Saturday, January 15, 2011
It’s been 23 years since the circus first came to Medina to entertain children young and old, and this year is no different.
On Saturday, the Billy Martin’s Cole All-Star Circus will return, with performances at 3 and 7 p.m. in the Wise Middle School gymnasium.
“The Cole Circus will be 75 years old in 2013,” said Martin. “That’s quite a tradition. We have visited Medina since 1989. The Cole Circus is so unique as it is not only a family entertainment event, but also a fundraising activity. It’s a win, win.”
Since 1989, all money raised has benefited the Jade branch of the Together We Integrate Growth Association. Last year, the circus raised $1,700, to go toward improving the residential health care facility at Medina Memorial Hospital.
“For more than 20 years, this annual event has provided an evening of fun and entertainment for families, along with raising money for the TWIG Association,” said TWIG member Sue Philips.
Martin said there are many new acts featured this year, including the juggling and balancing Rinny family. There will also be the Dipsy Doodles, six labradoodle dogs and a miniature horse named Marty.
“This is our largest show ever,” said Martin. “We have 18 people on tour with us.”
In addition to the acts, new this year will also be the date. In previous years, the show was held on a Friday; this year’s performance will be on Saturday.
“We pride ourselves with a clean, wholesome family show,” said Martin. “As our founder James M. Cole used to say, ‘it’s like our family’s entertaining your family.”
Other circus acts will include the trapeze, Slinko-Man, unicycles, comedy trampoline, jugglers and more.
The price is $12 for an adult ticket at the door. With every adult ticket purchased, two children 12 years and younger are admitted free.
By Christopher O'Donnell
Friday, January 14, 2011
But it turns out “Lard,” as students affectionately named the pig, is just not fat enough.
Lard weighs enough to be auctioned at the fair. But when it comes to her future as bacon, ribs and chops, fair organizers rejected her for sale after an ultrasound measurement of her backfat revealed she was too lean.
“She's very long, but really lean. You don't see a lot of wobble or jiggle on her,” said science teacher Kimberley Lough.
And that's not good for a pig. Standards for the fair are similar to those of meat processors, which want similar-sized cuts to end up on supermarket shelves.
So Lard is now back at the school farm being fed steam-pressed corn and vegetable oil to fatten her up. Her reprieve is only temporary since the school still plans to sell her for slaughter.
But her rejection at the fair was a blow for students who missed out on showing her, and for the the school's Future Farmers of America chapter that typically uses auction proceeds to fund the school's farm.
At the fair, pigs typically sell above market prices since buyers know they benefit schools and 4-H clubs.
Lard was expected to raise upward of $1,500.
“It's our biggest fundraiser of the year but we'll be able to recover from it,” Lough said.
Lough said she has a buyer willing to pay $2 per pound for the sow. She is still searching to find a better offer.
Anyone interested in buying Lard should call the school at (941) 721-6840.
In the middle photo, Manatee County Fair Queen Chairman Sue Revell introduces the 2011 fair queens, from left, Mini Miss Kayla Gunst, Little Miss Leah Roddenberry, Junior Miss Dakota Schoettle and Miss Manatee Fair Queen Tiffany Elder, who won a $1,000 academic scholarship.
Bottom photo, sights on the fair's midway include a pair of spinning skulls and crossbones.–Photos by Thomas Bender
From: Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Published: Friday, January 14,2011
SARASOTA - The controversial installment of parking meters downtown could get a boost from a national animal rights group that hopes to advertise on the meters — with scantily clad women selling an animal-free diet.
Key Documents:PETA's letter to Sarasota mayor (PDF - 249kb) People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, commonly called PETA, sent a letter to Mayor Kelly Kirschner Thursday expressing interest in advertising on the coming high tech parking kiosks.
The proposed image features a belly-shirted woman dressed as a police officer and reads “Going vegan is your ticket to good health.”
”We're sure that many of your residents dread the new revenue-raising parking meters that will soon line downtown Sarasota's curbs, but our idea will give drivers something to smile about,” PETA officials wrote in the letter. “We would like to pay the city to place ads on the new meters, featuring a sexy traffic cop.”
The message, PETA officials hope, will inspire Sarasotans to consider eating less meat as they park downtown.
“We are really hoping that Sarasotans will see our ad and that it will inspire them to get healthy and go vegan,” said Alicia Woempner, PETA's special projects manager. “We hope this ad will get some attention and get people's hearts racing.”
