A ride at the 2011 DARE Carnival at Garden State Plaza. Credit Chris Peters
By Myles Ma
May 3, 2012
The owner of Dreamland Amusments is looking forward to operating the mall carnival in 2013, though.
The president of the company that was planning to hold a carnival at the Garden State Plaza this summer until mall officials decided to let DARE run the event once last time said the switch was a "tremendous loss" for his company.
Bob DeStefano, owner of Dreamland Amusements, said Westfield, the operators of Garden State Plaza, put out a request for proposals in 2011 to run their annual carnival.
The mall awarded the bid to Nevada-based Dreamland, and DeStefano said he stopped looking for other work between June 7 and 17, the planned dates of the Dreamland carnival, as a result. That changed at the end of March, when Westfield opted to let DARE run the carnival one last time.
Westfield representatives did not return requests for comment.
DeStefano said it was a "disaster" to lose two prime weeks of business during carnival season.
"It's a very, very bad economical impact for us and our food concessions that were coming in there," he said.
The Dreamland carnival would have been sponsored by the NephCure Foundation, a nonprofit supporting research into debilitating kidney diseases, and two other organizations DeStefano declined to name. The organizations would have benefitted from the carnival, DeStefano said.
"I guess they're going to be out of their money as well," he said.
However, DeStefano said he never had a written contract with Westfield.
"We had many emails, many verbal agreements, site plans that were looked at and agreed to, but for some reason we did not actually have a written contract with them," DeStefano said.
Under Dreamland, the carnival would have had a circus theme, DeStefano said. Despite the setback this year, DeStefano is looking forward to bringing his brand of carnival to Paramus in 2013.
"Some things are well worth the wait, and we feel that dealing with the people at Westfield Paramus is well worth the wait," he said.
The eighth annual DARE Carnival is scheduled to open May 31. After initially learning that Westfield planned to hire a private carnival operator this year, DARE CEO Nick DeMauro was scrambling to make other plans.
But DARE and Westfield reached an agreement at the end of March to allow DARE to hold one last carnival at Garden State Plaza. As part of the deal, 60% of the proceeds will go back to Paramus.