Gary Slade inducted into the NEAAPA Hall of Fame

By | March 8, 2023

Honored for his contributions to the Attractions Industry

NASHUA, N.H. — On Tuesday, March 7, 2023, Gary Slade, the owner and publisher of Arlington, Texas-based Amusement Today was inducted into the NEAAPA Hall of Fame during the group’s 110th Anniversary Education Conference and Annual Meeting in Nashua, New Hampshire.

“Through Amusement Today, Gary has been creating industry-wide awareness of stories about attractions large and small throughout our region and around the globe,” said Ed Hodgdon, NEAAPA’s Secretary. “We are proud of Gary’s accomplishments and honored to induct him into our Hall of Fame.”

Gary Slade has been a pillar in the attractions industry for 45 years, starting as a ride operator at Six Flags Over Texas in 1978. He would parlay his photography skills into a side gig by working with industry suppliers, documenting newly opened attractions that they could use in future marketing efforts. Wanting to do more in the industry, Gary took the advice of three departed Texas friends: Bruce Neal of Six Flags Over Texas; Sherrie Brammall of Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Paul Roads of Wonderland Park — each of whom encouraged him to use his newspaper background and launch a new trade newspaper for the amusement industry, and Amusement Today was born in April 1997.

He would lean on his skills learned from Texas newspaper stops in Breckenridge, Eastland, Carrollton, Duncanville and Arlington, and one AM radio station stop, to grow his publication through innovation. He created the first stock market chart for tracking park stocks on the worldwide financial markets and introduced the Golden Ticket Awards to honor the ‘Best of Best’ in the amusement industry that later grew into a full weekend event, including the awards ceremony, that continues today. His most recent innovation was a full section launch in Amusement Today dedicated to Safety, Maintenance & Operations to promote safety in the industry that remains the only industry publication with this type of targeted news coverage.

Gary was joined by his good friend, Ron Gustafson of Quassy Amusement and Waterpark as this year’s NEAAPA Hall of Fame class. Ron has been a frequent contributor to Amusement Today.

The NEAAPA Hall of Fame was established in 1998 to honor the individuals who collectively have created, grown, and pushed forth innovative family entertainment throughout the Northeastern United States and around the globe. There are 45 members of the Hall of Fame that include suppliers and operators. Formally the New England Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, NEAAPA, is now known as the Northeast’s Entertainment Association and is the oldest member association in the amusement industry, having started in 1913.

Amusement Today was founded in 1997 and is the largest independently-owned trade publication for the amusement industry, publishing 14 issues each year.