Category: General

Catering, Event Planning, Fun Story, General

Crazy Catering Units From Around The World

25 June 2021

At one time, catering units, be they on the fairgrounds or at private events, tended to be basically a box. Nowadays however there are some really crazy catering units available, so that not only are you getting great food, you also get a centrepiece for your event.

We are going to take a look at some of the craziness out there, ranging from pizza’s being dispensed by fire engines, to something that looks like its driven straight off the set of Mad Max.

MAXImus MiniMUS

This is definitely one of our favourites. Resembling some post apocalyptic street food vendor that wouldn’t look out of placing serving a burger to Mad Max himself. Build to resemble a pig, with a snout and ears, it was built in 2009 for Kurt Beecher Dammeier, it took its name from the two ranges of food it served, one with a heavy sauce (MAXImus) and a lighter range (MiniMUS). Sadly from what we can see it appears to have closed down in 2017

Baby’s Badass Burgers

We love this concept, though with the way things seem to be going we are surprised it hasn’t been protested. Set up by an ex restaurateur and an event planner, this has a definite attractive lady vibe. With burger names such as Cover Girl, The Other Woman, She’s Smoking and The Good Wife, and Burger ‘Babes’ (attractive female serving staff), to spread the burger goodness. The company now has a number of franchised operations outside of it’s home of Los Angeles, so obviously it works well.

Snog Yoghurt

A natural frozen yoghurt dessert, sweetened with agave nectar and under 140 calories. What’s not to like. So when you need your first mobile store what immediately springs to mind. It’s obvious isn’t it, an ex London A.E.C. Routemaster bus. Built by a company specialising in luxury bus conversions, the original Snog bus opened in London’s Southbank in 2014.

Military Pizza Truck

Built into a 6 wheel drive, ex military truck, this is another candidate for catering in the Mad Max era. This one is kitted out as a pizza truck, but maintains it’s military colour scheme and feel. It’s also available for pretzels, popcorn and various other dessert options.

Space Shuttle Cafe

This one is an extreme conversion. TBH, I can’t see you getting this past the DVLA in this country. It is built to resemble the space shuttle, but it’s not a converted commercial vehicle as you would expect, no sir, this one is an actual Douglas DC-3 airplane fuselage, that has been fitted with running gear and an engine. It has a commercial kitchen and rest room built in.

Pizza Fire Engine

This is one of our favourites, so much so that we are actually carrying out a feasibility study to see if it’s something we can emulate for our own range of catering options. There are a number of versions plying their catering trade, including a couple of examples in good old Blighty. We particularly like the Company 77 effort, with a working water cannon (good for keeping the queue in order) and a photo booth built into the jump seat.

Airstream Catering Units

Originally built as caravans designed in America in the 1930’s. The sleek shape and highly polished aluminium finish is unmistakable. A number of companies make similar models, but Airstream is the oldest. For decades NASA used a modified Airstream trailer to transport astronauts to the launch pad. They have become increasingly popular for use as catering units both in the States and Europe.

Artisan Strawberries

Another one we really like the look of, we think it might be the shiny metallic finish, its just sooo nice. Dispensing the classic British summertime treat of strawberries and cream, along with bubbly for good measure. How can you go wrong.

Westport Flea Market Burger Van

Not strictly a burger van, this is more of a promotional item to advertise the Flea market Bar and Grill. But we included it just because of the sheer quirkiness, and the work that has gone into it.

Westport Flea Market Bar & Grill

Snowcat Burritos

If you happen to be skiing in the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, in Sierra Navada, and you are hungry. Then you are in luck, as they have a burrita stall built into an actual snowcat. Well, they actually have two, one serving burritos and the other Calzones. They are also planning to add churros with strawberries and cream.

Keep checking back as we will add more examples as we come across them.

