Thursday, November 19, 2009

Scott And Carol Present - More From IAAPA In Vegas

The slogan for IAAPA 2009 is Bright Lights, Big Show. The show has lived up to expectations, as attendance is stable and announcements are being made from the trade show floor. The kickoff event featured the All Elvis Choir and three pioneers were inducted to the IAAPA Hall of Fame.

Frederick Thompson and Elmer “Skip” Dundy were posthumously inducted, with Carol Albert from Coney Island Astroland and Charles Denson from the Coney Island History Project accepting the awards. Thompson and Dundy were the founders of Luna Park. With its foreign theming of a whimsical nature, it could make a challenge for setting the stage for our present theme parks.

The living member is Richard Castillo, who founded Xetulul amusement park and Xocomil waterpark, both located in Guatemala. He has created common bonding entertainment for all citizens of Guatemala.

A magician created IAAPA chairpersons out of thin air, and also turned scarves into birds.

The General Managers & Owners Breakfast included members of the Blue Man Group, who introduced their founder, Matt Goldman.

Goldman talked about how much in awe of amusement parks he has become since he has a 5 year old and is partnering with Universal. He says “We take maybe 6000 people and entertain them for ninety minutes. We don’t feed them, and they rarely go to the bathroom. You guys host twenty or thirty thousand every day, and you do it well enough that they want to come back. That is incredibly amazing.” His definition of good work is “High quality work adding to the social good.”

Outside the Convention Center, the weather had turned cold. A mound of snow had appeared overnight in the parking lot. School kids were taking over the Snowmagic display, some playing on the mound and braver souls even rode down the down the ramp on tubes. A few snow balls were thrown, and even flurries were in the sky.

You can go to to see more about how this was accomplished.

Snowmaster had their machines making shapes that floated off in the breeze it was a different sight than most trade shows in Las Vegas. It has been 91 years since the show last appeared here.

Inside the hall there was lots of excitement for coaster enthusiasts.The long talked about roller museum has recently completed construction of a building.

Jeff Novotny of Larson International,, recently donated land and labor to erect a twenty-four hundred square foot expandable repository, to house the donated materials. Chairman of the Board Gary Slade sent out a call to the amusement park industry. “We would like to see the museum make its next logical steps but we need help from the industry and parks to make it happen,” he said. “We continue to secure incredible treasures of our industry’s past while continuing our mission of bringing this history to the public. They hope to have some traveling displays and you can go the to see when one might be coming to your area.

Our last item of today was a talk given by Peter Herschend. He talked about how the people of the Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation have developed a culture of “Creating family memories worth repeating.” He cited several examples, whether it was an employee who discovers a terminally ill child in the park, and makes them a “Celebrated Person” for their visit. Or maybe a bunch of employees who find out one of their own doesn’t have running water so they all give up their day off to run the water line to the house. He says, “These are things you can’t put in a policy manual, and I consider myself blessed to be working with associates like these.” As a member of the IAAPA Hall of Fame, these are good words for other park professionals to emulate.

So the show has closed for the evening, but IAAPA has added is own form of Bright Lights to Las Vegas skyline this week. See you tomorrow.