Betson Enterprises announces strategic relationship with Paul Nonis to support Canadian amusement sales

By | September 22, 2021

As part of the company’s ongoing plans to raise its profile and services in the Amusement sector in Canada, Betson Enterprises is pleased to announce a strategic relationship with Paul Nonis – founder of 5IVE Rocks Advisory Group and a former executive at Cineplex Entertainment and Player One Amusement Group.

During his tenure with Cineplex, Paul developed and led the growth of the in-cinema amusement games business, operating top-tier family entertainment center brands in Canada, including The Rec Room and Playdium, and establishing countless relationships across the industry.

SpotOn raises $300 million in Series E Funding led by Andreessen Horowitz; transaction values company at $3.15 billion

By | September 22, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO — SpotOn (www.spoton.com), one of the fastest-growing software and payments companies with comprehensive solutions for restaurants and retail businesses, today announced $300 million in Series E funding, raising its valuation to $3.15 billion. The funding will be used to acquire Appetize, a leading digital and mobile commerce platform for enterprise businesses, such as sports and entertainment venues, theme parks, zoos, college campuses, and more.

The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), one of the world’s leading technology and software investors, with continued participation from current investors, including DST Global, 01 Advisors, Dragoneer Investment Group, Franklin Templeton, and Mubadala Investment Company, as well as new investors Wellington Management and Coatue Management. Advisors Douglas Merritt, CEO of Splunk, and Mike Scarpelli, CFO of Snowflake, also made individual investments. The funding comes four months after SpotOn’s Series D and increases its valuation from $1.875 to $3.15 billion, further reinforcing the company’s momentum and market potential.      

“This investment enables SpotOn to significantly increase its total addressable market, with an end-to-end platform for restaurants and retail business of all types and sizes,” said David George, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. “The acquisition is a natural fit given the companies’ complementary technology and shared focus on market-leading customer support.”

Following the acquisition, SpotOn is positioned to rapidly expand its reach to serve the middle market. SpotOn has hundreds of account executives embedded in communities across the country who will bring Appetize’s world-class technology to thousands of regional entertainment centers, stadiums, colleges, and universities in these communities.

“From our first meetings with Appetize, we knew they had great people and a great product, and the more we worked together it became clear that our two companies were stronger together,” said Matt Hyman, Co-CEO of SpotOn. “We are combining our complementary technologies, extending our market coverage and retaining our shared passion for great service and support for our clients. SpotOn is quickly becoming a part of everyday life for consumers across the country whenever they shop, dine, or visit a stadium or a college campus.”

“Appetize has built a truly special team and product that is trusted by some of the most iconic brands in hospitality, from Yankee Stadium to LSU to the San Diego Zoo. Likewise, SpotOn has earned the trust of tens of thousands of small businesses and independent restaurants with their technology and team,” said Max Roper, CEO at Appetize, who will continue running the business as part of SpotOn. “This acquisition enables our combined team to accelerate investments into our core product and client base, while expanding to fill a void in the mid-market space. By bringing the two companies together, businesses from a major league ballpark to a local clothing boutique will have access to modern, intuitive, cloud-based technology that delivers exceptional customer experiences from one trusted provider.”

The acquisition leverages SpotOn’s SMB expertise and Appetize’s enterprise acumen to focus on a broader market that is beneficial for all clients. SMBs will benefit from robust, scalable technology that can grow with them, and enterprise clients can leverage complementary products, such as sophisticated loyalty programs and expanded marketing capabilities, to increase engagement with their most valuable customers. Through these combined, complementary technologies, SpotOn is positioned to support clients of all types and sizes to manage their business now and well into the future. The transaction is expected to close by mid-September.

Dollywood’s Harvest Festival celebrates the beauty of the Smokies

By | September 21, 2021

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — Dollywood, one of America’s favorite fall family destinations, celebrates the splendor of autumn in the majestic rolling foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains during the Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 24- Oct. 30). The annual guest-favorite event includes the family-friendly Great Pumpkin LumiNights presented by Covenant Health, which has quickly become a cherished experience for parkgoers.

A longstanding family tradition for so many, the Harvest Festival greets guests with the surrounding mountainsides draped in vibrant colors. Dollywood’s landscaping and fresh décor accent the autumn atmosphere and bring the beauty right into the park, making it ripe for families to create their picture-perfect pumpkin photo ops to share with friends!

