March 2024 NICA News

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March 2024 ADVERTISERS 34 Berk Concession Supply 02 Coca-Cola 23 Colonel Jim’s Breading 15 Entegra / Heinz 14 Fanestil Meats 33 Fare Foods 32 Fiserv / Clover 12 Hummel Group 34 McGowan Allied 32 Member Classifieds 12 Mr. G’s 33 OA Finance 06 Schantz 23 Whirley DrinkWorks! CONTENTS • MARCH 2024 ARTICLES & FEATURES 04 New & Renewing Members 05 President’s Message 07 Director’s Voice 08 Riffing With Rey 10 Association Announcements 13 Thoughts From a CCE 15 The Spirit of Innovation 16 Thank You For Attending the 2024 NICA Business Expo & Food Show: “Tomorrow Starts Today!” 24 NICA Foundation Spotlight 26 Sticking With It! 29 NICA at the WFA Convention 31 From the Camera Roll... 33 2023 NICA Membership Contest Winners & 2024 Leaderboard National Independent Concessionaires Association, Inc. is a Florida Corporation with an Editorial and General Office located at 1043 E. Brandon Blvd., Brandon, FL 33511 • Off ice: (813) 438-8926 • Fax: (813) 803-8460 • Online: The information contained in this Publication is based upon sources believed to be reliable. Readers should not act without professional advice. Cover to Cover © 1993-2024 NICA, Inc. All Rights Reserved. “Tomorrow Starts Today!” NICA is a membership-driven organization dedicated to strengthening relationships with the Fair, Festival, and Special Events Industries through effective communication, education, benefits, leadership, and solutions. Thank you for attending the 2024 NICA Business Expo and Fare Foods Food Show: “Tomorrow Starts Today!” See the event coverage starting on page 16. National Something on a Stick Day is observed each year on March 28th. Find out how our Vendors are “Sticking With It” on page 26. 16 16 26 26

Tina Condit

Leon’s Texas Cuisine McKinney, TX

This Month’s Newest Members This Month’s Member Renewals

Amy Ashby

Ashby, LLC

Maupin, OR (2023)

Wesley Boyd Bierwirth

Wesley Stevens Concessions

Oklahoma City, OK (2013)

Brian Brandon

Brian’s Concessions

Downey, CA (2022)

Bary Bunts, CCE

The Apple Cart, LLC

Ellsworth, OH (2016)

Reginald Burnette

Tropical Delights

Durham, NC (2020)

Joe Cetor

Forever Concession Trailers

Mineral Ridge, OH (2016)

Raymond (Geoff) Clark

L H Ice Cream

Lincoln, NE (2018)

John Class

SAN-JON Enterprises

Ruskin, FL (2018)

Todd Desgranges

Stuart Confections, Inc.

Stuart, FL (2014)

Teresa Farnum

Giant Ice Cream Cone and Lemonade

Riverside, CA (2018)

Charmayne Fazackerley

Fazackerley’s Fudge & Candy Pathrump, NV (2017)

Rodney Fazackerley

Fazackerley’s Fudge & Candy Pathrump, NV (2017)

Reginald Ferguson WE-ART-STUFF Villa Rica, GA

Susan Fraleigh

Fluffy’s Hand Cut Donuts

Hobe Sound, FL (2020)

Tom Frazee

Frazee’s Concessions and Equipment

Comstock Park, MI (2023)

Robert Gottsche

Eastern States Exposition, Home of The Big E

West Springfield, MA (2019)

John Gray Focus Photography

Cornville, AZ (2008)

Chad Hampton

Hamp’s Concessions

Mount Vernon, IL (2021)

Jerome Hertel

Clay County Fair

Spencer, IA (2014)

Mark Hohenwald

Hohenwald Enterprises, Inc.

Oakdale, MN (2016)

Bobby Jenks

Jenks Concessions, Inc.

Vale, NC (2013)

Scottie Jeter

Malone’s Taffy

Marion, IL (2014)

Robert Julian

RTJ Concessions Inc.