General

Maserati Quattroporte, Sometimes You Need To Treat Yourself

21 June 2021

Over the years I have owned some crap cars. I remember a little Nissan Cherry, it wasn’t actually mine, my dad bought it as a second car, but it was that clapped out that my mam wouldn’t travel in it, so I sort of got left to use it at will. It ended up being in a 6 car pile up near the Metro Centre in the North East, so that was that.

Gradually over time, as business got better I ended up with a Jaguar X-type estate. I loved that car, but Ian, one of our event managers blew the engine up when I lent him it to go to London to see his girlfriend. Funnily enough he also blew the engine up in our mini camper van, and one of the London taxi cabs.

Dream Car

Over the years I always had a hankering for a Maserati Quattroporte. I think it is one of the most beautiful saloon cars ever made. The fact that it is a true four door 5 seater makes it an ideal family car, and the 440HP engine, limited slip diff and active suspension means it can hold its head up with many a performance car.

Eventually my wife got sick of me nagging about wanting one, and I convinced her we could also hire it out as a wedding car, so eventually she gave in and we acquired a gun metal grey version with black and cream leather interior. It was the executive version, with massaging, heated, cooled rear seats that also reclined. A nice touch, but to be honest one I never took advantage of as I always drove.

Grey Maserati Quattroporte
My First Maserati Taking My Daughter To The Prom

I owned that car for three years and loved it as much at the end of them as I did at the beginning.

Now, my wife isn’t one to swap a car in that is running OK, so imagine my surprise when she announced one day, “I think you should go and look for a new Maserati”. I was worried she had suffered an unnoticed anurism or was having a breakdown but she seemed fine. Looking back I had just received my pilots licence, so I think now, it was me mentioning I fancied a share in a small Cessna aeroplane, that got her thinking once I swapped my car in, it was an excuse to put me off an aeroplane for a few years.

Quattroporte 2

I ended up speccing the new model Quattroporte in Nero black with full black leather interior. It seemed a good idea at the time. The colour is absolutely fabulous, deep black, with large flecks of colour. When the sun hits it, it looks sublime. Unfortunately you would need to be cleaning it 24/7 to keep it looking that way. I have spent hours washing and polishing it to a gleam. Withing 30 seconds of hitting the road it looks like its been neglected for months.

Maserati Number 2 in black
Maserati 2

For anyone thinking of buying their dream car all I can say is do it. Mine is totally impractical. I have had it as low as 3 m.p.g. on twisty roads with my foot down, heck it will pass anything on the road except a fuel station. Things like tyres and consumables are an arm and a leg and last about half as long as any other car I have owned. It is so big it doesn’t fit in parking bays. My wife hates it. But I don’t care, once I get in, fire it up and push the sports mode button, the engine roars, sounding like a symphony of angels, floor the accelerator and it pushes you back in your seat, and all is right with the world.

Event Planning, Fun Story, funfair events, Funfair Rides, General

Eli Bridge, A Manufacturer Profile

28 February 2021

Next up in our ongoing series of amusement ride manufacturer profiles, is the long established American company of Eli Bridge.

The founder W.E. Sullivan visited the original Ferris Wheel at the Columbian Exposition in 1893. He (like George Washington Gale Ferris) owned a bridge building company. After his ride he became fascinated by the ride and decided to build one of his own. In collaboration with the machinist James H Clements they began construction of their own wheel.

This debuted in Jacksonville’s Central Park and was called the Big Eli Wheel. The ride was a success and Sullivan set up a company to manufacture his wheels.

Their first wheels were powered by 6h.p. huber steam engines and came in two sizes, 45ft portable models and 50ft park based designs. There was also a 55ft ‘Aristocrat’ model.

Early Example Of A Wheel
Early Example Of A Wheel

The company was originally located in Roodhouse, Illinois, next to a railway track, allowing for easy distribution around the country. In 1919 a new purpose built building was erected in Jacksonville, also next to the railroad. The company has been there ever since. It’s 76,000 sq ft facility contains a room tall enough to erect a big wheel in.