PETA, the Virginia-based animal rights group known for its controversial advertising across the nation, says it has not yet heard a response from Kirschner. Kirschner was among the commissioners that pushed for the meters amid outcry from local business owners who fear the meters will scare away business.
The City Commission made the final approval to pay $510,000 to bring in parking meters for more than 600 curb-side spots downtown before summer earlier this month.
PETA, Woempner said, was watching and saw the opportunity to advertise here, where “62 percent of Floridians are overweight or obese.”
“This really seemed like a perfect opportunity for this ad,” Woempner said. “Going vegan is the best way to get healthy.”
Mayor Kirschner has not yet returned phone calls, and PETA officials say they have not received a response from the city.
READ MORE AT:http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20110114/BREAKING/110119864/2055/NEWS?Title=PETA-wants-risqu-eacute-ads-on-parking-meters
Friday, January 14, 2011
By Billy Cox Friday, January 14, 2011
If you've been dying to know how it feels to get mutilated by a 400-pound lion, you can ask Jean “Tarzan” Zerbini all about it Saturday morning at PAL Sailor Circus.
“I was an idiot — I mixed male lions and female lions together, which I never should've done,” recalls Zerbini of a youthful indiscretion that broke his arm and took 500 stitches to repair. “The male just wanted to get to the female and I was in the way.”
Zerbini's career in gutsy showmanship is being rewarded this weekend when he joins five other entertainers for induction into the Circus Ring of Fame at St. Armands Circle.
On Sunday afternoon at 1:30, Zerbini, bandmaster Charles Schlarbaum and legendary sideshow performer/owner Ward Hall will be honored alongside Andres, Alberto, and Alfredo Atayde, all veterans of Mexico's longest running circus, Circo Atayde Hermanos. The ceremonies are open to the public.
But the six will also convene at a more intimate public forum at 10 a.m. tomorrow for a discussion called “The Art of Entertaining the Public.” It's safe to say that certain acts — like Hall, who used to book the human freak shows, and Zerbini, who packed up to 20 big cats in a ring at once — are likely the last of a breed.
Now 68, Zerbini assumed a Tarzan persona by dressing in a leopardskin diaper and swinging into the cage like the fabled King of the Apes. But unlike famed trainer Clyde Beatty, Zerbini eschewed the whip, the chair and the blank-shooting pistol for animated vocal commands.
His famous mauling before a live audience in Detroit at the hands of a randy beast named Fred occurred when he was 25, an accident for which Zerbini accepts responsibility. But two days later, Zerbini was back in the ring, still in bandages. Following performances in the immediate aftermath, he would hook into his antibiotic IV drips to keep the infection from spreading.
Those weren't the only injuries, to be sure. Zerbini's head was in a lion's mouth during a show when a spectator's balloon popped. The startled animal clamped down and swung around to check it out.
“I ended up with a few stitches from that one, too,” recalls Zerbini, who still operates a circus out of Webb City, Mo. “There was a lot of blood, but the paramedics came and put alcohol over the wound and I was off again.”
Zerbini retired from animal acts 15 years ago. His advice to youngsters?
“I'd rather work with lions than tigers. Tigers are a lot more agile, and they'll figure out all the angles before they attack. A lion, if he's going to attack you, he ain't gonna think about it twice, he'll come right at you.
“Lions can't jump as high, and they're clumsy as hell. It's like they've got two left feet.”
READ MORE AT:http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20110114/BREAKING/110119868/2416/NEWS
WHEN: 10 a.m. Saturday
WHERE: PAL Sailor Circus, 2075 Bahia Vista Street, Sarasota
Free. More information: 922-0838
RING OF FAME
Circus Ring of Fame induction, featuring Jean “Tarzan” Zerbini, bandmaster Charles Schlarbaum, promoter Ward Hall, and Andres, Alberto and Alfredo Atayde of Mexico's Circo Atayde Hermanos
WHEN: 1:30 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: St. Armands Circle
Free. More information: 922-0838
The Great American Circus, hailed as featuring some of the best circus performers in the world today, criss-crosses the country to raise funds for Shriners Children’s Hospitals and in each city takes on the name of its host community -- and thus the Las Vegas Circus, which played here for three shows at The Orleans last weekend.
It’s a fun family adventure inside the magical world of the circus that combines strength and skills with beauty and mystery. The circus is hosted by one of the very few female ring mistresses in the circus world today. Michelle Audrey calls all the shots and directs the fun with her stars from around the world, including Poland, Romania, The Republic of Georgia and Mexico.