Dunstable, MA (2019)

Frank Kastl

Kastl Amusements

Wildomar, GA (2018)

Chad Kolar

Kolar Concessions, LLC

Valley City, OH (2023)

Tawny Tesconi

Tesconi Event And Management Solutions Santa Rosa, CA

Donna Kramer

Floyd’s Enterprizes

Reinholds, PA (2018)

Jody Lopez

Lopez Concessions, LLC

Casa Grande, AZ (2023)

Eric Marchione

Rikley’s Concessions, LLC

Monroeville, NJ (2023)

Lee Marion

Marsalees Thai Food LLC

Fair Grove, MO (2022)

James McConnell

James McConnell Concessions

Indianola, IA (2016)

Heather Meadors

Red Team

Terre Haute, IN (2022)

Lorie Oberst

Oberst Concessions

Franklinville, NY (2018)

Bob Oberst

Oberst Concessions

Franklinville, NY (2021)

Gino Orlandi

Poppie’s Concessions

Cummington, MA (2022)

Michelle Orlandi

Poppie’s Fresh Onion Rings

Cummington, MA (2023)

Timothy Packer

Packers Concessions, LLC

Centre Hall, PA (2022)

Hari Paizis

Paizis Concessions, Inc.

Fort Smith, AR (2008)

Gene Wodzicki Color Image Designs Belleview, FL

Amie Petrovic

Charlie’s Food and Fun

Jefferson, WI (2023)

Laura Porter

Fare Foods

DuQuoin, IL (2018)

Trampas Porter

Fare Foods

DuQuoin, IL (2018)

Kenneth Ragley

Ragley Concessions

Houston, TX (2016)

Matt Ribar

Duke’s LLC

Forest Lake, MN (2018)

Robert Santorelli

Satern Associates Inc

Altamont, NY (2016)

Rebecca Santorelli

Satern Associates Inc

Altamont, NY (2016)

Tonya Sinclair Stucky

Kansas State Fair

Hutchinson, KS (1995)

Melissa Szala

Pitchfork Sausage/Butcher


Lino Lakes, MN (2023)

Greg Tomasello


Raleigh, NC (2022)

Ingo Van Styn

Euroshine USA Inc.

Brooksville, FL (2019)

Jeff Vogrin

Jumbo Iced Tea

Marysville, OH (2023)

March 2024 NICA News
Welcome to our 4 New Members! See page 33 for the 2024 NICA Membership Contest Leaderboard.
you to our 48 Renewal Members for your continued support! “Together We Can!” µ 1993-2004 2005-2009 2010-2014 2015-2023



As we wrap up our Convention Season, several of us attended Western Fairs Association, which was back in Anaheim, CA, “The Happiest Place on Earth!” While there, we had an opportunity to reunite with Fair Managers, Concessionaires, Entertainers, and many more, while engaging in several classes—two of which our Executive Director Rey O’Day taught: “Affordability Defines Perceived Value” and “Good Communication Matters.” Both were well attended as always. The most important part of WFA this year was being there to honor our Past President Daryl Whicheloe, CCE and his sweet wife Kristen, of Southern Oregon Food and Beverage, for the highest award in WFA, the Barham Award. The two of them are so deserving of this honorable award for many reasons including their outstanding commitment to the Industry itself, as well as to their fellow Concessionaires. Congratulations again!

We rolled right into 2024 with our NICA Business Expo and Fare Foods Food Show, held in Tampa, FL at the Sheraton Tampa Brandon Hotel. Coming into this year’s Expo, we knew it was going to look a bit different, as we didn’t have a Super Bowl Party to attend and Florida State Fair would not be open until Thursday after Expo. There would also not be Gibtown Showmen’s Club to attend while there, as it opened February 1316. All of these events we have had available to us the last several years, so our original thoughts were apprehensive to say the least. On Monday, February 5th, the halls were extremely quiet, but by our Annual General Membership Meeting, Monday night, we had a full room, standing room only!

Later that evening at our Legacy Dinner, we found ourselves scrambling to bring in more tables, chairs, and silverware, while Fare Foods flawlessly cooked up more fabulous food. We are truly good at what we do! Later in the evening, we had the honor to induct Past President Dominic Palmieri, CCE as our Hall of Fame Recipient. Dom and Kim have four wonderful children and

have an amazing love for this Industry. He runs Odyssey Foods in RCS, one Top-notch Carnival. He doesn’t do anything short of professional, and has always been committed to NICA, as well as all the Concessionaires around him. Congrats Dominic much deserved!