Modern Eli Bridge Rim Drive Wheel Available For Hire
Modern Eli Bridge Rim Drive Wheel

Modern Eli Bridge Wheels

The company still produces wheels to this day. A modern Eli Bridge, is, truth told, little changed from the earlier models. Sure, there is no doubt the construction will use moderner materials and methods. But the look and feel of the ride definitely contains the same DNA. That isn’t meant as a criticism. The fact is the early formula worked well, and still works well, so why change it?

One major change is the drive system. For generations, the wheel used a wire rope, that passed through a pulley which was rotated by an electric motor. The system worked fine, and still does as hundreds of wheels around the world continue its use. It did however have a couple of disadvantages. The rope gradually stretched, and as it did the drive began to slip. Murphy’s law would dictate this happened just as you got busy. The other failure was when the rope snapped. A sensible operator would keep a spare, and could change it relatively quickly, but it is still inconvenient and would lose you revenue.

Big Wheel Wire Drive
Big Wheel Wire Drive

Rim Drive

To counter the wire rope issues, the company has now switched to rim drive systems. This works by attaching a flat rim to one side of the ride. An electrically driven wheel would contact the rim and as it rotated, would rotate the ride. No slipping or snapping and a much more precise regulation of the speed available from a modern inverter driven control system.

Modern Rim Drive System
Modern Rim Drive System

Scrambler A New Chapter

1955 brought a new chapter for the company, with the launch of its Scrambler ride, the first non wheel addition to its portfolio. Known over here as a ‘Twist’ the ride took the American amusement industry by storm, and is still prevalent at funfairs around the world today, albeit in many versions from many different manufacturers.

Traditional Eli Bridge Scrambler, or Twist
Traditional Eli Bridge Scrambler, or Twist

Other Products

They also sell a couple of children’s rides, including the quirky Spider Mania, to which I can’t really find a comparable ride in the UK.

Spider Mania

A line of fire pits for camping expeditions and Boy Scout troops round off the companies product list.

. One quirky fact is that the word Bridge was deliberately left in the company name, so that they could still build bridges, their original business model. Though records indicate that since they started selling wheels, they have only actually built one bridge.

Check out our profile of Fabbri the Italian manufacturer.

Fun Story, Funfair Rides, General

Power Generators And The Decline Of British Industry

20 February 2021

With funfairs being a travelling industry, it’s fairly obvious that rides and such like cannot be connected to a fixed electricity supply. The answer is portable generators.

In the very early days, these tended to be steam powered. The traction engines used to transport the rides could have the drive belts disconnected and switched to dynamo’s to provide the 110v direct current supply used at the time.

As things progressed, and diesel powered lorries took over from the steam engines. A similar system was put into place. The drive shaft from the gearbox to the driving axle on the vehicle could be disconnected. A pulley was then attached to the output of the gearbox and drive belts used to drive a dynamo. With progress, the power source slowly began to gravitate towards 240v alternating current, same as powers a house.

I am 50, and can just barely remember helping my dad ‘drop the shaft’. Basically this was disconnecting the propshaft, dropping it to the ground and connecting the drive belts, a ritual at every fairground.

The ultimate evolution was the switch to dedicated generators. A totally separate engine and alternator or dynamo, or sometimes both piggy backed. These tended to have a more regulated speed control designed to keep the engine running at optimum speed for power generation.

Typical Modern Generator Set
Typical Modern Generator Set

Gardner Engines

A British manufactured engine rapidly became a firm favourite to power these gensets. Built by a Manchester based firm called L.Gardner & Sons.

Originally a sewing machine maker, they moved into gas engines around 1895, then into the new fangled diesel engines in 1903. Their initial engines tended to be for marine use. In 1929 they fitted an engine into a Lancia bus. This was such a success that they ended up introducing a new range titled LW, geared towards on road use.

