practise. Happily James IV decided to repeal the ban for the good reason that he liked playing the game.
There are ancient examples of a similar game being played as far back as 8th Century China, though no doubt if written history existed there may well as been cavemen who likes whacking stones around with their clubs.
Like many things there isn’t a definite ‘inventor’ of the mini golf game. Our Victorian forebears, with their great fear of mixing the genders, dedicated a putting green annex for female players at the famous St Andrews course.
Artificial courses, with obstacles began to emerge during the first part of the 20th Century. The Illustrated London News documented a course in it’s 8th June 1912 edition, called Gofstacle.
Across The Pond
In America, where else, the first mass produced mini golf courses were designed. The first of note was christened ‘Thistle Du’ anc built in Pinehurst North Carolina in 1916.
1927 saw a huge step forward when Garnet Carter created a suitable artificial green made from sand, oil, dye and cottonseed hulls that had been invented by Thomas Fairbairn, a cotton plant owner.
This allowed the game to be installed anywhere, indeed by the late 20’s there were an estimated 150 roof top courses in New York City alone. With tens of thousands across the States. At one point it’s estimated that 2 million people a day were playing the game. The course designed by Garnet was sold as a starter kit for $4500 (about $75,000 now) for which you received the obstacles, equipment and layout design.
Sadly, like many booming industries, mini golf was virtually wiped out across the States by the great depression.
On The Continent
Across the channel, the first documented course was built by a Herr Schroder in Hamburg, Germany. Being inspired from a course he played on a visit to America.
In fact like many modern trends, the game spread out from the USA. The Norman brothers returned to Sweden from there, and promptly formed the company of Norman och Norman Miniatyrgolf, selling a standardised course across Sweden.
The Swedish Minigolf Federation was founded in 1937 and remains the oldest minigolf organisation in the World, with national championships being played since 1939.
The Americans of course commercialised the game, with the first national competition being held in 1930, with a top prize of $2000 equivalent to around $30,000 today.
Mini Golf Obstacles
By the end of the 30’s the familiar obstacles such as windmills and buildings were being added to the game, making it much more like what we consider crazy golf to be nowadays. Many of these were introduced by Joseph and Robert Taylor, two brothers from New York. Many customers and competitors asked if they would build obstacles for them. In the early 1940’s the brothers formed a company to supply the industry.
Even the U.S. military bought from them. Shipping a number of prefabricated courses overseas during the Korean and Vietnam wars. For the troops to use during rest and relaxation periods.
Courses in Europe and the U.K. tended to use tennis field sand bordered by wooden frames as a playing surface. The Americans used the newly developed felt materiel. Being far superior due to its ability to allow water to pass through. Meaning it could be used in inclement weather.
Towards the end of the 1950’s virtually all suppliers carried Taylor Brothers obstacles making them an industry standard. Throughout the 50’s these had been developed to include obstacles with spinning blades and such that required not only accuracy but split second timing.
Modern Mini Golf
Nowadays the game is governed by the World Minigolf Federation, based in Goteborg Sweden. Organising World Championships for everything from kids through to elite players.
There are a number of standardised courses approved by them allowing comparisons for players around the world. The current world record for one round of 18 hole minigolf is 18 strokes. More than a thousand players achieving this score. It should be noted that virtually all of these are on a playing surface made from eternite a fibre cement product. The more popular felt courses seem to be more difficult to play with far fewer players managing a perfect score.
Some Crazy, Crazy Golf Courses
Ahlgrim Funeral Home
Below a Chicago Funeral home is a course designed to allow mourners to take their minds off bereavement. Along with arcade machines and videogames.
New Brighton Championship Course
This course contains replicas of a number of different famous championship holes from the Island Green 17th at TPC Sawgrass or the 18th at St Andrews.
Glow In The Dark Golf
A course in the Netherlands came up with the wacky idea for a glowing golf course. It also has the added quirk of being an adventure story, as completing the holes give you the clues you need to rescue a kidnapped singer.
Holy Crazy Golf Course
This one not only improves your golf score, but saves your soul. Designed around stories from the bible with holes such as Jonah and whale, or Moses and Mount Sinai. You can visit it at the Lexington Centre in Kentucky U.S.A. (where else).
Another wacky themed course. You are a survivor of an airplane crash. You use your rescued golf clubs to put your way through various survival scenarios to reach the rescue helicopter at the end. See it at Myrtle Beach South Carolina.
This entry if from the artist Doug Fishbone. He wanted to draw attention to the plight of migrants, refugees and police brutality. So he pulled together a course of political statements.
The history of crazy golf is littered with examples of weird and wacky golf themes. Really the game is a blank canvas and you can have anything you like.
Most people will have visited a fairground. Played on the games and lost, and been absolutely convinced the games are cons. The truth is, the vast majority aren’t. They are set up to be difficult, and favour the operator. But they are not set up as charities, the operator needs to take more than he pays out.
Bear in mind the following;
According to the National Lottery website, the odds of winning the major prizes are: Lotto jackpot: 1 in 45,057,474. EuroMillions jackpot: 1 in 139,838,160
Yet no one considers them to be con tricks.
