Amusement park historian Bob Goldsack has died

By | September 24, 2014

Bob GoldsackNASHUA, N.H. — Robert J. “Bob” Goldsack, 82, of Nashua, passed away Wednesday morning, August 13, 2014 at St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua. Born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey, he was the son of Robert and Marguerite Goldsack. He graduated from Plainfield High School where his fellow students elected him President of his 1949 Senior Class. A graduate of Seton Hall University, Mr. Goldsack started as a copy boy and worked his way up to advertising director of the Courier-News, a one time 60,000 circulation daily Gannett newspaper in Plainfield-Bridgewater, New Jersey. While employed at The Courier-News, Bob graduated from the Newspaper Advertising Executives Management course at Columbia University in New York City and served as Chairman of the New Jersey Press Association in 1971. He was also very active in the Retail Trades Division of the Plainfield Area Chamber of Commerce, the National Retailers Association and Plainfield Jaycees. From 1962 through 1969, he and a partner owned the New Jersey Red Oaks, a very successful on the field and at the ticket office, Semi Pro football team. After 25 years with the Courier-News, Bob joined the Corporate Staff of the Thomson Newspaper chain as a consultant to the many daily newspapers owned by that corporation throughout the United States. He and his family moved to Nashua in 1978.

Mr. Goldsack accepted a position as Regional Manager of Metro Creative Graphics, a company that furnishes art work and advertising ideas to newspapers throughout the country. His territory consisted of all six New England States, New York and New Jersey. During the Korean War, he served aboard aircraft carriers during a four year Navy hitch. He was awarded the United States Korean Service Medal, United Nations Korean Medal, American Defense Medal, Good Conduct Medal and the South Korean Government’s Commerative Medal. Following the Korean War, he was involved in supplying aircraft to the French in French Indo China, which later became Vietnam. In 1953, Bob married the love of his life, Joan Stevens, a classmate from grammar and high school, who passed away in January 2008, after 54 years of marriage. They were the parents of nine children. In Nashua, Mr. Goldsack has served as a substitute teacher in the middle and high schools for 16 years. He served several terms as a director of the Nashua Historical Society and as assistant treasurer of that organization. He was a parishioner of the Parish of the Resurrection for the past 36 years. A lifetime historian and writer documenting the outdoor entertainment business, his first book The World of Mirth was published in 1984. Fourteen more books followed that including Remembering Benson’s Wild Animal Farm; A History of New England Amusement Parks; Those Big and Colorful Railroad Carnivals; A History of the Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus; and Behind the Scenes at the Eastern States Exposition – The Big E. In 2010, he produced an updated book on Benson’s Wild Animal Farm for Arcadia Publishing. Mr. Goldsack also published his own quarterly magazine “Midway Journal Illustrated” from 1996 through 2000, and was then hired by the Circus Fans of America to serve as editor and publisher of The White Tops, the organization’s bimonthly magazine. He retired from that position in 2006. For five straight years he was commissioned to write a two page historical story for “Midway Marquee,” the Outdoor Amusement Business Association’s yearbook and was often hired to write articles for various publications. He also worked as a consultant for many show business projects and gave talks throughout the country, regarding the subjects of his books and the outdoor entertainment industry in general. He also presented several courses at Rivier College for the RISE Program. His memberships in amusement organizations included the Outdoor Amusement Business Association; Showmen’s Club of Gibsonton, Fla.; Showmen’s Club of Sarasota, FL; Circus Model Builders Society; Carnival Historical Society; Caroussel Historical Society; and was very active in raising funds to build and open the Showmen’s Museum in Gibsonton, Fla. He was also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and the Korean War Veterans Association. An avid traveler, Bob and his wife toured Europe three times, steamboated several times on the Mississippi (1990) and Ohio (1993) Rivers and spent time in every state except North Dakota.

Robert was predeceased by his wife Joan and son Garrett.

Interlink’s Anderson passes away

By | September 15, 2014

Mike AndersonNEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, United Kingdom — Mike Anderson, well-known throughout the amusement and theme park industry as part of the Interlink team, passed away at the end of August.