4LW Engine
4LW Engine

Gradually they grew to provide power for many of the existing lorry manufacturers throughout the UK, and also licensed the design to Dutch manufacturer Kremhout, Belgian makers FN and Miesse and French manufacturers Bernard and Latil . A larger range was introduced to power diesel locomotives, and things were good for the company as they became the world’s leading exporter of diesel engines.

A number of things were noticeable about their designs. Their thermal efficiency (how much energy was converted to actual power output as opposed to heat) was a shade over 40%. To put this into perspective, state of the art computer controlled engines in the 2010’s managed to hit 43%, a mere 3% improvement over a design 80 years old, and currently around 50% is as good as it gets.

Legendary Reliability

The other stunning achievement was the unparalleled reliability. A huge number of Gardner’s are still in use around the globe. From powering junks in Hong Kong harbour, to fishing boats in the 3rd world, to lorries in Africa. The marquee became a byword for long lasting trouble free use. In part the formula of a large engine working lightly meant the components were all relatively unstressed.

The crankshaft also benefited from not only being secured vertically, as was normal, but also being horizontally braced. This gave the bottom end of the engine tremendous strength, and warranty claims for failure in this area were virtually unheard of.

A Gardner Engined Locomotive
A Gardner Engined Locomotive

Fall Of A Legend

Sadly, like many industries in the UK, Gardner’s were doomed to a decline and eventual demise. During the 70’s other manufacturers gradually increased the power output of their offerings. Gardner, controlled by Hugh Gardner stubbornly refused to follow. Whilst virtually every other manufacturer was adding turbochargers to provide more oomph, Hugh insisted on keeping his engines naturally aspirated. As gross weights steadily increased, more power was needed, and Gardner just couldn’t keep up.

When they eventually developed a turbocharged range it was too little too late. Cummins Engines of America were selling a 10 litre engine outputting 325 horse power. Gardners closest option was the massive 15.6 litre LYT that managed 350 HP, but had the inherent drawbacks of an engine of that size being heavier and thirstier on fuel, the opposite of Gardner’s traditional strengths..

The Last Of The Gardners, The Mighty 6LYT
The Last Of The Gardners, The Mighty 6LYT

Adding to the typical stunningly poor decision making of British upper management, the offer to take over Rolls Royce engine division to broaden their portfolio was turned down. Additionally they reached a point where there was a 2 year waiting list for engines to be supplied for new lorries. Perhaps an agreement with another manufacturer to licence build them could have alleviated this. Whatever the main cause, eventually they just lost too much sales volume and with the advent of Euro 1 emissions regulations they were closed down.

Midget Submarines

One novel use of the Gardner engine, was the smaller 4LK model. Fitted into the Royal Navy’s X-class midget submarines. These were used to cripple the German battleship Tirpitz.

X-25 One Of The Midget Submarines
X-25 One Of The Midget Submarines
Event Planning, Fun Story, funfair events, Funfair Rides, General

Future 4 Fairgrounds

8 February 2021

The equality for women movement has existed for a long time in this country. Logically there isn’t a viable argument to be made for not treating them as equal. OK, there are some niche items, usually involving brute strength where an average man is stronger than an average woman, but I can’t really think of much else.

On the fairground however, things are very different. Women have pretty much been the equal of their men folk, well, forever. Heck, who am I kidding, most of the time they are leading from the front. It’s one of the few industries where the business is usually a genuinely equal partnership between the sexes.

Global Pandemic

As you will see, his was illustrated perfectly when the Covid-19 crisis struck.

Funfairs, like much of the entertainment industry was closed down, and received little in the way of government support.

A few showmen managed to provide some local funfairs, but in many cases, even though the government gave the go ahead for this, the local authorities refused to play ball and promptly closed them down.

True to form, the showmen (and women ) immediately pivoted into a myriad of other lines of work. From delivering parcels to baking cakes to making garden furniture, they needed to feed their families and so just got stuck in.

Showmen’s Guild

Our trade organisation the ‘Guild’ as it is popularly known, has come in for a lot of flak during this time. It is commonly felt that they have neither done enough, nor been seen to be doing enough.

