Tag: Fairground Ride

Event Planning, funfair events

6 Tips On Dodgem Hire

3 April 2022
Broken Dodgems

Dodgems are easily one the most popular funfair ride available to hire. There are some absolutely fabulous examples available. Unfortunately there are also some complete cowboys, operating complete garbage. Read our 6 tips on dodgem hire to avoid the junk.

When have read through it, visit us for a dodgem quote for your event.

1 Work Out What Type You Need

There are 2 main types of dodgem rides, continental or traditional British style. Although the ride experience is essentially the same, they each have some unique strengths.

Hire Dodgems Continental Style

This type is the modern, slightly larger, ofton oblong shaped dodgem track. The ride essentially folds up on itself, and is then raised hydraulically off the floor allowing wheels to be fitted. The main advantage of this type is speed. Generally a smaller crew, can erect a continental dodgem in half the time of the traditional type. They also tend to be more highly decorated, with better sound systems and airbrushed artwork. The main drawback is the fact that they need to be driven into position. They cant be taken over a wall, through a narrow gate or up stairs.

Continental Dodgems For Hire 6 Tips On Dodgem Hire
Continental Dodgems For Hire

Traditional Dodgems

The traditional dodgem on the other hand, dismantles into small sections. It can be carried into almost any venue. The drawback with the ride, is the fact that it can take 6-8 hours to erect, as opposed to 3-4 hours for a continental type.

Traditional Funfair Dodgems Ride
Traditional Dodgems For Hire

2 Find Out Exactly What You Are Getting

Most rides of either type, need 2 heavy goods vehicles (averaging around 7 m.p.g), a support vehicle. Generator, 4-6 staff. 2 days to set up, operate and dismantle. Insurance, maintenance and general running costs. All legitimate operators have these as fixed, unavoidable expenses. So when someone offers you a dodgem for half the price of everybody else, you should be suspect.

I know of 2 unscrupulous operators with the following deals;

The first would offer you dodgems for around £800. Less than half the going rate. You would book them thinking you are getting a super deal. When the dodgems arrive and erected, you find that they have no lights, no music, no rain cover and 4 dodgem cars. When you query this sorry state of affairs, you are shown a folder with a picture of the £800 dodgems in, which is what you’ve hired. The operator would then turn a page showing a picture of the £1000 dodgems, which is the same ride but with a rain cover added. This process would be repeated a page at a time, until the final picture showed a fully set up dodgems for around the £2200 mark. Your choice at this point is to go ahead with the rubbish you’ve hired. Or pony up another £1400 to get a proper specced set up.

Broken Dodgems
What You Could End Up With

The Second Deal

The second one was even worse. They guy would quote a super low price, but when you wanted to book you have to agree to fork up a £500 non refundable deposit. The day before your event, you are informed that the dodgems, sadly, have broken down, but don’t worry, you are going to be supplied with a simulator ride, or a Miami or similar. When you complain that’s not what you want and ask to cancel, you are told you don’t get your deposit back. Again your choice is to accept what you are offered, or start court proceedings Would you win? Most probably, but would the hassle and stress be worth it?

3 Agree Your Operating Times

This is a must, a standard time slot is around 6 hours opening. They also need to be consecutive hours. We had one client booked us for 6 hours and wanted 3 hours one day, and 3 2 days later. Sorry, but the price quoted wasn’t to cover the ride being tied up for an additional 2 days. You wouldn’t be able to do that when you hired a car, so why would you think you could in this scenario.

4 Agree Set Up Times

Usually dodgems are erected the evening before they are needed, and dismantled straight after the event. Depending on the work load, an operator may agree to leave them in situ when the event finishes and come back the next day. However don’t just presume this. Quite often we can be operating on a saturday night at one venue, and need to be in position at another Sunday morning.

5 Make Sure You Receive All The Safety Docs

Of all our 6 tips on dodgem hire, this one is the most important.

Currently a reputable operator should be able to supply as a minimum;

  • Public Liability Insurance Certificate Of At Least £5 Million
  • Risk Assessments
  • Method Statements
  • Daily Check Log Book
  • Adips Annual Inspection Certificate

The good operators will go farther and supply additional health and safety documentation. With regards to the ADIPS certificate, check it out at ADIPS.co.uk to ensure it is genuine. The advent of the scanner and photo shop means a young kid can alter the date or name on a certificate. Same goes for the insurance.

6 Ask For Testimonials

The best operators in the hire arena tend to specialise in these jobs exclusively. Some operators spend most of their time at traditional funfairs, and the private jobs are an afterthought. That’s not to say some of these aren’t quite good. They are, but the best operators tend to pay more attention to customer service, and operate to a higher standard. By all means ask for contact names at some of the larger corporate clients they have had. A good operator should have no issue with sending you details of jobs they have done.