Great Pumpkin LumiNights, one of the nation’s premier family-friendly harvesttime events, provides bushels of memories for guests, thanks to thousands of glowing and carved pumpkins throughout Dollywood. For those with small children—or anyone looking for a fun, not scary experience—this event is certainly the cream of the crop. Families can bask in the glow as they wander through displays in Dollywood’s Timber Canyon, Wilderness Pass and upper Craftsman’s Valley areas. Beyond the impressive displays, guests can find a number of exciting activities to create thrilling memories together.

“Fall is a special time of year in the Smoky Mountains, because God’s handiwork is on full display for everyone to enjoy when they come to visit,” Dolly Parton, Dollywood’s Dreamer-in-Chief said. “It’s also the time when the heat of the summer fades and the crisp, cool evenings make it just right to enjoy the fresh mountain air. Some of my most treasured family memories took place during the fall, and I want our guests to make their own wonderful memories while they are here.

“Our team works so hard to bring the mountains right into the middle of the park with all those great decorations and experiences. You really are surrounded by the colors of fall the whole time you are here. It’s no wonder we won this year’s Golden Ticket award for Most Beautiful Theme Park in the whole world; no other park in the world is built right in the middle of the Smokies!”

Last season, reinvigorated decorations and visually-impactful landscaping techniques were implemented throughout the park to immerse visitors in a fresh, new look. One of the “biggest” additions to last season’s festival returns this year, as guests can peruse more than a dozen colossal pumpkins. Last year’s prize pumpkins ranged from 800 to 1500 lbs. each. The massive displays come from growers across the East Coast who look forward to sharing these gargantuan gourds with guests.  

No festival at Dollywood is complete without award-winning entertainment, and the Harvest Festival certainly delivers. With artists representing genres from Southern gospel and bluegrass to classic country and Americana, there is something to satisfy every musical taste. Performances take place on indoor and outdoor stages throughout the park, allowing the engaging sounds to echo through the surrounding hillsides and create a highly-engaging entertainment offering. Even more artists can be found roaming the park, literally taking the music to the streets! 

Among the festival headliners are CeCe Winans (Oct. 9), Pam Tillis (Sept. 29), Jimmy Fortune (Oct. 2), Shenandoah (Oct. 20-21), Karen Peck and New River (Oct. 3), Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (Oct. 4), Taylor Red (Sept. 24), Rhonda Vincent and the Rage (Oct. 14-15), Janelle Arthur (Sept. 26) and the Lee University Singers (Oct. 17). A complete schedule can be found on Dollywood.com. Additionally, the new Night Time at the Back Porch offers some of the best up-and-coming performers from the Southeast an opportunity to share their talents during the park’s evening hours. 

“Dollywood is one of our all-time favorite places to play and has been for years,” Gospel Hall of Fame member Karen Peck said. “We love how nice everyone is at the theaters and the awesome family-friendly feeling we get when we perform at Dollywood.  Sometimes, it’s like church breaks out at our concerts!”

Dollywood’s culinary team has created a smorgasbord of creations to take advantage of the bountiful supply of crops provided by the Smoky Mountain harvest. The smells of smoked bratwursts, turkey legs, or chicken and andouille sausage gumbo pair nicely with the fresh tastes of sweet potato poutine, spiced pumpkin bisque and BUSH’S three bean pumpkin chili. For sweet treats, the ever-popular pumpkin spice is in full supply with items ranging from pumpkin spice churros with pumpkin fluff to pumpkin spice salted caramel mocha iced coffee. Items like the maple pecan and bacon funnel cake, hot apple cider and the apple pie milkshake are perfect to carry and enjoy while admiring the beauty of Dollywood in the fall. 

Visiting artisans and makers display their handmade wares at locations throughout Dollywood. Many even demonstrate the talented skills and techniques they use as they create their one-of-a-kind treasures.

With so many opportunities for creating vibrant new family traditions, Dollywood’s Harvest Festival is a must-see experience this season.