For the former, it’s a debatable point. I am sure that plenty has been going on behind the scenes. However they haven’t done a very good job of communicating this to the members.

When it comes to pushing our case to the wider world, it has to be said that our industry hasn’t been particularly visible either in the traditional media, or just as importantly, on social media.

Step Forward The Ladies

In an attempt to remedy this, a group of ladies from within the industry have decided to step up and take the matter into their own hands. Forming a campaign group known as “Future 4 Fairgrounds”, they have began a PR campaign to try and focus a spotlight upon the plight of our industry.

Future 4 Fairgrounds logo
Future 4 Fairgrounds

They have made excellent use of social media, which, in this day and age is just as important as the traditional media outlets. From regular Facebook posts, to some professionally produced videos on Youtube, there has been a marked increase in our industries online presence.

Coupled with this have been regular appearances of the F4F banners, at various events around the country. Many street fairs have been cancelled due to the crises. At a few, a token children’s rides have attended to maintain the link to the fairs charter. Quite often the ride has proudly sported a banner publicising our plight to the public.

A range of car stickers were also produced and have turned up in some surprising places.

Facebook

Their campaign has been a brilliant addition to publicising our industries plight. The Facebook page at Future4Fairgrounds is fast becoming a valuable resource. Showing just what is happening around the country regarding the funfair industry. The ladies appear to be building some valuable links with M.P.’s and other influential organisations.

Like many traditional industries, ours is going to look very different coming out of the crisis. It’s arguable how much longer we can deal with being totally closed without any help. A lot of showmen may well never get started back up.

Initiatives like the F4F group are going to be more important than ever as we enter the second year of Covid. So good luck ladies, and keep flying high.

Fun Story, funfair events, General

Abandoned Spreepark

12 December 2020

Spreepark is a derelict amusement park located on the outskirts of Berlin, abandoned and eerie. It has been abandoned for over 10 years. Throughout the park you can find remains of children’s rides and game stalls as well as life size dinosaur statues. The park was originally created and set in 1969 and was called Veb Kulturpark Planterwald. Set up by the Communist government in East Berlin. The park thrived throughout the communist era until the fall of the Berlin wall 20 years later.

In 1991 Norbet Witte took over the park and renamed it ‘Spreepark’. Making many changes he transformed the amusement park, adding grass and water landscapes and bringing a line of new modern rides from the Mirapolis amusement park in Paris. Mr Witte changed the park numerous times and even added an English village. However it later came out that Norbet Witte was a controversial park manager and was involved in illegal activities such as smuggling cocaine, which he achieved by hiding it in parts of ride equipment that he shipped between Peru, Germany and Belgium. Due to this information surfacing the park was closed down in 2002.

2002

From 2002 the park remained shut down, with erosion and nature soaring throughout the park. Causing destructive damage and in 2014 a fire started by arson destroyed much of the equipment in the park. Due to this the government increased security on the site with new fences around the perimeter. Miraculously in 2016 a company put forward a plan to take over the park. To transform it into a location for arts and culture. The company Grun Berlin GmbH was owned by the city of Berlin. They forwarded the proposed plans in late 2018 and are considered to be implemented over several years.

As of last year many of the attractions was removed. However some of the main features such as the large Ferris wheel and rollercoaster remain. Along with the restaurant from the very first year of the park being open, and a water ride, carousel and cinema from the takeover period.

The park was the only of its kind in the communist era. Covering around 74 acres it welcomed around half a million visitors per year at its peak popularity. The Ferris wheel (photographed above) was the parks most popular feature. Being upgraded in 1989 to celebrate the 40th anniversary. Adding more cabins to the ride and increasing the height of the structure .

Event Planning, funfair events, Funfair Rides, General

Planning A Corporate Event

7 November 2020

How To Choose A Corporate Events Theme

This should be first on your list when planning A Corporate Event . Setting a theme will dictate many of the requirements for things like catering, entertainment and the size of the venue you will need.