Anderson began his career in the industry somewhat by default after he was asked to build a monorail for the UK park Flamingoland in North Yorkshire in 1983. In that same year he founded ride manufacturer Mimafab Ltd. and subsequently went on to work for Interlink in 1986/87.

Anderson’s particular areas of expertise were in engineering and fabrication, in particular with water based leisure attractions, while he also had many years’ experience in the operation of rides in parks. He managed Interlink’s UK company, working as technical and commercial director, and was also responsible for the company’s rides installation sub division. He celebrated his 70th. birthday on July 15.

SeaWorld San Diego hosts Amusement Today’s annual Golden Ticket Awards

By | September 8, 2014

Generic TicketSAN DIEGO, Calif. – In an awards’ show hosted by SeaWorld San Diego, Amusement Today announced the winners of its prestigious 2014 Golden Ticket Awards, which are presented annually to the “Best of the Best” in the amusement industry. Calculated from an international poll conducted by Amusement Today, the Golden Ticket Awards are the results of a detailed survey that is sent to a database of experienced and well-traveled amusement park fans around the world – in balanced geographical regions – asking them to rate the “bests” in 25 categories.

The poll revealed some surprises. For the first time in the 17-year history of the Golden Ticket Awards there was a new winner for “Best Amusement Park” when Europa-Park in Rust, Germany, took top honors; 16-year perennial favorite Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, came in second place. And in a tight race for “Best Landscaping,” Gilroy Gardens in Gilroy, Calif., came within one percent of the votes to nearly beat always-favored Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Va., for the first time ever.

For a complete listing of the 2014 recipients visit

Historic Belmont Park donates iconic car to museum collection

By | September 5, 2014

Restored, 1925 Prior and Church car will be a jewel in museum collection.

NRCMA-rgb-logoSAN DIEGO, Calif. — The nearly ninety year journey from iconic roller coaster to a beachside Saloon is finally ending as a coveted piece of history in the National Roller Coaster Museum.

The Prior and Church car ironically sat in front of The Coaster Saloon in San Diego for many years after it was retired from service on Belmont Park’s Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster.

The car will join an unrestored Prior and Church car from the Giant Dipper in the NRCMA collection. “We certainly want to thank San Diego Coaster Company, Belmont Park, John Renna owner of the Coaster Saloon, former members of the Save the Coaster committee and, of course, Dana Morgan, for the donation and the tireless hard work in preserving this beachfront icon of California and the amusement industry,” NRCMA Chairman Gary Slade said.

Ongoing acquisition of artifacts like this one from Belmont Park and the Coaster Saloon, which include items from Cedar Point, Six Flags New Orleans, Knott’s Berry Farm, Elitch Gardens, Circus Circus, Lakeside Park, Adventuredome, White Water Branson, Busch Gardens, AstroWorld, Morey’s Piers and Adventure City forced the NRCMA to outgrow its current facility.

“We are always looking for facilities interested in our mobile or custom exhibits. In order to continue to acquire artifacts, we need the industry to support us and to help us expand. If we don’t preserve our history for generations to come, it will be lost,” Slade said.

AT Photo  — Gary Slade

AT Photo — Gary Slade

Golden Ticket schedule now online

By | September 3, 2014

ARLINGTON, Texas — The latest schedule for attendees of the Golden Ticket Awards, to be held September 5, 6 & 7, 2014, is now available as a PDF file. Attendees are encouraged to download the file to their smartphone for reference throughout the event. A paper copy of the schedule will also be available at the event check-in table.

Golden Ticket Schedule

SeaWorld to stream the 2014 Golden Ticket Awards

By | September 2, 2014

Generic TicketSAN DIEGO, Calif. — SeaWorld San Diego will host the 2014 Golden Ticket Awards on September 5, 6 and 7, 2014. Presented by trade newspaper Amusement Today, the private, three-day event for amusement industry professionals recognizes the “best of the best” in the amusement industry.

In addition to the Golden Ticket Awards ceremony at the Mission Bay Theater and dinner with Shamu, the three-day event includes a welcome reception, behind-the-scenes tour, and a fundraiser for the National Roller Coaster Museum at Belmont Park’s Giant Dipper roller coaster. Guests will also have the opportunity to visit the U.S.S. Midway, SeaWorld Aquatica and the world-famous San Diego zoo.