Framestore announces three key promotions within its flourishing Immersive team

By | September 21, 2021

Multi-award winning creative studio Framestore is pleased to announce that Eugénie von Tunzelmann has been appointed to the newly created role of Head of VFX, Attractions whilst Lauren Anderson and Maximilian McNair McEwan join Heather Kinal as Executive Producers. This trio of promotions is a move to solidify a team of specialist experience within the Attractions offering at Framestore and set the stage for the department’s growth. 

Eugénie rejoined Framestore in January 2016 having worked in Film VFX for over 13 years with credits including Interstellar (CG Supervisor), and Man of Steel (FX Supervisor). Eugénie quickly became integral to Framestore’s Rides team, and has been instrumental in driving major theme park projects such as the Jurassic World Adventure ride at Universal’s brand-new theme park, Universal Studios Beijing and the Jurassic World VelociCoaster which recently launched at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando. With a Masters in Engineering and Computer Science, Eugénie’s background is a rare mixture of technology and science combined with creativity. Her promotion to Head of VFX, Attractions recognises her contribution in leading both the projects and the team.

Lauren Anderson joined the company in 2016 overseeing projects within the Framestore Labs department, including the development and build of a unique brand studio for Ford within New York’s Oculus building at the World Trade Center. Following a move to Immersive Lauren has produced theme park attractions for Lionsgate Entertainment World and is currently  heading up production on design and installation for national and international immersive museum projects and an unannounced dark rides project. Lauren will continue to focus on Immersive experiences under Framestore’s Attractions banner and ensure the growth of the department’s portfolio. 

Since joining Framestore in 2017, Maximilian McNair McEwan, has been driving the delivery of immersive projects including attractions and experiences for Lionsgate Entertainment World, Universal Creative and Walt Disney Imagineering. Maximilian’s new role will see him continue to manage the production workflow within the Attractions team as well as working on sales and strategy as the department continues to rapidly expand.  Before coming to Framestore Maximilian worked on blockbuster titles including Interstellar, Jon Favreau’s TheJungle Book, and War for the Planet of the Apes

“Together, Eugénie, Lauren, Max, and Heather have continued to excel in their roles, helping Framestore position itself firmly as a leader in the Immersive space,” says Lottie Cooper, Managing Director, Advertising, TV & Immersive. “As the team grows they will be at the forefront of advancing the department, taking on pioneering projects that are set to thrill audiences globally.”

ETF Ride Systems launches water ride and ETF Aqua Mover

By | September 21, 2021

ETF Ride Systems, partner for ride concepts in the leisure industry, launches its turnkey concept ‘Tiki Splash Roulette’. ETF translated its experience with dark rides into this water ride for all ages with game features, including the new ETF Aqua Mover.

ETF has been active in the worldwide leisure industry for decades with various ride concepts for theme parks, FEC’s, museums and events. With this new concept it enters the market of water parks: “We regularly got the question whether our people movers are also available on water and from now on we can say wholeheartedly ‘yes’. Our new ETF Aqua Mover is suitable for indoor water dark rides but is also included in the outdoor “Tiki Splash Roulette” concept,” says Ruud Koppens (CEO ETF Ride Systems).

During the Saudi Entertainment and Amusement Expo (SEA) and IAAPA Expo Europe the turnkey concept and the new ETF Aqua Mover will be presented. Koppens continues: “Come visit us at booths 1E58 (SEA), 1563 (IAAPA Barcelona) and you will experience what it is about. I can assure you that the “Tiki Splash Roulette is a one-of-a kind water ride that gives the water park that extra wow factor. A welcome addition next to high impact slides.”

Lagotronics Projects introduces ’Battle Arena’ a new and unique interactive flat ride

By | September 21, 2021

VENLO — Lagotronics Projects is pleased to introduce Battle Arena, a new interactive ride concept that can be installed indoors or outdoors at theme parks, amusement parks and FECs. During this battle, visitors compete with each other on three levels, while their vehicles move suddenly up and down. These unexpected movements constantly change the battlefield, making the ride very dynamic and challenging. Lagotronics Projects will present the new ride concept at the Saudi Entertainment & Amusement show in Riyad 7-9 September 2021 and during the upcoming IAAPA trade shows.