Certain times of the year lend themselves to themes. Mid December and a Christmas party can be just that, Christmas. Middle of the summer it doesn’t work as well, though we have actually done Christmas at that time.

Are there any major sporting events on, tennis themed parties are popular around Wimbledon time, or a football theme to celebrate the World cup, though if you are English there will probably be very little to celebrate.

Fancy dress is always one of our favourites. People seem to really let their hair down when they start dressing in character and it seems to amplify the fun.

Finding A Perfect Venue

This needs careful consideration. Most venues will also provide the food for your event, and this can really make or break it. Your theme and entertainment will to some extent dictate your venue requirements. Are you thinking of having something like funfair attractions as part of the event, if so then you won’t be able to use a city centre hotel, as you will need somewhere with it’s own grounds to accommodate them.

If you are not having outdoor entertainment, then it allows a wider selection of locations. Traditionally events were held in ‘fancy’ hotels. This might still be the case depending on the expectations of your guests. However there are some really quirky venues popping up now, places such as Hawker House, a large warehouse type venue, with resident street food vendors and plenty of space is one we have worked at in the past, this gives you pretty much a blank canvas, though with an on trend industrial feel.

If you are trying to plan a party for a small amount of party, say an office with 20 people or so, then it might pay for you to go down the shared party route. This is a venue that provides the catering, entertainment, venue etc, and then hires out tables. So you can take as little as half a dozen guests, but still get the big event experience.

Planning The Catering

This one is the biggie. Nothing can break an event like the quality of the food. At one time everyone expected a 3 course meal, hotel style, and if your guests are of this persuasion then that’s the way to go. On the other hand, there is so much more to choose from now. A younger crowd will delight in street food style catering, and that opens up a wide vista of choice. You will need a venue that allows you to bring external caterers in, and make sure there are no ‘corkage’ charges for food. We once provided a hot dog cart to an exhibition client, they ended up being billed for more by the venue for the hot dogs than we actually charged them.

Street Food Burger
Street Food Burger

Planning A Corporate Event, Entertainment

After the food this is the next big one. The usual is something like a wandering magician, some music on arrival, perhaps a live band followed by a DJ and disco. Booooring! Well, not the magician, we like them, but the rest is formulaic. Kick it up a beat and give the guests something to do. Some competitive games on arrival, fake paparazzi or a themed photo booth. All a bit different to the norm. Something like a dodgem ride never fails to impress if you have the room and budget. In fact we have provided full scale fairgrounds to some of our larger clients for the maximum wow factor.

We have looked at this from the point of view of it being an adults event, however many companies run family fun days for their staff, so don’t forget to factor in entertainment for all age groups.

DIY, Or Bringing In The Professionals

This depends on your budget, and whether you have someone who is not only capable of planning an event, but more importantly actually wants to do it.

Professional planners are not cheap, but, they not only save you time, but can in many cases save you costs, as they will have deals in place with caterers, venues and entertainers. So don’t dismiss them purely on a cost basis.

Many planners are happy to put together a proposal without cost, so you could always have 2 or 3 pitch for your work. With the time saving element, they may be the way to go.

Fun Story, General

Cashless Conspiracy, And The Modern Fairground

16 October 2020

When the coronavirus struck, and everyone went crazy stripping the supermarket shelves, (still not sure why they needed so much toilet paper), a number of outlets switched to accepting card payments only. Ostensibly this was to cut down on the chances of the virus being spread by touching notes.

A number of friends of mine immediately and very vocally decided this had all been a conspiracy by the government to do away with cash and switch everybody to using cards. “They are gonna know exactly what we earn and we will have to pay more tax!”

Hmm, personally I think that it was a bloody extreme way to switch us all away from cash. Quite impressive the amount of cooperation they achieved getting virtually every country in the world to follow the same plan. And if everyone has to pay the correct rate of tax, well is that necessarily a bad thing?