Those ponderous pachyderms -- or if you prefer magnificent mammals -- bring tons (and tons) of flair with their monumental maneuverings. The star is the largest performing elephant on the planet, Mighty Bo, who has learned 60 tricks.
But the real rage in the cage comes from the majestic tigers and lions with an incomparable trainer for his feline friends. The Marin acrobatic duo from the State Circus in Romania was ballet graceful suspended high above the ring with no net below. Hanging only by their feet or toes, the dynamic couple dice with danger in their unique aerial act. Another Romanian troupe of gymnasts demonstrates dazzling dexterity with routines developed decades ago as a tribute to the circus.
There are cavorting clowns and human cannonball world record holder Captain Circus, who blasts off from the booming barrel and is catapulted freestyle across the arena. The Great American Circus is a yearlong touring troupe that raises money for children and families coping with life-saving surgery and medical research.
Please support them when they perform in your city.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
SEE THE ENTIRE PHOTO COLLECTION AT:
By JACLYN MOE
Popovich Comedy Pet Theater is partnering with San Bernardino-based nonprofit group Help Every Animal League (HEAL). Outside the Sturges Center, prior to the show, the animal league will have rescued animals available for adoption from the San Bernardino City Animal Shelter.
"By having animals from shelters perform in our show, we try to send out the message that the animals are very talented, that they are great pets, and if you are looking for a new pet, you should definitely visit the animal shelters," Gregory Popovich, Popovich Comedy Pet Theater founder and performer, said.
"What makes us unique is we work around the pets' natural habits. We don't try to do hard tricks; we just create a story where the pets participate as actors in real-life situations," Popovich said.
The show also presents a variety of dancers, juggling acts, and comedy routines. The pets-versus-people theme allows for the audience to participate.
"The audience will be the judge of who is more talented, the pets or humans. At one point, each pet and person will be introduced and the audience will applaud who is more talented," Popovich said.
Born in Russia, Popovich has performed with the Moscow Circus in Europe and The Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus in the United States. He combines traditional Moscow circus traits, including European-style clowns and dancers, with his Popovich Comedy Pet Show.
"Since I grew up with the Moscow circus, I have experience with clowning and different comedy routines which I participate in with my show. I like to give the audience an old-fashioned circus atmosphere," Popovich said.
For ticket information, visit www.sturgescenter.org or call the box office at 909-885-5152. Tickets $19-45. Sturges Center is at 780 N. E St, San Bernardino.
January 14, 2011By Heather Lovejoy
Maybe you should just run off and join the circus.
But (sigh) chances are you couldn't, even if you were serious.
With the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in town starting Thursday, we looked into what it takes to be a circus performer.
Assuming you'd want one of the cool, showy jobs and don't want to be stuck doing menial labor, it would take years of training. And if you're old enough to drink, it may be too late to start.
Elena Panova, director of aerial arts at The Circus Center school in San Francisco, says the average age of her students is 19 to 20. But 16 would be the best age to start training for the physical acts, she said.
The people who tend to get contracts with major circuses are the ones with the well-rounded ability to perform several - if not all - of the acts in a show, according to Lili Gaudreau, who owns Trapeze Arts school in Oakland, Calif., with her husband, a professional flying trapeze artist.
"In the past, people didn't think that to be a circus performer, you have to be a consummate athlete," Gaudreau said. "It's now garnishing the respect that's long overdue. ... People sometimes can't believe you can do it for a job, but it's becoming more known, more accepted and, as a result, more and more competitive."
At Florida State University, which has an extracurricular circus program, the competition to land one of about 100 spots is getting harder, said director Chad Mathews. During the last auditions, there were about 50 open spots and 300 applicants, he said.
Spot performance opportunities aren't too hard to find, said Gaudreau, but it's not enough to make a living. Whether a ringmaster, animal trainer, acrobat, clown or aerial or high-wire artist, a career circus performer needs to land a full-time contract, and those in the business say it isn't easy.
Read the rest of the story at:http://jacksonville.com/entertainment/2011-01-14/story/circus-stepping-ring-isnt-nearly-easy-you-might-think
Direct from China, the New Shanghai Circus has been wowing audiences throughout the world with its amazing performances for more than 16 years.
The circus’ jugglers, acrobats, contortionists and aerialists perform incredible displays of balance and control, as well as acts of unparalleled skill and beauty, all the while dazzling audiences in their richly colored costumes.