If after reading our 6 tips on dodgem hire you are still unsure, by all means drop us an email asking for help.

Catering, Event Planning, funfair events

When The Fair Comes To Town

30 March 2022
Fair From The Air

Have you ever wondered about when the fair comes town. It suddenly appear on your doorstep, almost overnight in many cases?

The funfair owner just gets up one day and decides to come and set up in the park across from your house right?

Erm, no, not exactly. Most events are planned months in advance. Indeed many fairs follow a regular date, in some cases stretching back hundreds of years. They tend to be the culmination of much planning, regular meetings, inspections and so on.

We were responsible for a few years for the fairground supplied in conjunction with the summer festival at Gainsborough. I had happened across the event whilst passing through the town one summer day. I contacted the organisers about attending with some attractions at the following years event. This was politely declined, and I tried again the following year with a similar result. Out of the blue I received an email asking if I would like to supply a couple of candy floss and Popcorn stalls. So cue a meeting with the relevant people, a deal was agreed and I was asked to supply all of my safety documentation.

A few weeks later, again out of the blue, the organisers asked if I would be interested in supplying a full range of attractions. This meant another meeting and plans being discussed. This proceeded quite well, until it was pointed out that the council couldn’t agree this with us directly, it had to be put out to tender to a minimum of 3 operators.

All 3 of us submitted tenders, and eventually we were notified that we had been successful.

More Meetings

After receiving the green light, we submitted details of the actual line up we proposed along with safety documentation. Then the council Health & Safety team contacted us asking for an onsite meeting. Cue another trip to Gainsborough to talk through their concerns.

Full steam ahead now, or so we thought. Until we were informed that part of the car park could not be occupied. It turns out that a local solicitors needed 24hr access to their building. So this meant a rewrite of the plan, and some modification to the line up we were bringing.

The day before the event, we had to be in Gainsborough to oversee the setting up and siting of rides. We were obviously there for the day of the event. Also the day after to ensure we had cleaned the site up and caused no damage. Oh, and the organisers wanted a debriefing meeting to discuss any issues that had come up.

So you can see, far from just rolling up, we had not only to deal with numerous organisations and individuals at the planning stage. We also had to travel to Gainsborough a number of times, for in the end what was a 1 day event.

When the fair comes to town, its the result of a lot of hard work, before the rides even turn up.

funfair events, Funfair Rides, Major Fairs

Tilburg Kermis, A Major Fair

23 March 2022
Tilburg Skyline

Another of our quick look at major fairs, a little different this time as it is in the Netherlands. Dating back to 1570, the Tilburg Kermis is the largest fair in the Benelux region, attracting over a million visitors annually which makes it big by any standard.

Playing host to upto 250 attractions spread over a 4.5km city centre site Tilburg is held around the third week in July. Like many fairs in the UK, it started as a market, being held to honour Tilburg’s patron saint. Unlike many UK based events though, the local community and businesses play an active part in the event. With local pubs and restaurants staging music events, large scale DJ sets and themed evenings. A stark contrast to the UK based scene, where many local businesses close for the duration of the fair.

Tilburg Fair
Tilburg Fair
Pink Monday Revellers
Pink Monday Revellers

Pink Monday

One of the most popular days of the fair, is Pink monday (Rose Maandag). Celebrating lgbt values, it brings gays and lesbians from across Europe, with many of the attractions sporting pink decor for the day. Attracting over 350,000 visitors this is a definite boost for the event. The slogan for the day is “Be Gay For A Day”

Pink Monday Slogan
Pink Monday Slogan
Pink Is The Colour
Pink Is The Colour

The event even has it’s own radio station. Kermis FM, offering a mix of information about the event, traffic data and kermis style music.

The final day of the Tilburg Kermis sees a massive procession towards the pius harbour. Culminating in a 15 minute firework display.

Resources: Kermis Tilburg Official Website

Event Planning, Fun Story, Funfair Rides

Sid Howell, Fairground Artists

21 September 2021
Fred Thompsons Ark

Another in our series of portraits on the great fairground artists. Sid Howell, and indeed his father Albert, were two highly regarded painters at the firm of Orton Sons, & Spooner. Or more commonly Orton & Spooner as it was referred to within the funfair industry.

The company produced some of the most ornate and elaborate rides, stalls and showfronts during the early part of the 20th Century. Indeed little since has come close to matching their style, both the early rococo theme or the later Art Deco. They were well known for employing the best of artisans and artists to work on their rides.