Cashless Society

Some countries are already well ahead of us in the move away from cash. Sweden currently sees less than 1% of transactions made using cash. They have embraced the move to new technology wholeheartedly. In fact many establishments in the country no longer accept cash at all.

Cashless Bar In Sweden
Cashless Bar In Sweden

Admittedly there are some holdouts to this. Bjorn Eriksson, formerly the National police commissioner and president of Interpol objects on the principle that there are still a sizeable minority of people unable to cope with cards, the elderly, former convicts, tourists, immigrants. He explains that the banks don’t consider them to be ‘profitable’, so they will be left behind. The 71-year-old is the face of a national movement called Kontantupproret (Cash Rebellion)

Cashless Funfairs

So how would our industry cope with being cashless. Well, as we specialise in the corporate entertainment market and only supply private funfairs, we are basically cashless already. I personally don’t carry cash at all. My wife on the other hand won’t use her card. She goes to the supermarket, stops outside and withdraws money from the atm to pay for the shopping.

I visited Hull fair recently and stood talking to a friend at a sidestall. During the hour I was there, I would estimate that he took about 20% of his payments by card. So he was quite comfortable with cashless payments. He did mention that occasionally the lack of a reliable internet signal could cause problems, but by and large the system he had worked well. He also seemed to think that his takings actually increased as some customers would pay for additional plays by card, when they might not have done so with cash.

Clacton Pier Cashless Payments
Clacton Pier Cashless Payments

Cashless Festivals

Some festivals and theme parks have already made the switch. Clacton pier needs you to use its Fun Card system, where you load money on to its card and then use that for all the rides and attractions. Download festival on the other hand launched an RFID system in 2015, but scrapped it the following year due to technical issues causing problems for its vendors. So the technology might need to mature a little more before its ready for the big time.

Izettle
Izettle

Systems such as Izettle, invented in Sweden funnily enough, are now robust enough to be used on a large international scale. Indeed I pay one of my suppliers by card when I see him and he uses that system. I think at the minute from the funfair perspective, the limiting factor is going to be the mobile internet. I have been at major events, where when thousands of people are all carrying phones, the local cell towers can’t cope and its nearly impossible to connect.

This might be one of the cases where 5G is whats needed. If we can persuade people to stop burning the bloody towers down.

Personally I think that as more and more people move to using cashless payments the funfair industry is going to have no option but to follow suit.

Fun Story, funfair events, General

Hide And Seek With Mr Beast

27 September 2020

Mr Beast

Jimmy Donaldson who goes by the name Mr Beast is a 21 year old famous YouTube star. Reaching fame for his expensive stunts and philanthropy, he has over 34 million subscribers to his YouTube channel.

Mr Beast is no stranger to accompanying his stunts and challenges with a hefty price tag reward, his latest stunt involved the well-known game Hide and Seek, an abandoned amusement park and a 70K cash prize. Imagine playing a game of hide and seek with Mr Beast and coming home 70K richer!!!

The Game

10 content creators was chosen to play hide and seek with Mr Beast. Each contestant had their own face cam and walkie talkies. The aim was for them to hide somewhere in the abandoned run down theme park. The whole video had an eerie hunger game feel about it. On the video you see that Mr Beast tracked down three competitors. Then told the remaining 7 that they had an alarm in each of their backpack’s that could not be turned off. Mr Beast then introduced the option to close down different parts of the theme park. Forcing the remaining contestants in hiding to be forced out of the park and having to hide in new places.

Mr Beast looked everywhere in the theme park eliminating contestants as he went along. Looking under arcade cabinets, around the back of old fairground rides and underneath them. Even in the attack of buildings. 

After 4 hours of the game Mr Beast finally crowned the winner and handed over the cash price!