Recognized for its gravity-defying feats, the New Shanghai Circus performers display unique and talented skills gathered from more than 2,000 years of Chinese circus tradition.
This high-energy show features the circus’ highly skilled athletes transforming into towering human pyramids, performing breathtaking balancing acts, jumping and tumbling through colorful hoops, and sensationally spinning plates, among many other routines.
The show is a presentation by the City of San Bernardino Economic Development Agency.
The California Theatre is at 562 W. Fourth Street.
Tickets range from $38.50 to $77.50 and can be purchased through www.ticketmaster.com or www.livenation.com.
For more information, call the box office at (909) 885-5152 or visit www.californiatheatre.net.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
TO THE RESCUE—Circus performer Gregory Popovich rescues animals from shelters and trains them to perform in his Comedy Pet Theater. Based in Las Vegas, Popovich is taking his pets on the road and will perform at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Jan. 14, at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. Popovich studies his pets’ personalities in order to incorporate them into the skits that they perform. The show features trained cats, dogs, geese and doves. Photo courtesy of Popovich Comedy Pet Theate
Gregory Popovich lives a dog’s life, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.
For the past 15 years, Popovich has performed with dozens of his trained dogs and cats. His show, Popovich Comedy Pet Theater, comes to the Fred Kavli Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza at 7 p.m. Fri., Jan. 14—his only Ventura County appearance this year.
Popovich and his pets have performed on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “America’s Got Talent.” Except for a few weeks out of the year when the show goes on the road, Popovich Comedy Pet Theater performs six days a week at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.
A true child of the circus, Popovich, 47, grew up surrounded by pets. His parents trained dogs for a Russian circus, and he formed a deep attachment and respect for animals.
Popovich took up the art of juggling, and in 1990 he moved to the United States to perform in Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth.
About two years later, he left Barnum & Bailey to perform as a juggler at Circus Circus in Las Vegas.
But Popovich wanted more satisfaction from his work than juggling could provide. Returning to what he knew and loved— animal training—he developed an act with a dog and cat he found at a shelter.
He wasn’t going to settle for the usual dog-jumping through-a-hoop performance. Popovich wanted a creative, unique show for American audiences. He designed a show that his pets would want to perform, studying the activities his animals enjoy and incorporating them into the show.
TV's "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" succeeded a radio show of the same name, where David and Ricky first took on the job of playing versions of themselves. (They were preceded in that role by "professional actors.") That the Nelsons of the air were also the Nelsons of the real world was crucial to the show's fanciful naturalism -- its throwaway genius -- giving the scripts' most eccentric turns an air of the everyday. "Ozzie and Harriet" is sometimes mistakenly considered an icon of idealized postwar normalcy, but the family was stranger and more singular than that. (See the clip below, in which they take on "Hamlet.")
It's easy to underestimate David's contribution to this comedy, but, just as there is no Beatles without George (or Ringo, if you prefer), he was essential to the music the Nelsons made. (More than any TV family before or since, this was a congregation of equals.) His easy and natural way with a line, if it did not portend a flourishing career in the dramatic arts, was perfectly tuned to the pitch of the parallel reality in which he lived, on radio and television, for nearly two decades. And however the "self" David played accorded or did not accord with the person he was offscreen, he inhabited the character with aplomb. It's worth pointing out, too, that although kid brother Ricky was cast as the comedian -- in the opening credits, David was described simply as "the older of the Nelson Boys," while Ricky was "irrepressible" -- David was not a straight man: He had his share of laugh lines embedded into the banter.
It's a question of balance and of teamwork. For the 1959 movie "The Big Circus," one of his rare non-"Ozzie and Harriet" roles, Nelson trained as a trapeze artist, a new skill that inevitably found its way into the sitcom (and several editions of "Circus of the Stars").
Rockholds woman to protest circus
CORBIN, KY —
An area woman will protest against the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus when it comes to The Arena Jan. 27-30.
Cynthia Reynolds, 48, of Rockholds, wants to rally against the Ringling Bros.’ alleged abuse of elephants. She said she learned of how animals were treated cruelly at the circus from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal’s website. Reynolds has an event permit for the protest, which Corbin Police Chief David Campbell has confirmed.
Reynolds said she felt called to do something about animal abuse. “It’s about more than just the circus, it’s also about the starving dogs and the neglected horses. It just really bothers me and I felt I should step up.” Reynolds contacted PETA and they gave her pointers on how to hold a demonstration.