NICA had several sessions this year that were all well attended, with some standing room only. DOT is an ongoing class, as there are so many components to this, so we will continue it in different chapters as needed. Food and Beverage Trends, as well as Blue Ribbon Guest Service Tips and Communication were all well attended, too. We offered a CPR Class again this year, as last year was a packed room, but we found that CPR in Florida has run its course based on attendance. For the first time at this Expo after many years, we also offered a Food Manager ServSafe Class. It was well received and we were able to offer it at a great price thanks to our generous NICA Foundation Donors. We had many other classes to offer and are looking forward to what we will speak about at our next NICA Marketplace in Las Vegas, November 10-13 at the Tuscany Suites and Casino.

On Thursday evening, several of us joined OABA at Topgolf. We love supporting this Organization in the Industry. They are our advocate for the H-2B Program, and are working diligently for the CARE Act. We walked out of Topgolf, and as usual we unanimously said to each other, “That was a Great Time!” As we all returned home, we started the initial planning and working out of details for our upcoming NICA Marketplace, as noted above. We can’t wait to host our third Annual Event and hope that you will plan to join us!

In closing, thank you to all who attended WFA and the NICA Business Expo and Fare Foods Food Show. Our hearts and minds are full of more ideas, solutions, and information to carry us through the 2024 Fair Season. ▲

March 2024 NICA News 5


President: Kim Barr, CCE

1st Vice President: Jay Wells, CCE

Treasurer: Bryan Enloe, CCE

Secretary: Bary Bunts, CCE


Michelle Allen, CCE

Brandy Arredondo, CCE

Jacqueline Bradbury, CCE

Sandy Class, CCE

Phil Delahoyde

Dan Lusenhop

Richie O’Neil

Stacey Pittroff-Barona, CCE


Vincent Nelson, CCE

Daryl Whicheloe, CCE

Sandy Class, CCE

Don Delahoyde, CCE

Kathy Ross, CCE

Dan Lusenhop

Dominic Palmieri, CCE

Paulette Keene, CCE

Joe Potillo, Jr.

Greg Miller, CCE

Tom Sattler, CCE

Russ Harrison, CCE

Richard Busse, CCE

Tom Hodson, CCE

Jim Hodson, CCE (Deceased)

Tim O’Brien, CCE

Ron Smith

Adam McKinney, CCE

Mike Pence, CCE

Jack Woods, II, CCE

Bob Hallifax, CCE

Frank Parnell, CCE

Larry Orme (Deceased)

Larry Sivori

Rich Wright

Bill McKinney, CCE

Arthur Pokorny, Jr.

Gene O’Brien, CCE (Deceased)


Executive Director : Rey O’Day

Office & Membership Manager : Linda Frisco

Communications & Marketing Manager • NICA News Editor :

Jesse Willard

East Council & Social Media Coordinator : Jessica Gottsche

Midwest Council Coordinator :

Dennis Larson, CFE

West Council Coordinators : Don Delahoyde, CCE

Julie Dunn


President: Audrey Poole

Vice President : Daryl Whicheloe, CCE

Treasurer : Jennifer Giordano, CCE

Secretary : Rey O’Day


Reilly Berk

Carmel Dyer-Pittroff, CCE

Tom Hodson, CCE

James McConnell

Larry Sivori

Jay Wells, CCE


Bary Bunts, CCE

Ryan Collmer

Whitney Fraleigh

Ryan Hagy

Gino Orlandi

Patty Tessari

Michael Zdebiak, Jr.


Connie Boesen

Sandy Class, CCE

Bruce Kozelou

James McConnell

Richie O’Neil

Matt Ribar


Michelle Allen, CCE

Brandy Arredondo, CCE

Rodney Fazackerly

Alan Harrington

Gigi Horowitz, CCE

Ryan Long, CCE

Miki Martin

Kara Moederndorfer, CCE

Albert Valadez

Nathan Wells, CCE

Do you have any questions or would like to get involved with NICA? Contact us at (813) 438-8926 or today!