Sid Howell was born in 1906 in Bristol, but moved with the family to Burton On Trent, the homebase of Orton and Spooner. He not only studied art at school, but was helped with additional coaching from his father, and received actual working experience at the firm.

By the time he was 18, he had completed a study course at Burton Art School, and eventually qualified to teach the subject.

Many would assume that he would follow his father in to the amusement ride firm, but he chose a different path, instead accepting a position as trainee draughtsman at Branston Artificial Silk. Sadly this didn’t work out as the company folded three years later.

Sid Howell
Sid Howell

Orton Sons, And Spooner

When Sid found himself unemployed in a period where jobs were scarce, he ended up joining his father Albert decorating funfair attractions. He brought the benefits of a new younger generation to the company. His knowledge of new techniques and his introduction of newer styles was evident in the standard of work being turned out.

The father and son team were a perfect match, especially on the many jungle scenes they painted together.

They were interrupted during the war years, as were most ride manufacturers. But happily by 1946 the company was back producing rides.

Edwards Ben Hur

Robert Edwards owned a Noah’s Ark that had been built in the mid 30’s. He placed an order for the ride to be rebuilt.

The rounding boards were painted in the familiar jungle theme, quite probably by Albert. Sid however designed and painted a scene from Ben Hur on the main front panels. At over 40ft wide and 15ft tall it was a stunning work of art. This was widely recognised as the finest work of his career. Keep in mind that the front not only had to look right at ground level, but also when it was placed in the air. Add in the fact that the front was curved, and you have an idea of the level of skill involved in his creation.

The Famous Ben Hur Front
The Famous Ben Hur Front

Much of the fabulous artwork from these early artists has been lost, either when the rides were retired and scrapped, or when, as often happened they were repainted to keep them fresh.

Dingles

Happily the Ben Hur ark survived. It is now a resident at the Dingles Heritage Museum in West Devon. Well worth a trip out to see.

Dingles Fairground Museum
Dingles Fairground Museum
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Sid eventually left Orton & Spooner as work from the showmen gradually dried up. The company turned away from the industry .

Sid had a spell undertaking freelance work, and worked at an amusement park, and also Blackpool’s famous illuminations.

He died in 1966, but the immensity of his talent lives on in his finest work.

His son, Alan S. Howell, researched and wrote a book about the artists of Orton & Spooner titled ‘Men At Work‘. This is fetching sums in excess of £100 for a paperback copy. It would be well worth a read if you can get your hands on one.

Men At Work
Men At Work

Resources;

Fairground Heritage Trust https://www.fairground-heritage.org.uk/

Joyland Books https://www.joylandbooks.com

Event Planning, Fun Story, funfair events, Funfair Rides

Orton, Sons and Spooner Ltd., A Manufacturer Profile

14 September 2021
Orton Spooners Three Abreast

The golden years of fairgrounds in the UK, pretty much the Victorian era really. Saw numerous home grown companies providing the ever expanding scene with rides and shows that were works of art. Sadly like much of British industry, few ride manufacturers still remain. The legendary names of old seem to limp along in various forms until about the last third of the 20th century before finally fading away. Orton, Sons and Spooner Ltd was one such name, responsible for some of the most ornate switchbacks, arks and shows ever to appear on the fairground, they ended as equipment handling manufacturers before ceasing to trade around 1977.

George Orton

Originally they were two separate companies. The first being the Lion Carriage Works. Set up by George Orton who manufactured gypsy wagons as well as drays and carriages for other industries. Based in Burton upon Trent, he received his first commision for a Showman’s wagon around 1883. At that period in history, showmen not only lived in their wagons, but they tended to be highly carved and ornate and formed the front part of a travelling show.

Typical Orton & Spooner Showmans Wagon
Typical Orton & Spooner Showmans Wagon

Charles Spooner

A young man named Charles Spooner, owner of the ‘Swan Works’, in Burton was one of Orton’s suppliers. A wood carver who had been apprenticed to Walter Gifford Hilton he supplied drays and carts to the thriving brewing industry in Burton.

Orton contracted him to provide carvings for his showfronts and wagons. This symbiotic relationship flourished to the point that the two companies were amalgamated in 1925 as Orton, Sons and Spooner Ltd.

Ride Manufacturing

They soon expanded their range into the full scale building of rides and showfronts and came to dominate the market. Their highly ornate, exquisitely decorated constructions were far in advance of the plainer, less impressive offerings from competitors, indeed the breathtaking scale of their offerings haven’t been matched since.

Scenic Railway Whale

The picture above is a typical example taken from one of their scenic railways. Superbly detailed and robustly constructed, these cars were said to weigh around 1500kg’s each, with a complete ride in the 35-40 tonne bracket.