Ready for the biggest battle on every level? In the battle arena, all gondolas move up and down between the three levels, at unexpected but pre-programmed intervals. Using a joystick in their gondola, visitors can also rotate their gondolas. Through the entire attraction targets are placed. Visitors discover new targets at each level and try to hit these targets, but also the targets on their opponents’ gondolas to steal their points. ‘Bonus Targets’ are also dotted around; these targets are less visible and more difficult to hit.

Steal points from opponents
A new and additional fun element, making this a true battle, is that players are able to steal points from their opponents by hitting the targets on their gondolas. This battle can be played either by individual players, by a gondola, or with multiple gondolas in one team. Which team will win?

The integrated scoring system keeps track of all points collected by the players. At the end of the ride, players can view and compare their scores.

Queue line entertainment
An optional feature is to include visitors queuing for the ride in the battle. Players and targets in the queue line will make the battle even more exciting. This means that the challenges can come from anywhere, plus visitors waiting for the ride are being entertained, taking away the boredom factor!

Ride System
The ride system will be developed and delivered by ART Engineering, a well-known and acknowledged German ride systems company

The ride has 12 arms with one 2-seater gondola on each arm. Twenty-four players can join the battle, which is divided over three levels. The Battle Arena can be installed on a footprint of just 350 m2 (approx.).  

Interactive Attractions
Lagotronics Projects specialises in the development and installation of interactive systems for dark rides, outdoor attractions and family rides, and cooperates with different ride suppliers to provide turnkey solutions.

A good example of this cooperation is the interactive Quad Star Aerial Roundabout attraction. This ride system has been developed by Garmendale Engineering Ltd. and is already installed at Legoland Japan. Lagotronics has transformed many other family rides into interactive rides, such as a classic tower, drop tower and convoy ride (Jeep Safari), in cooperation with different ride suppliers.    

President Biden announces easing of border restrictions

By | September 21, 2021

As previously reported, IAAPA is a member of a national coalition of travel and tourism organizations, which, for more than a year and a half, have urged two administrations to pursue a science-based approach to managing our borders for international travel and workforce-related purposes. Today we have good news to report. The administration announced the easing of pandemic-related travel restrictions which will apply to all inbound international travelers. 

Starting in November – date to be determined – foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including those enrolled in clinical trials for vaccines not yet been approved, will be able to travel to the United States without the quarantine requirement. To do so, a traveler will be required to show proof of a negative test within three days before their departure. Additionally, the CDC will require airlines to collect information on passengers to help with contact tracing. 

IAAPA will continue to work with the administration and our national partners to ensure this policy is implemented swiftly. 

Update on President Biden’s Vaccination Requirements
IAAPA will send a letter to President Biden this week laying out myriad operational and liability-related questions and concerns regarding a provision requiring all employers with over 100 employees to mandate vaccinations or weekly testing, and a provision calling on large venues to require proof of vaccination or negative test results from customers. We will also ask how employers will receive timely guidance and have questions answered.

While the administration has called on OSHA to release the associated rules within two weeks’ time, that may prove to be an impossible deadline given the complexity of the mandate. In other words, the rules could be released next week, in 3 months, or even next year. In the meantime, we expect to see legal complaints filed against the federal government challenging their constitutional authority and moves made by some state governments to tackle these complex matters on their own. 

Once the rules are released, they will become effective immediately in 28 states that do not currently have a state plan. The 22 states that do have a state plan have 30 days to adopt an equally protective policy, or they will be required to adopt the federal rules. The 60-day public comment period will also commence when they are released, and the permanent ruling will be published within 6 months.

IAAPA will remain fully engaged in all the above on your behalf and will let you know when more information becomes available. 

Carousel of the Month – September 2021: Eldridge Park Carousel

By | September 21, 2021

The September carousel of the month is the Eldridge Park Carousel operating at Elmira, New York.

The newly created carousel opened in 2006 and utilizes the original Charles Loof frame and the building of the former amusement park. The newly carved horses emulate the original Loof and Carmel style of carving. It also has one Loof figure original to the carousel and one by Charles Carmel.

The National Carousel Association will visit Eldridge Park in September during its 2021 convention.

On Saturday, September 25, 2021, the National Carousel Association will be honoring the 1890s Looff Carousel located at Eldridge Park with a plaque at around 10:00am with a small ceremony.