Other Videos

Mr Beast is no stranger to using theme parks for his youtube pranks. In August he launched a video ‘Last To Leave Roller Coaster Wins £20,000 challenge’. This is a pretty much self-explanatory title. The video shows a group of lads sitting on a rather large roller coaster car. For around about 3 hours. With some members throwing in the towel every few rounds of the ride no doubt due to sickness and tiredness.

Event Planning, funfair events, Funfair Rides, General

It’s Not Fun & It’s Not Fair

21 September 2020

They say that history goes around in circles. That we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past in an endless cycle. It’s not fun & it’s not fair.

Around 130 years ago the Van Dwellers Association was formed to protect the interests of travelling showmen. The impetus for this was a series of bills being enacted in parliament to restrict the ability of the showmen to travel around the country. It was postulated that they would spread disease and anarchy throughout the realm, putting an end, as one MP stated, to the ‘work of civilisation.’ The efforts of the association managed to stop this pernicious attack on the showmen’s way of life and the bill was defeated.

Showmen’s Guild

Eventually the association became the Showmen’s Guild and was recognised as the trade association for travelling funfairs. The organisation has worked since then to advance the rights and well being of the funfair industry as a whole.

So why the reference to history at the start of this post?

Well, here we are in the 21st century, and once again the life and business of the showman is under threat due to the impression that they will be travelling the country spreading disease and pestilence.

Covid 19

Unless you have been in a coma since the start of the year, you will be familiar with the current Covid crisis. Sweeping not only these sceptered isles, but pretty much the entire globe. Microbes that swarm and multiply unseen have ravaged the land, caused untold deaths and decimated much of the economy.

Quite rightly in the early days of the onslaught, we were all locked down. Facing an unseen enemy, that was little understood, but virulent and indiscriminate in its choice of victim.

Whatever the truth about the actual death rate from the illness, there is no argument that it has destroyed people’s lives and businesses. The support package provided by the chancellor helped many people, but as happens in such cases, left many more falling through the cracks with little or no support.

Easing The Restrictions

Eventually, as the rate of infection fell, the government started to ease the lockdown. They had little choice, the economy, already severely wounded, couldn’t take the blow of remaining closed much longer, lest the cure became worse than the disease..

Establishments were gradually brought back into operation, pubs, restaurants, most shops, you were even allowed a haircut.

Of course businesses had to become Covid secure, with hand sanitising facilities, anti microbial treatments on surfaces and social distancing becoming the “new normal.”

Travelling funfairs, for so long locked down, began to slowly re emerge into the brave new world we were living in. With rides operating at reduced capacity, all of the aforementioned Covid requirements being met, and the use of track and trace systems, the industry was labouring under a heavy load of restrictions.

A Step Back

It didn’t last long however. Within a scant few weeks, councils decided that funfairs were to be stopped. Despite the go ahead from the government, despite meeting and in many cases exceeding the Covid secure requirements, despite being held outdoors, with massively increased spacing between rides, the powers that be decided that, much like 130 years ago, showmen needed to be stopped.

Arguments can be made both for and against this decision. No one wants to be responsible for spreading the illness. Yet whilst a business such as a pub, which has its patrons locked into restricted indoor spaces smaller than an average funfair ride, is regarded as perfectly safe. A large funfair ride, operating at half capacity, in the middle of a field, outdoors is too dangerous to contemplate.

To add insult to injury, many of the councils banning travelling funfairs . Have expressly permitted ‘fixed funfairs’ such as theme parks. Hmmm, lets have a quick think. A typical theme park, has fixed rides that cannot be moved or spaced out. Everything is designed to maximise the space they have available. With guests queuing in proximity to each other. A travelling funfair, being set up from scratch, can either spread itself out for social distancing. Or operate with less attractions to achieve the same.

So why the discrepancy? Thus far, no one asked has been able to express a legitimate answer to this. Could it be that things have come full circle. Once again the showman are deemed to pose a threat to civilisation. After 130 years of supposed progress, are we once again to be considered pariahs in society.

Whatever the reason, its not fun, and it certainly ain’t fair.