Greetings and Welcome

Back! As I’m putting my thoughts together for this article, we are coming off Convention Season.

Congratulations to Incoming President Kim Barr, CCE—I look forward to serving under your guidance. The NICA Leadership traveled to IAFE (Salt Lake City), Marketplace (Las Vegas), many State Associations, WFA (Anaheim) and Expo (Tampa). Events and Sessions were very well attended and hosted a variety of timely topics; we continue to be the “Voice in the Industry!” I even got my CPR Certification, thanks to all of those who helped sponsor to underwrite such an important lifesaving training. It was great to see so many familiar faces and have the opportunity to meet New Members and Industry Staff together.

One evening during Expo, a small group decided to leave the hotel and go out to dinner to a local’s favorite restaurant. We all met in the lobby and piled into a large SUV. As I got in the passenger seat, the music was already flowing from the stereo. We buckled up and were on our way to jump on I-75. As we hit the ramp, Past President Vinnie Nelson, CCE, from a back seat, yelled, “Punch it, give it some gas!” Naturally we accelerated to merge into the lane, pulling in behind a box truck. Shortly after, we hit a bump on the road and saw an item flying straight towards my face! My instinct was to put up my hands to protect myself, and a loud thud hit the windshield directly in front of me. The object bounced up onto the roof rack and tumbled along until it flew off the rear of the vehicle. Everyone was stunned by what had just occurred, and it was eerily silent! We only could hear the wind of the highway and realized that the music from the stereo cut out. At that point Vinnie shouted, “Oh no, that was my cell phone!” His phone, which had been connected via Bluetooth, was now out of range.

The entire car erupted into laughter! He had placed his iPhone on the hood of the car prior to getting in and thought it was in his jacket pocket.


We quickly assessed if we should try to stop and find the bruised and battered phone. It was just not safe, so we continued and found him a mobile provider that was still open for 15 minutes where he could get a replacement. The tomfoolery continued on at the restaurant. Since he had such a rough day we decided to prank him with the staff singing “Happy Birthday!” Upon arrival back at the hotel, we joined the Fare Foods afterparty and continued to razz Vinnie with another round of birthday cheer. I was truly laughing so hard I was crying—these are the memories of friendships and service that makes it worth the journey.

I feel NICA offers great benefits and valued Industry exposure for the most reasonable cost out there! Help us continue to grow the Membership by asking those around you to join. So often I find I assume everyone I know is a member, but then Tom Hodson, CCE reminds me that the reason he is so successful at bringing in new members is because he wants to be sure everyone is a member, so he simply invites everyone he meets to join NICA.

At a recent meeting we discussed that NICA as an organization has been growing, so now there is the NICA Board, four Regional Councils, the NICA Foundation, and two Conventions all organizing special events and fundraising efforts. It is somewhat confusing and overwhelming. As a Blue Jacket Director, it’s difficult to juggle all the opportunity tickets, and uncomfortable to see your friends scatter thinking, “What are they going to hit me up for next?” We are slimming down the amount of tickets that overlap and the number of long-term fundraising projects. More gatherings will be organic or have clearly defined reasons for fundraising. I feel this will encourage going to our social events just to join friends and network. Don’t get me wrong, fundraising is needed and often fun, but as your Outgoing Treasurer, I can share that NICA has stable financial footing for now.

I’d like to challenge all of you to please invite and bring someone along to the next NICA event near you. If you have any ideas on how to recruit new members or retain members please pass your ideas along to the NICA Office and they will forward your suggestions to the Membership Committee Looking forward to more “FUN”-times “Together!”

March 2024 NICA News 7



March certainly represents the passing of Winter and the emerging of Spring for all of us. Spring has many characteristics that are pertinent to us, so let’s take a look at a few of them. As we feel longer and sunnier days we “Spring up” eager to be more productive and less reflective than we were during the Winter. It suggests that we move, even jump quicker and more suddenly toward creating or initiating our preparations for the upcoming Fairs and Events Season. Staying in this verb motif, often someone will Spring an idea or announcement on us that catches us by surprise; yet for them it is the logical outcome of the reflective mood they were in all Winter. Spring is when we “Spring into action” to use the ideas we learned during our Convention Season, or during a conversation, or while reading a book, or following a hunch.