They built their first scenic for Holland Brothers in 1912, some 57 feet in diameter and powered by no fewer than eight electric motors. Over the next twenty years they completed over 30 of these rides.

World War I

The first World War, saw the company requisitioned to produce aircraft hangers, but successfully re launched into the fairground market in 1919 with another scenic railway.

Their final scenic was delivered in 1925, with the type coming to the end of its popularity. Smaller and lighter attractions now ruled the roost, with Noah’s Arks, Waltzers and Speedways being in demand. They also turned out an estimated 50 dodgem tracks, along with ghost trains, shows and side stalls. They built the first skid ride for the famous Midlands showman Pat Collins in 1928.

Sadly George Orton passed away at the age of 81 in 1924. The company now being in the hands of his sons, and Charles Spooner, who had married his daughter Anne.

From the onset the business employed only the best artisans and artists. The father and son teaming of Albert and Sid Howell being responsible for some of the stunning art gracing the fronts and rounding boards of these rides.

Painted By The Howells, My Gt Grandfather Fred Thompson's Ark Front.
Painted By The Howells, My Gt Grandfather Fred Thompson’s Ark Front.
Widely Considered Sid Howells Best Artwork, Edwards's Ben Hur
Widely Considered Sid Howells Best Artwork, Edwards’s Ben Hur

The Ben Hur front for Edwards ark was considered to be Sid Howells greatest work. The image above doesn’t do justice to the sheer size and scale of the work which was around 15ft high and over 40ft long.

Carving

Charles Spooner gained a reputation as being amongst the finest wood carvers in the business. Creating examples of pretty much everything required on rides at that time. The company was quick to respond to current affairs. Producing animals carved as Generals during the Boer war, and armoured cars and tanks during WWI.

Boer War Generals Carved As Centaurs
Boer War Generals Carved As Centaurs

They successfully transitioned from their early Rococo style creations, as the country moved into the Art Deco period. They produced modern, for the time, decor with curves and swooping forms. Decorated with modern airplanes and train engines, mixed in with bright colours and influences of the exotic from the far east and Egypt.

In common with much of industry, they gradually moved away from the one off hand crafted work. To a more standardised production line using stencils and patterned parts. To keep up with increased demand and competition this was a necessary evil. It did mean though that we would never again see the wonderful fronts and carvings for which they had become famous.

World War II

Charles Spooner died at the beginning of WWII. The bulk of the companies efforts being the manufacturing of military vehicles during the war.

They recommenced work in the fairground industry after the war. But it was a changed world, demand from the showmen was dropping off, and they began to diversify into other engineering work. 1954 marked the final break with fairground manufacture, and the company soldiered on until finally falling into receivership in 1977.

Orton, Sons and Spooner Ltd will be remembered as one of the greats of the last century.

Sources;

The Fairground Heritage Trust https://www.fairground-heritage.org.uk/

National Fairground And Circus Archive https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/nfca

Event Planning, Fun Story, funfair events, Funfair Rides

The Waltzer, History Of An Iconic Ride

10 April 2021

One of the mainstays for any British funfair is the Waltzer. Indeed so popular is this particular ride that you will struggle to find any but the smallest funfairs without one.

Similar in style to the Noah’s Ark ride, i.e., a platform that rotates at high speed and undulates over a number of hills to give an up and down motion. The difference is the ark originally had various animals to sit on, then evolved to have motorbikes, probably around the time that motorbikes became popular with young people. This led in some places to them becoming more popularly known as speedways. As most early rides were these tended to be ornately decorated.

The Front From Fred Thompson's Speedway Ark
The Front From Fred Thompson’s Speedway Ark

The waltzer by contrast has tub shaped cars, that are attached by either a slew ring or a pivot point to the platform. As the ride rotated, the riders all sat at one end of the car would unbalance it and it would begin to spin. The attendants on the ride would walk the platform as it rotated spinning the cars by hand to make them faster. With attractive young ladies tending to be spun the most.

Typical Waltzer Car
Typical Waltzer Car

Early History

The very first evidence we have for the ride, is a 1920’s model built by one Dennis Jeffries of Congleton. Posterity records the very first passengers as being his nieces Phyllis and Dolly Booth, nothing like using family as Guinee pigs. A tradition which continues today, a few years back a relative building his own ghost train had put the first car together, but wasn’t sure if the gearing was correct. He put his old dad in as a crash test dummy and set it in motion. The car accelerated along the track like an exocet missile, jumped the rails at the first corner and set off into infinity and beyond. Luckily said dad fell off at this point. No amount of cajoling could convince him to try the mark two car.