Donald C. ‘Pappy’ Schanz — October 18, 1946 – September 11, 2021

By | September 20, 2021

Donald C. “Pappy” Schanz, age 74, of Conneaut Lake, PA passed away on September 11, 2021 at Meadville Medical Center. He was born on October 18, 1946 in Youngstown, OH to the late Gilbert K. and Mildred E. (Samuels) Schanz. He married Cheryl Schrader on June 29, 1968. She survives.

Don graduated from The Rayen High School in 1964. He attended Choffin Career Center. He was first employed by Youngstown Sheet & Tube from 1964-1978. He then was employed at Idora Park from 1980-1984 and then Conneaut Lake Park from 1984-2007. He was currently still working for Presque Isle Downs and Casino where he had been employed since 2007.

Don served in the US Army from 1966-1968. He was a proud Vietnam War Veteran.

Don was a retired Fire Chief of Conneaut Lake Park VFD and a longtime member of Classic Iron Car Club with his 1964 Dodge.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Cheryl of Conneaut Lake, PA; his daughters, Shannon Keas of Conneaut Lake, PA and Holli Schanz and her fiancée, Scott Ebbert of Atlantic, PA and his daughter-in-law, Lisa Phillips of Meadville, PA and his son, Donnie Schanz Jr of Meadville, PA; grandchildren, Kayla Phillips and her fiancé, Scott Griffith, Caitlin Thom, Brooke Martin and her fiancé, Eric Hacker, Nicholas Thom, Ava Thom and Payton Challingsworth and one great granddaughter, Harper Griffith; his sister, Mary Ann Nanosky of Austintown, OH and his brother, Edward Schanz and his wife, Joann of Austintown, OH and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his sister, LuAnn Schanz, his brother-in-law, Mike Nanosky and his nephew, Edward J. Schanz.
A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be held on Saturday September 25, 2021 from 12-2:30 pm at Tursky’s Tavern 11780 Route 618 Conneaut Lake, PA. (This will be an outside open air service.)
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to C.A.S.H. Eagles Football Boosters 302 West School Dr., Linesville, PA 16424.
Please sign Donald’s online guestbook at www.hatheway-tedesco.com.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Dickson Funeral Home and Crematory, 130 N. 2nd St., Conneaut Lake, PA 16316.

Intercard to unveil newest contactless systems in Barcelona September 28-30, 2021

By | September 20, 2021

ST. LOUIS — Intercard will attend the IAAPA Expo Europe 2021 in Barcelona. The leisure’s industry largest trade show in Europe, the IAAPA Expo will be held on September 28-30. Alberto Borrero, senior vice-president of international sales will represent Intercard at the first in-person IAAPA Expo to be held in Europe since 2019.

Intercard will feature its latest cashless technology including its e-commerce platform, the versatile i3 Reader and Shindigger, the ultimate party and reservation system. Visitors can meet with Alberto Borrero in booth #2-732 and find out why leading family entertainment centers in Europe and around the world rely on Intercard for innovative and dependable payment and management technology that boosts revenues and improves customer service.

E-Commerce Technology
In these times, social distancing is paramount for operators and customers alike. Intercard’s advanced, contactless e-commerce technology allows guests to buy game cards in the safety and comfort of their home. They print out a QR code and scan it at the Intercard iTeller in the FEC to receive a game card. There’s no need to interact with center staff. Operators can increase revenues by selling packages and memberships online and can capture customers’ contact information for future promotions. Intercard’s e-commerce platform is easy to install on a venue’s website and can be customized to fit the operator’s brand.

i3: The World’s Most Advanced Reader
Intercard’s all-in-one i3 model is the fastest, most advanced and versatile reader ever. It uses RFID, NFC and magnetic swipe technology to allow customers to pay and play using cards, wristbands or mobile devices.

Intercard develops its own software and hardware in-house. “To be at the top of technology in our industry you have to constantly track research and trends because if you take your eye off the ball, you could miss the future,” says Scott Sherrod, CEO of Intercard. “I’m 100 percent committed to this industry and the customers we serve through the software and hardware that my team and I work on every day.”

The company also offers world-wide, live, 24-hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week customer service with reps who know its technology. 

To schedule demos of Intercard’s industry-leading products and services at the show, please contact Alberto Borrero at aborrero@intercardinc.com.