Before we look at shooting galleries there is one thing to understand. The size of the prize on offer is directionally proportional to the difficulty of winning it. Look, if a giant teddy costs the operator £20 wholesale, he needs to earn at least £20 to cover the cost of it. But it doesn’t stop there. There is also the costs of transporting the game to the fair, insuring it, paying for it, paying the ground rent, the diesel for the power generator, ammunition for the guns, maintenance and so on. Realistically before giving out a £20 prize, I would be looking at a minimum of £100 takings to ensure I actually earn something. So if it’s £2 per game, you would expect on average to try 50 times before winning.
Pellets Or Corks
There are two main types of shooting galleries. The traditional air rifles firing pellets, and those firing corks. When it comes to corks there isn’t much help we can offer, use the gun like a shotgun, point it in the general direction and hope for the best
. There is a reason that no army in the world uses cork shaped bullets, and it’s this, corks are not aerodynamic, they start to tumble in random directions as soon as they leave the barrel of the gun. That’s why the army uses, well, bullet shaped bullets.
Now, on the pellet shooters there are some tips that can increase your chances to win, so let’s look at some of the myths you think are stopping you winning.
The Barrel Is Bent
Erm, no it really isn’t. Contrary to popular belief a bent barrel doesn’t make the gun fire somewhere different to where it is aimed. It just doesn’t fire at all as the pellet will jam in the barrel. The gun below with a bent barrel does actually fire around corners, but it a special weapon built especially to do that.
The Sights Are Off
Again no. Well, some probably are, but here is the thing. Military snipers are some of the best marksmen in the world. They spend hour upon hour firing thousands of rounds to hone their skills. They do however tend to use a personalised weapon. When they go into battle, they use the actual gun they have been practising with all this time. The reason being that guns can have minor differences in aim caused by manufacturing tolerances, scope mounts etc. The sniper will spend time zeroing in his/her weapon to their own specifications. They also tend to be set up for a particular range. What you wouldn’t expect them to do, is pick up a totally strange weapon and fire with the same accuracy.
So to win on a funfair shooter, you are going to have to do two things. The first is have more than one attempt. You will need at least one to sort the aim out.
Another major issue is that most people don’t actually know how to use the open sights on a rifle. Sure they watched all the war movies, and in their own minds they are all Carlos Hathcock, (A top US sniper in case you didn’t know, his life story can be found in this great article), but they really don’t know how to shoot. We can usually tell if a player knows how to handle a gun from his second shot. The first one might be off, but the following shots are usually on target.
They do this by using a technique called aiming off. What you do is take a shot at the bullseye, or whatever the target is. You then pause to see where it has impacted. Lets say for a moment that the shot hit 5mm above where you aimed and 10mm to the right. What you would do on your following shots is aim off by the same amount, ie. aim 5mm lower and 10mm to the left. This should bring you back on target.
Using this will give you a reasonable amount of accuracy and vastly improve your chances of winning on shooting galleries.
During the crazy Covid lockdown, we have used the time to revamp and renew many of our games and catering services. The latest to undergo this revamp was our Crazy Golf, designed for events.
We not only revamped all the actual holes, but vastly increased the number of props on each to provide a different theme on each hole.
Hole 1 Shiver Me Timbers
First up is our Jolly Roger hole, a Pirate themed course with a shipwreck, olde worlde cannon, flags and captains hat.
Hole 2 Ducky, Ducky, Ducky
One of our favourites, hole 2 is ducks, lots of them, rubber ones to be precise. With historical characters such as Churchill, Trump, Bojo and more. Past the fairground shooting targets and up the ramp into the actual water bath with floating hook a ducks.
Hole 3 Lego World
Lego, possibly the greatest toy of all time, we have taken it and made it large. Super large in fact, with lego men heads, and giant sized bricks.
Hole 4 Mr & Mrs
Mr & Mrs, or here come the bride, a single wedding themed crazy golf hole. Though if it is a wedding you are booking for then we offer a full 9 hole wedding course.
Hole 5 Match Of The Day
Match of the day, our football themed penalty shot hole. Straight up the course into the goal for a hole in one.
Hole 6 Countryfile
A day on the country in a golf hole. Windmills, houses, cows and pigs.
Hole 7 Spooky Towers
Skulls, headstones and a mini mother in law, sorry I mean gremlin. A touch of Hammer House Of Horror
Hole 8 Don’t Mention The War
Two of the legends of WW2, the German heavy Tiger 1 tank and the American Sherman. Classed as a light tank, they regularly slugged it out on battlefields.
Hole 9 Don’t Clown Around
Crazy Golf For Events Of Any Kind
Crazy clowns, noses, boots and a big clowns face, a cheerful hole to finish the course off.
Whether you need crazy golf for events, crazy golf for a corporate event, a private party or a wedding, we have a course to suit. For really special jobs, sales promotions or exhibitions we can even design and build a totally custom themed course.
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.
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.