Maxwell And Sons

The sadly now defunct Scottish firm of Maxwell and Sons, based in Musselburgh, became perhaps the best known manufacturer of the ride in the UK producing some 59 examples of the ride. Waltzers tended to have ten cars, though as the ark/speedway fell out of fashion a number of these were converted to waltzers so there are both nine and eleven car examples.

H.P. Jacksons

The biggest rival to Maxwells was the Congleton based firm of Jackson’s who produced 29 rides. They kept going a little longer than Maxwells producing their last ride in 1992. (Maxwells were out of business by 1983)

A number of other firms produced waltzers, but only in very small numbers.

Fairtrade Services

Waltzers were always an extremely labour intensive ride to set up and derig. A handful of examples were converted to pack on an artic load to reduce the set up time. A showmen by the name of Robert Porter, who was experienced in refurbishing and repairing waltzers. Took this a step further with a design for a new ride, made from the start to be a more compact travel load and quicker set up.

Under the brand of Fairtrade Services he has now produced 21 examples. They are on track to surpass Jackson’s as the second most prolific manufacturer.

Lund's Fireball Waltzer
Lund’s Fireball Waltzer

One particularly striking example of a ‘Porter Waltzer’ as they are more commonly referred to, is the example above. Built for the Norwegian firm of Lund’s Tivoli. With Aasmund Lund at the helm, the firm commissioned this ride. With it’s stunning fireball theme, around the back of the ride are numerous led screens that provide a fire effect.

It is unusual that although the ride is one of the most popular in the UK, it is seldom seen on the continent. Raymond Codona Jnr travelled his Hell Raiser waltzer in Holland for a number of seasons. Very successfully, but you find few native examples.

Tilt-A-Whirl

Across the pond Herbert Sellner invented a similar ride called the Tilt-A-Whirl in 1926. Similar in motion to the waltzer this type only has seven cars, but otherwise works in much the same way.

The most noticeable difference, is that the waltzer has a roof and is an enclosed ride. Add in the sound and lighting systems and they are much like a portable nighclub. The tilt a whirl by contrast is an open topped ride. To be honest looks very much like an home made waltzer.

Tilt A Whirl
Tilt A Whirl

The Waltzers

The waltzer is an enduring icon of the British fairground scene. One change to its detriment is are the current health and safety laws. Waltzers were renowned for having the gangway around the edge of the ride packed with people. It truly was a social event, with many a couple meeting on the waltzers (Kevin Keegan the England football star was one, meeting his wife on Dowses waltzer at Scunthorpe). Sadly young people nowadays aren’t considered responsible enough to stand on he gangway a few feet from the spinning platform so now the ride is closed off whilst it is in motion.

Sources;

Fairground Heritage https://www.fairground-heritage.org.uk/learning/fairground-people/robert-lakin-company/

National Fairground and Circus Archive https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/nfca/researchandarticles/fairgroundrides

Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waltzer#:~:text=The%20Waltzer%20is%20a%20variety,Waltzers%20originally%20had%2010%20cars.

Event Planning, Fun Story, funfair events, Funfair Rides

Weird Carnival Rides, The Flying Cars

6 March 2021

Over the years there has been some way out and wacky rides designed for the funfair industry. Some have worked and became classics. Others were either too unreliable, vomit inducing or just downright dangerous. The flying cars could be argued to be dangerous as it did in fact kill someone. However the someone failed to fasten their safety belt so its an arguable case.

Loop De Loop, Flying Cars

The ride was something quirky. The drum rotated and the cars were fixed to the track, similar to a roller coaster. The cars had a brake pedal which clamped the car to the track causing it to climb the drum. Once it had climbed you released the brake to allow it to fall back down and up the other side. Eventually you built enough momentum up to go 360 around the full drum.

The Ride In Action

Unfortunately someone failed to fasten their seatbelt and was killed in the fall which resulted in the ride being removed. Modern technology would probably solve that problem now with interlocked safety bars and the like.

There was records of a second, double drum flying cars ride being built for Conklin’s Carnivals, but scant records exist of that model or any other rides.

The ride was built by a German manufacturer, but despite the wonders of the world wide web, we have been unable to find out which particular one.

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

Dismaland A Theme Park With A Difference

24 February 2021

The world renowned graffiti artist, Banks’y happens to be a favourite of my daughters. To be honest I quite like his style too. A few years back when she was studying art at school, she made Banksy her special project, so one day we jumped in the car and drove to Bristol to visit his artworks in the flesh so to speak.

When he announced the Dismaland project, a theme park not suitable for kids as he put it, at an old Lido in Weston Super Mere. We were lucky enough to secure tickets for us and a couple of Emmerson’s friends.