Beginning shortly before 7:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on September 6, 2014, the public can watch the Golden Ticket Awards streaming live online at

The annual Golden Ticket Awards are the amusement industry’s equivalent of the Oscars, with amusement park owners and managers, ride manufacturers, and other industry officials gathering to salute the industry’s top parks. Winners were selected by amusement park enthusiasts, voting from around the world.

Host park SeaWorld San Diego is celebrating its 50th anniversary. For five decades, SeaWorld has surprised and amazed guests with unique entertainment, thrilling rides and up-close encounters with marine animals. The original SeaWorld park opened its gates for the first time in March 1964 on Mission Bay in San Diego. SeaWorld’s 18-month, 50th Celebration highlights some of the most memorable SeaWorld experiences.

Karen Oertley named Executive Director of AIMS International

By | September 2, 2014

AIMSbannerSANTA ANA, Calif. — The board of Directors of AIMS International (Amusement Industry Manufacturers & Suppliers International) is pleased to announce the appointment of Karen Oertley to Executive Director. Oertley brings nearly 30 years of industry experience to AIMS International and will assume overall responsibility for day-to-day management and operation of the association. Based in Nashville, TN, she will report to the board of directors.

“Karen brings wealth of industry knowledge and relationships along with a strong business background to AIMS. On behalf of the entire board of directors, we are thrilled to have her at the helm,” said Roger Berry, President of AIMS International Board of Directors.

Oertley’s earlier career with Amusement Business spans more than 25 years. As Publisher and Editor in Chief of the international live entertainment newsweekly, she held complete responsibility for the division and maintained a highly visible industry presence. She is the former chair of the Amusement Business/Liseberg Applause Award Board of Governors and was a member of AIMS International’s board of directors for eight years. She served on several IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions) committees including the Manufacturers & Suppliers (M&S) Committee, Small Parks Committee and Exhibit Awards Committee. She has written columns and articles on trends in the industry and has spoken at industry gatherings.

Oertley photoIn accepting this position, Oertley commented, “I am more than honored and very excited about this opportunity. I have the utmost respect for AIMS International and its mission to improve safety, which is essential to the entire industry. I see tremendous potential for the future of the organization and I look forward to working with our board to accomplish great things!”

Most recently, Oertley was Director of Marketing for Hopkins Rides and held marketing and communications responsibilities for WhiteWater. Prior to joining WhiteWater, Oertley was the Executive Director of Leadership Music, an educational non-profit organization based in Nashville. Earlier, she was Publisher of Hospitality Design magazine, based in New York City.

About AIMS International

AIMS International is a non-profit 501(c)(6) association dedicated to improving amusement Industry safety through its leadership in education. AIMS International provides training classes and certification (CEU) programs for operations, aquatics and maintenance personnel through its annual Safety Seminar and at other venues throughout the year. AIMS also serves to inform its members on legislative and other issues relating to industry.

The 2015 AIMS International Safety Seminar will be held in Orlando, FL January 11-16, 2015 with more than three hundred expected to attend. For more information about AIMS International and the AIMS Safety Seminar, please visit

Innovative Attraction Management, LLC to provide Elite Aquatic Risk Prevention Program to Atlantis Paradise Island

By | August 27, 2014

Innovative Attraction ManagementWINDERMERE, Fla. – Innovative Attraction Management, LLC (IAM) has formed a partnership with Atlantis, Paradise Island to provide the IAM Elite Aquatic Risk Prevention program at the destination resort location in the Bahamas. Their exceptional aquatic guest experience includes an unprecedented 141-acre waterscape, Aquaventure. This water experience, containing 7 million gallons of water, consists of thrilling water slides, a mile-long river ride with high intensity rapids and wave surges, 11 pools, a life-size replica of a Mayan Temple, a 7-acre snorkeling lagoon, a lazy river and special effects that add a level of excitement to the overall experience.