PETA spokesperson Megan Grigorian said this demonstration would not be officially sanctioned by PETA. “People contact us constantly with helping to organize protests against the Ringling Bros.”
Grigorian said there are demonstrations in every city the circus goes to. She said, “It’s because Ringling’s record of animal abuse has people saying enough is enough, especially after learning that animals are constantly being beaten with whips and metal tipped bullhooks behind the scenes.” Grigorian added, “More and more people are refusing to go to the circus.”
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey spokesperson Sarah Gmyr refuted allegations of animal abuse by the circus. She said, “In regards to animal care, all animals receive the highest care. Audience members can see this when they come to the show. The elephants are lively, vital and full of energy.”
Reynolds said she will protest at each session of the Ringling Bros. Circus and she asks the public not to buy tickets to the performances. The demonstration will be held at the intersection of Cumberland Falls Highway and Corbin Center Drive.
Connie Hunt, director of The Arena, did not return calls seeking comment.
Adding her own flair to a simple black hat, Peggy Martin was among hundreds of people showing up to support the Venice Circus Arts Foundation at its Venice Circus Arena ribbon-cutting ceremony.
"Every circus needs a clown," was Martin's reason for her clown hat that was color coordinated with her orange foundation T-shirt.
Clowns riding cycles, a juggler, unicyclists and dancers from Attitudes in Dance all following Patty Perla aka Pattycake the Stiltwalker, who led the first circus parade on the grounds since the 1990s.
The foundation hosted the Jan. 8 event to draw attention to its goal of revitalizing and restoring the circus arena and grounds. In addition to using the arena as a venue for events, members hope to someday bring back the circus to Venice.
Emcee Karen Dove talked about the work that has already been completed since a major cleanup of the grounds started back in May, the appeals to the Venice City Council that garnered the foundation five years for their project, and the Founders' Ring, where people can make donations to help with the project.
Among those at the event to support the project were Venice Mayor John Holic, Vice Mayor Kit McKeon and former Venice Mayor Dean Calamaras.
Calamaras moved to Venice in the late 1970s, when the circus still had its winter headquarters in the city. He said he remembered trains bringing in the circus and the animals until the 1990s.
"Let's get it rebuilt, then hopefully get the circus to return," Calamaras said.
Holic remembered seeing the final circus performance and parade in Venice.
read more at: http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2011101131032
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
SUNRISE — A theater full of grown men and women did battle Tuesday over, well, a bunch of kiddie games and rides.
Ferris wheels, tiny fireman uniforms, circus equipment, robotic dogs and even the front fuselage of a Boeing 727 airplane went up for sale as part of the Wannado City auction.
The children's theme park closed last week after citing poor financial performance in its six years in operation.read more at: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/sunrise/fl-wannado-auction-folo-20110111,0,7343530.story
11 January 2011
A new year show put on by a touring circus in the Belarusian city of Vitebsk was so awful that police were called in, local media report.
Spectators suspected the Russian performers of being drunk as artistes repeatedly fell off bicycles and jugglers dropped their props.
Exotic beasts, including two species apparently plucked from the realms of fantasy, did not show up.
The circus said later the missing animals had been stopped by customs.
The director of Vitebsk's palace of sport, where the circus was performing, told Belarusian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda that the tickets would be refunded.
Igor Kalmuk added that his lawyers were working to recover the money from the circus, which reportedly left Vitebsk soon after being interviewed by police.
A Belarussian police spokesman said an investigation was under way into whether a crime had been committed.
read more at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12161449
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
The annual Louisiana Fur and Wildlife Festival
The annual Louisiana Fur and Wildlife Festival was held Friday and Saturday in Downtown Cameron. Since it's beginnings in 1955, the festival has served as a celebration of Cameron Parish and its heritage which is rooted in their natural resources. Past festivals have featured the cattle and seafood industries. This year's parade, live entertainment, and carnival honors the oil industry in Cameron Parish.
There are two show times:
4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
"The money was stolen on late Sunday night. Unknown suspects entered the circus building through a window and broke open a safe that contained over six million rubles," the spokesman said.
The cash was revenue earned by the circus from its performances over the New Year and Christmas holidays.
If the robbers are caught, they face up to six years in prison, the spokesman added.
I stopped on my way home this evening to see about the presale admission and carnival tickets now on sale at the Fair office. Turns out these tickets are really a bargain – especially if you’re planning to attend more than one day or have youngsters who can’t get enough of the carnival rides.