My wife hates using our car due to the size and fuel consumption, but none of the vans would fit 5 people, so I got to enjoy a blast all the way down the country in my Mas. During the periods the wife fell asleep I got to enjoy the 400+ horses under the bonnet without screams of “Look at the fuel consumption” lol.

When we got to the park, the queue was enormous. It was then that I realised a possible problem. I had actually bought the tickets on ebay, not through a regular channel as they were next to impossible to obtain. Basically the ticket was a sheet of A4 paper with a barcode. Anyone could have put them together, or the same ticket could have been sold multiple times.

Crap, but I did have a cunning plan, I sent the kids in first to see what happened. In the event they walked straight in so we were ok.

A Park With A Difference

Now the park itself was different, very different, but something we all enjoyed. However I have to say it brought a worrying trend home. The whole idea was that the park was meant to be a dismal, unfriendly place, with surly staff that couldn’t be bothered with the customers. A spoof on a traditional fairground.

Thing I realised was, the customer service part was pretty much what you see on some fairgrounds today. Young kids in the stalls playing on their phones who viewed you as a nuisance if you wanted to play. Operators in the rides looking bored and disinterested. At one point the wife and I were stood debating whether we should go into a particular structure. When the girl on the outside shouted at us “In or out, in or out, don’t stand there blocking the ride, make your mind up!”

I burst out laughing, because a very good friend of mine has exactly the same customer facing skills. I have seen her shout very similar commands when some poor unfortunate is stood at the ride entrance making their mind up.

One of the many twisted rides
One of the many twisted rides

I was impressed by the thought that had gone into the attractions. To be sure they were taking traditional funfair attractions and twisting them into some steam punk, distressed interpretation of what they would have been. But in some cases hitting the nail right on the head.

It’s Impossible To Win!

Topple The Anvil With A Rubber Ball
Topple The Anvil With A Rubber Ball

Take topple the anvil for instance. I should imagine its physically impossible to knock an anvil off the shelf with a rubber ball. But then, there are games I have seen on fairgrounds that are equally impossible. The traditional coconut shie was renowned for having ‘duds’, that is some of the coconuts you were trying to knock off were actually metal replicas. Nothing short of an Exocet missile would move them.

Winning is strictly prohibited sign.
Not strictly true on a real fairgound but not far from the truth on some games.

One of my favourite shows was death riding the dodgem car. Played to trance music it was one of the earlier attractions we encountered and was just plain funny.

Death Dodgems
Death Dodgems

There was plenty of Banksy’s political commentary, such as the coin operated remote control boats. Which happened to be boats filled with refugees. Or the exhibition of various weapons used by governments to oppress the people.

Remote Controlled Refugee Boats
Remote Controlled Refugee Boats

There were also some weird commentary on consumerism and minority representation such as the gifts below sold in the shop.

Battlefield Casualty Action Man

Battlefield Casualty Action Man

But The Food Was Good

Lol, even the catering didn’t escape his vitriol.

Sign asking people to guess whats in their hot dog.
Lol, I can vouch ours contain pork

Although some people slated the park, I think it is because they just didn’t get the sarcasm mixed with social commentary undercurrent that it was put together with. We had a great time.

Sources;

Dismaland http://www.dismaland.co.uk

Banksy https://www.banksy.co.uk

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

Hire Dodgems Cars For Your Event

11 February 2021

When You Want The Most Fun For Your Event

If you have arrived here you are looking for a dodgems ride for your event. A really nice dodgems.

Well we suppose you could want a scruffy one, something that looks like it came from the theme park at Chernobyl. In which case you really need to talk to a dodgy dodgem guy called Vladimir.

If you want the nice type then you can have a package tailored to suit you, even going as far as preparing a bridal car with ribbons and flowers to match if it’s for your wedding, or adding branding for corporate hires.

Your dodgems service will be a great centrepiece for your event, designed around your requirements so you don’t have to worry.

Easily the most popular ride you can have. Ideal for all age groups young and old. Everyone loves to drive a dodgem car, making them perfect for your fun day, or just about any event you can imagine.

You have the choice of a full range of track sizes in both traditional dodgems and ultra modern versions.

Don’t dodge us, contact us for a quote.

Continental Bumper Cars
Continental Bumper Cars

Funfair Rides, Fun For All Ages, Children And Adults.

Looking back on our long term records, this is by far our most booked fairground ride. People rent dodgems when they want maximum fun. Smaller children can be accompanied by adults, so its suitable for kids. Teenagers love it, even the older generation find it a fun experience.

Although it has to be said the aim of the ride is to ‘dodge’ the other cars, not crash headlong into each other, hence dodgems, (we know, we know, in the North East they call them bumper cars, but they are a hardy breed ‘up North).

