2022 IISF Trade Show prepares for
attendees, Florida Week on target
AT: B. Derek Shaw
GIBSONTON, Fla. — The 54th annual International Independent Showmen’s Foundation (IISF) Super Trade Show & Extravaganza takes place February 15-18. Part of the many “Florida Week” activities, this four-day buying opportunity for rides, games, trailers, plush, food supplies, insurance and related products and services will feature a diminished trade show and number of attendees as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. Organizers expect it to be on par with the 2021 vendor and attendee numbers.
“Florida Week,” as participants refer to the various scheduled events and activities, is put on by four different organizations. The biggest event is the trade show produced by the IISF, the fundraising arm of the International Independent Showmen’s Association (IISA). Adding to that, the 12-day Florida State Fair, always a popular option for attendees, will be in full operation during that time.
“There will be a show,” said Teresa Rimes, trade show secretary for the IISA. However, complete details were not available as of press time. It seems all the moving parts are changing daily, making it hard to nail down some of the specifics. Rimes indicated between the inside and outside vendors, there are approximately 100 companies that will be participating.
At least two manufacturers from outside the United States will be setting up at the IISF show. They include Fabbri Group from Calto, Italy, and Luna Park-Rides from Zakopane, Poland, staffed by Isabela Smith. “Perhaps in a couple of weeks, we will hear from the other ones,” said Rimes. “I still think we will have more vendors. I hope nothing changes from here [on in.]”
There is one first-time company, Shelter Event Equipment, Palos Verdes Estates, California. It will be displaying tents, generators, cable, cleaners and supplies and will be located on the outside. There are no new vendors inside.
In regard to workshops, the JKJ Workforce Agency, Inc. will be conducting an “H2B Update” session on Wednesday from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Also, the Safe SERV training will take place for four days, Tuesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. At this time there is no National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials (NAARSO) training scheduled. It had been available the past two years at the Gibtown trade show.
Masks are optional and nothing in regard to COVID-19 protocols is mandatory in the state of Florida per Governor Ron DeSantis.
The week of activities for the IISA begins Monday, February 14 with the 12th annual Big Hearted Jerry’s Memorial Golf tournament at Summerfield Crossings Golf Club. During the next four days, the trade show is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The first evening, February 15, is a trade show kickoff party with snacks, finger foods and a band. Wednesday evening is the annual Jamboree fundraiser steak dinner and auction benefiting the International Independent Showmen’s Museum building fund. During the trade show on Thursday will be another live band. Rounding out the activities on Friday will be the IISA Cemetery Association memorial service at 12 noon at the carousel pavilion with mass to follow. Also, the Showmen’s Shrine annual meeting takes place that day as well.
Many more activities will be conducted by other organizations that week.
The Fare Foods food show and National Independent Concessionaires Association (NICA) business expo will take place on Monday, February 14th and Tuesday, February 15th at the Sheraton Tampa East Hotel.
“We have a variety of events taking place beginning Monday at 1 p.m. with NICA’s educational seminars followed by the Fare Foods food show beginning at 5:00 p.m. to 9 p.m.,” said Audrey Poole, vice president of business development for Fare Foods. “NICA will be hosting additional educational seminars beginning on Tuesday morning that will continue throughout the day and lead into the Fare Foods food show that opens at 3 p.m. and concludes at 9 p.m.”
The theme this year is Thriving While Surviving.
“We once again are asking attendees to pre-register and pick a time slot that works better for them,” said Poole. “We are asking attendees to do this for both days. This was very successful last year and gave the attendees and vendors more opportunities to spend time on a more one-on-one basis. The vendor could learn more about the attendees and their products they use. This also assisted us in complying with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines and social distancing. Even though some of the restrictions are more relaxed than last year, it does allow a better traffic flow and we will be doing the same again this year.”
There are 40 vendors participating in the food show.
All attendees are asked to pre-register to avoid the $10.00 onsite registration fee that was implemented this year. People can register at www.farefoods.com/events. All proceeds from the onsite registration will be donated to the NICA scholarship foundation.
The event will conclude with the NICA annual general membership meeting on Wednesday evening, February 16, when the incoming board of directors will be installed and the introduction of the hall of fame winner, past president Tom Hodson.
The Outdoor Amusement Business Association (OABA) has a full schedule as President and CEO Greg Chiecko explained: “This year at the annual membership meeting of the OABA, we will be relaunching Circle of Excellence (COE) with our revamped Accredited Operator Program (AOP). We also look forward to recognizing our Hall of Fame and Pioneer Award recipients. Andy Deggeller (Deggeller Attractions) will become our new chair after Debbie Powers' (Powers Great American Midways) two years at the helm. We will also be voting in new directors and look forward to an update from HB Strategies, our advocacy firm from Washington, D.C.”
Other OABA activities include the government relations committee meeting, a reception honoring the 2022 Hall of Fame and Pioneer Award recipients at the International Independent Showmen’s Museum, the annual board meeting, a scholarship meeting and 6th annual Top Golf H-2B advocacy fundraiser. Rounding out their activities will be the 57th annual member meeting and chair’s reception at the Sheraton Tampa East Hotel.
The Showmen's League of America (SLA) is also having activities during the week.
“The Showmen's League will hold a scholarship meeting and board meeting during Gibtown week,” said Cindy Henning, secretary/executive director. “The advantage of Zoom meetings allows us to decrease the number of in-person meetings this year to better accommodate everyone's busy event schedule. We are also excited to unveil our new Mobile Club to our members and friends. More information to follow on that.”