A General Admission 4-day pass is only $15, a savings of $9 over the individual daily ticket price. The 4-day pass for Juniors (ages 6-11) and Seniors is only $8, half of the individual ticket price. Kids 5 and under are free.
Carnival wrist bands, which let you on all the rides all day, are only $20 per day presale. They will be $25 after the Fair opens.
With the theme “Rockin’ with the 50’s,” the 119th Citrus Fair will take place at the Citrus Fairgrounds over President’s Weekend, February 18-21. A special “Kick Off” dance, featuring the Poyntlyss Sisters, will be held from 7-10 p.m. on Thursday, February 17.
The Super Shot is one of the Alpine Amusement Company rides. Submitted photo
By Kristen Kucharski For The Sun Jan 9, 2011
Selling cookies, candies and magazines are stereotypical ways to raise funds for an organization, but one Naperville family gives organizations the chance to really create magical memories while earning money for a cause.
“People are usually amazed that it costs absolutely nothing to host a carnival for their fundraiser,” says Michelle Massie, wife of Donnie Massie, who co-owns Alpine Amusement. “They usually assume they cannot afford us, when it’s truly the opposite; we offer them the greatest fundraising profit margin since they do not assume any expense!”
Michelle says Alpine Amusement actually pays a percentage to the sponsoring organization to entertain on their property.
Alpine Amusement Company began operations in May 1994. While Massie’s dad, Don, owned a few pieces since the 1970s and booked in with larger shows, it wasn’t until Donnie graduated from Northern Illinois University that they became a full-service amusement company. Alpine Amusement is based from south Naperville where Michelle and Donnie have lived for 12 years. They have a warehouse in Union Grove, Wis.
Donnie handles the day-to-day operations, including human resources, payroll, management of operations and marketing for the company. Don handles all the accounting and the behind-the-scenes analysis of the company. Michelle oversees accounts payable and assists with payroll.
“Otherwise, we depend greatly on our staff,” Michelle says. “We have been blessed with a manager who has been with us since 1994, along with other committed employees who remain loyal to us over the years.”
It's Farm Show Week!!!
It's the largest indoor agricultural show in the United States: over twenty full acres of displays, exhibits, and presentations that culminates in a weeklong celebration of the Commonwealth’s leading and most well-recognized industry - agriculture.
Each January, over 400,000 visitors from across the United States and the world come to see the best of the mid-state's wide variety of livestock, fruits, vegetables, and other agricultural products at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, which runs from January 8th through January 15th at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, just off Exit 67 of Interstate 81. The fair also hosts educational exhibits and meetings giving farmers and agricultural specialists from all over a chance to learn, discuss, and network while browsing displays of the latest farm equipment or the best farm products the Commonwealth has to offer. Since 1995, the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) has broadcast live events from the Farm Show to over 4 million Pennsylvania viewers.
Sellner’s was special to the end
The average employee at Sellner had worked for the company more than 15 years. Every department; welders, painters, fiberglass, electrical, tech support and office staff felt a great pride in building “America’s Favorite Family Amusement Rides” — right here where it all began in Faribault, Minn., USA.
Historically, 80 percent of Sellner’s new ride business came from traveling carnivals. The national recession, years of extreme weather conditions, third- and fourth-generation family ownership issues, fuel costs and increased and costly regulations have forced some of Sellner’s customers out of the business entirely; others have had to merge into corporate-owned carnivals. This merging combines ride inventory assets and decreased sales for Sellner.
The State Bank of Faribault foreclosed on the property and called all the business loans secured by its equipment, inventory and trademarks — every asset of Sellner Manufacturing Company — in 2007. At that point we began to look for an outside investor or buyer for the business. We had two main goals. Number one, to continue to provide parts and service for existing customers; and number two, to keep production here in Faribault, employing people in this community and purchasing materials from local vendors.
When all of our personal resources were exhausted the State Bank of Faribault stepped up their efforts to sell the business, finding a buyer — Texas-based Larson International. Tilt-A-Whirl parts and ride production have already begun to be relocated to Larson’s headquarters in Plainview, Texas.
It’s a terrible loss for me personally and for this community. My entire life has revolved around this business. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the greatest fabricators and meet the hardest-working people, the traveling carnival owners.
I was asked to turn over my keys to the building on Monday. I’m walking away with nothing but fond memories of growing up in a unique business of building fun machines.— Erin Sellner was president of Sellner Manufacturing Company.