Together with the Carousel hire , Ferris Wheel hire  and Helter Skelter it is one of the iconic fairground rides.

We can advise you on the type and size of bumper cars rides to best suit your venue and requirements. And provide guidance on the best funfair attractions to complement your event.

You need to take into account the ages and requirements of your guests. A well presented ride  has music and lighting systems. Creating a fabulous centrepiece. Easily the most popular attractions available.

If you want  radioactive rides then you are gonna have to try harder to find Vlad!

Continental Dodgems For Hire
Continental Dodgems For Hire

This ride works well with other offerings from our stable of entertainment including rides, games and fairground attractions;

You can have us propose a complete package for your needs when a range of fairground attractions are required, be it a company fun day, corporate event, a birthday party or you simply want to hire dodgems for a wedding.

Why not enjoy the event yourself comrade and leave the planning and stress to our team.

Hiring A Ride, What Do You Need To Know?

How much to hire  bumper cars near me and dodgems hire price, are regular questions we receive, unfortunately there is no simple answer to fairground ride hire prices, as it depends on where, when and what type. The where and the when are easy to answer, the other questions might need an explanation.

There are basically 2 type of rides available, the traditional type which is supplied totally dismantled and erected piece by piece., he advantage of this being that they can be carried through small gates, over fences, even upstairs, the big disadvantage is the 6-8 hours set up time.

Commonly referred to as a continental track or modern dodgem, the alternative is a set up time of around 3 hours. These are folded up onto a centre trailer for transport tending to be more highly decorated than the traditional model, contain more elaborate lighting systems and higher powered music.

The only real drawback with a modern track is that they have to be driven into position. So it limits the venues they can be used in.

You also need to take into account the track sizes and quantity of cars required. To ensure whichever you choose will fit in your intended venue.

You need to take care when hiring rides like this. The internet is great for finding something you need,but there are plenty of cowboys operators out there, check out our short article on finding the best ride for your money.

Hire funfair bumper cars from us and you will receive details of what you will actually receive. And we definitely don’t have anyone called Vladimir working here.

Check out the history of the dodgems or as they are sometimes known, bumper cars.

Traditional Dodgems For Hire
Traditional Dodgems For Hire

F.A.Q.

WHERE CAN I HIRE DODGEMS NEAR ME;
All types and sizes of dodgem tracks can be provided anywhere in the U.K.

WHAT IS A BEST A TRADITIONAL OR A MODERN TRACK;
The ride experience is identical, so it all comes down to whether you want a modern glitzy look, or something more traditional. Additionally access restrictions may stop the larger continental track being used.

CAN WE USE BUMPER CARS IN THE RAIN;
As long as the track come with a top cover to allow use in inclement weather. All of ours do!

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DODGEM CAR HIRE AND BUMPER CAR HIRE;
Absolutely nothing, they are two names for the same ride, bumper cars tends to be used more in the North East.

WHAT IS DODGEMS HIRE COST;
It depends on the type of track, where and when you require the ride, expect to pay between £1700 and £2500

I HAVE BEEN OFFERED THEM FOR £1500 WHY SHOULDN’T I HIRE THAT RIDE;
Like most things in like, when it seems too good to be true, it usually is!

Event Planning, Fun Story, Funfair Rides

The 14 Best Ferris Wheels, The Iconic Funfair Ride

23 January 2021

Few of the funfair rides you see today are as iconic as Ferris Wheels, or Big Wheels as they are also known.

Taking its name from the wheel built for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893 by George Washington Gale Ferris. Though William Somers installed three fifty foot wooden wheels in 1892 so perhaps they should be called Somers Wheels.

Then again Pietro Della Valle, a Roman traveller wrote of riding a Great Wheel in Constantinople in 1615, so should they be Constantinople wheels or Della Valle Wheels?

Whoever deserves the naming rights, it was George that actually ended up adding his name to one the enduring legacies of the funfair industry.

Lets take a look at some of the weird and wonderful wheels around the world.

The Original Ferris Wheel

The Original 'Ferris Wheel' The grandaddy that gave its name to all the others.
The Original ‘Ferris Wheel’ The grandaddy that gave its name to all the others.

The original ‘Ferris’ wheel pictured here was 80.4 metres high, 264ft if you are sticking to olde measures, not sure how many cubits that is if you are even older than Imperial measurements. It was intended to rival the Eiffel Tower which had formed the centre piece of the Paris Exposition. The axle weighing 71 tonne was the world’s largest forging at that time, and the ride had a carrying capacity of 2160 people, unrivalled today Indeed the world’s biggest wheel the Vegas High Roller managing a little over half that.