IAM and Starfish Aquatics Institute, LLC (SAI) formed a broad strategic alliance using their complementary strengths and expertise to create a new option for aquatic training and elite risk prevention services. The IAM Elite Aquatic Risk Prevention Program utilizes SAI’s StarGuard lifeguard program as its foundation. SAI’s programs have been in use in all 50 states in the United States and around the world since the agency was formed in the late 90’s, and together the two organizations provide the aquatic industry with client-based and cost-effective services that set the industry standard.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have this opportunity to partner with the team at Atlantis, Paradise Island” IAM President Mike Friscia said. “Their facility is incredibly unique that exceeds their guests expectations and we are prepared to exceed Atlantis expectations with the implementation of the IAM Elite Aquatic Risk Prevention program”.

The Elite program has the following features and is designed for water park and resort clients:

  • Exceeds recognized safety standards
  • Audit reviews for both lifeguards and dispatch positions
  • Aquatic incident investigation support
  • Litigation support
  • Annual pre-season park inspection and in-service training session
  • IAM/StarGuard Instructor and Instructor Trainer sessions that fit the needs of the client
  • Experiential, objective-based training that results in a certificate of completion and a site-specific license and accountability program.

HAuNTcon heads to Baton Rouge for 2015

By | August 25, 2014

Hauntcon_logoWINTER GARDEN, Fla. — The Haunted Attraction National Tradeshow and Conference, sponsored by DarkLight, is proud to announce that HAuNTcon 2015 will be help in Baton Rouge, La. at the Belle of Baton Rouge Hotel and Conference Center February 6 to 11. HAuNTcon has a group discount at the hotel and they provide free shuttle service to and from the Baton Rouge Airport to the Hotel.

Designed for haunter’s, by haunters, the 2015 conference starts early Friday morning with an all day “Inspiration” Pre Show Bus Tour of everything spooky and interesting to see in Southern Louisiana. Friday night concludes with a lights off full actor October style tour of 13th Gate and Necropolis. Saturday morning begins with haunter education and hands-on workshops sponsored by Garage of Evil. In between classes be sure to check out the HAuNTcon Tradeshow, filled with product and service providers, special effects and prop companies, costume and make up manufacturers. Saturday night concludes with the infamous HAuNTcon Costume Ball, sponsored by Froggy’s Fog.

Education, Workshops and Tradeshow continue on Sunday and continues Sunday night with a tour of Rise Haunted House. Monday morning brings a full day of in depth workshops and education and concludes with a haunt tour and Haunter’s Party at The Mortuary Monday night.

But the fun is still not over. Tuesday is filled with all day hands-on workshops designed for the serious haunter looking to take their event to the next level. Attendees can take advantage of the nightly networking in the HAuNTcon Hospitality Suite and impromptu meeting of haunters and vendors all over the hotel. There is even a Casino attached to the hotel to keep spouses entertained.

We are still finalizing things so you will not be able to get a room or buy tickets just yet, but you will very soon. Stay tuned.

This year’s event is shaping up to be the largest to date and we look forward to seeing you February 6-11 in Baton Rouge for the haunter’s convention, HAuNTcon 2015! For more information visit the HAuNTcon website.

Today is last day to book a room for Golden Ticket Awards

By | August 22, 2014

Generic TicketARLINGTON, Texas — Although registration for Amusement Today’s 2014 Golden Ticket Awards is still available at Today is the last day to book a room at the host hotel — the beautiful Hyatt Regency Mission Bay — at the Golden Ticket special rate. On Saturday morning the room block will be released and the rooms will be open to the general public. Make your reservation now at the Golden Ticket hotel web page.

To check out the itinerary, hotel information, and to register, please log on to This event is reserved for working professionals in the amusement industry. Representatives from parks and attractions, manufacturers, suppliers, consultants and more will come together to celebrate another industry season – all in the name of fun.

SeaWorld San Diego in California is planning to roll out the red carpet for industry attendees on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 5 and 6. Nearby Belmont Park will host an Opening Reception on Friday, Sept. 5, while the San Diego Zoo is extending an extra play day on Sunday, Sept. 7.

This is the 17th annual year for the Golden Ticket Awards; they are presented to the “Best of the Best” in the amusement industry and are calculated from an international poll conducted by Amusement Today.