The Vegas High Roller

Currently The World's Highest Wheel, The Vegas High Roller
Currently The World’s Highest Wheel, The Vegas High Roller

Currently the world’s highest wheel is the Vegas High Roller. At 550ft (158.5 metres, 366.67 cubits) high, this beats the Singapore Flyer by a scant 9ft. Rotating on two custom designed spherical bearings each weighing just under 9 tonnes. The passenger cabins are electrically rotated to maintain a smooth level ride and each weighs 20 tonnes. A wheel currently being built in Dubai should claim the crown as world’s tallest wheel if it ever opens, currently construction is 5 years behind schedule.

The Vienna Riesenrad

The Vienna Riesenrad, The world's oldest operating Ferris wheel.
The Vienna Riesenrad, The world’s oldest operating wheel.

Located inside the Vienna Prater (the world’s oldest amusement park), the Riesenrad was constructed in 1897. This has unique old fashioned cabins, one of which can be hired complete with dining and a champagne meal.

It was designed by Harry Hitchins and Hubert Cecil Booth, a pair of British engineers, and constructed by Lieutenant Walter Bassett Bassett an English engineer. to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef I. At 212ft high it is nowhere near the ‘big’ wheels out there, but it adds a touch of class all its own.

The Tianjin Eye Observation Wheel

The Tianjin Eye.
The Tianjin Eye, CC BY-SA 2.0

Also called the Tientsin Eye, this is a mid height wheel at 394ft, what makes it unusual, is that it is the only major wheel actually built on a bridge, in this case the Yongle Bridge, over the Hai River in Tianjin China.

The Osaka Wheel

The Osaka Ferris Wheel
The Osaka Wheel

This is an oddball in the wheel world. Rather than being round it is an oval shape. The main structure doesn’t move rather the cars move around a track.

The Big O

The Big O Wheel
The Big O Wheel

Situated in the Tokyo Dome City, Japan. This is not only the world’s largest centreless wheel at 200ft high (it has an actual roller coaster built through the middle), it also has a number of cars with karaoke machines fitted. We are not actually convinced that being stuck on a ride for 30 minutes with someone singing badly is a great move.

Baseball Ferris Wheels

The Baseball Wheel
The Baseball Wheel

Not particularly large, but certainly novel. Built in Comerica park, downtown Detroit. The location of the Detroit Tigers Major League Baseball Team.

The Waggon Wheel

The Waggon Wheel
The Waggon Wheel

No, not a biscuit, though legend has it that the biscuit was a similar size before inflation kicked in. This is located in Flamingo Land Amusement park here in the UK. Themed around the iconic plains wagons of old America. YeeeHaaa

The Golden Reel Figure 8

The Golden Reel Figure 8 Wheel
The Golden Reel Figure 8 Wheel

Located in Macau, this is one of the highest wheels in the world. Not due solely to its size, but to the fact that it is actually built to join two hotels together. You board on the 23rd floor, and what makes it even more unique is that fact that it is a figure 8 wheel, having 2 loops does that make it Ferris Wheels?

Royal Tyres Wheel

The Royal Tyres Ferris Wheel
The Royal Tyres Ferris Wheel

The Uniroyal giant tyre wheel created for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Now located in Michigan this 80ft high wheel was designed by the same firm responsible for the Empire State Building, Shreve, Lamb & Harmon. Driven by a 100hp engine the wheel carries 96 passengers.

John Kormeling Wheel

Drive In Ferris Wheels
Drive In Ferris Wheel

Created by the artist John Kormeling, this is one wacky wheel. Instead of gondolas for the passengers, it has flat structures that you actually park you car on, yes, you don’t even have to leave your car to ride this wheel.

The Priyat Big Wheel

The Priyat Wheel

This wheel isn’t particularly tall, or have any unusual features. Oh, except for being quite close to a major nuclear disaster. The wheel is virtually brand new having hardly been used before Chernobyl went tits up. It isn’t one we would recommend visiting, although there are actually companies now running tours to the area around Chernobyl.

Eccentric Wheel

An Eccentric Wheel
An Eccentric Wheel

These are an uncommon version of the wheel. Instead of the cars being suspended on axles at the ends of the arms, they travel on a track that zig zags inside the main structure, so they slide towards the centre of the wheel then away from it. There was one built in 1920 at Coney Island, and another at one of the Disney parks.

Underground Ferris Wheels

Underground Ferris Wheels
Underground Ferris Wheel

A mere 65ft high and only 6 cars would make this a pretty poor example for Ferris Wheels. Until you consider it is actually underground inside a giant salt mine. Located in Turda, Romania, the mine dates back to the 13th century and is 368ft beneath below ground. I guess that technically makes this the world’s lowest wheel!