And then there is that metal coil thing we call a Spring, that no matter whether it is pressed or pulled it returns to its former shape when released, unless it doesn’t anymore, and then it is no longer a Spring. “Spring” in this case is a tool that exerts constant tension or absorbs movement; much like one of the many roles we occasionally play in our Fair Industry. And who can forget quenching their thirst with a gulp of cold Spring water? For most of

“Do You Spring?”
“Is It Spring?” or “Are You a Spring?”

us the word “Spring” brings the promise of renewal, growth, and new beginnings to our minds and throughout the nature all around us. Together let’s Fling into Spring!!

Here is some of what Spring means at NICA:

• Encouraging members to send in Vocational and Academic Scholarship applications by June 1st so they can refresh, continue, or start new on their educational goals.

• Raising the promised $50,000 the NICA Foundation has committed to award to 2024 worthy recipients.

• Committing to our Sister Organizations, OABA and IAFE, to help the CARE Act come to fruition.

• Expressing gratitude to all the Fairs who require minimal deposits so we can spend our capital money updating our businesses and readying them for upcoming events.

• Calendaring Regional Council Membership Gatherings that are inviting, fun, and informational. Put them on your calendar and enjoy the networking and fellowship.

• Holding the second meeting of the newly formed Commercial Exhibits Council.

• Filing tax returns for two corporations.

• Wondering what public reaction will be to Wendy’s rollout of “Fast Food Surge Pricing” as a solution to being more competitive and providing more flexible pricing during time frames when the customer is least likely to need/use it.

Any time we make a decision for the convenience of the organization at the expense of the guest, it is the wrong decision

8 March 2024 NICA News
Rey O’Day, Executive Director, with Marla Calico, CFE, IAFE President and CEO, and Greg Chiecko, CFE, OABA President and CEO, at the OABA Annual Meeting during Florida Week

• Inviting returning Exhibitors and looking for new Exhibitors that will strengthen the appeal of the Marketplace Trade Show to our members and attendees. Send us the contacts for your favorite Vendors (see the Save the Date below).

• Receiving unexpected news from Fairs like the Virginia State Fair who just announced it is LOWERING its rent from 20% to 17% and stock truck fees to $25 in hopes of making it a more enticing Fair with whom to do Food and Beverage business.

• Laying plans for the Annual Spring Board Meeting to be held during the Pima County Fair in Tucson, AZ where two Speaker’s Bureau products will be practiced and rolled out on “Communication Committees” and “What Is NICA?” for Industry programming.

• Hearing thoughts from our members on current topics. “Customers do NOT like extra fees on top of price and sales tax. Products are an expense, supplies are an expense, labor is an expense…these are included in our prices. Credit card fees are also an expense so quit charging them as extra fees! Just deduct them on your tax return like all the other expenses.”

This observation closed with a poetic suggestion for a sign: “Cash is great, Credit fine, however you pay it won’t cost a dime!”

—Submitted by Carol Wells

• Replacing a workhorse printer that is ready to go to pasture after many productive years.

• Hiring a Clerk with skills to assist our Office Manager and Communications Manager

• Discussing whether the public will spend more, the same amount, or less than last year. The research seems to be as conflicted as we are.

Our 2024 theme is “Tomorrow Starts Today!”

Kim and Dan both described the truth of that theme in their column pieces this month and I am delighted to share the process of that theme. All of these projects are organized through the annual Strategic Planning process by the Membership, Voice in the Industry, Benefits, and Executive Committees in collaboration with Staff, Board of Directors, and Board of Trustees. (Phew! And Spring has only just begun) …NICA invites you to Fling into Spring with us!

Keep letting us know what you want us to accomplish “Together!”

March 2024 NICA News 9


Thank You to Our Dedicated Team!

When Jesse Willard, NICA’s Communications Manager, became very ill after arriving in Las Vegas this past December, we had big shoes to fill. Jesse is in charge of all presentations and signage, but thankfully all the materials were available to finish what was already in process. Between NICA Scholarship Recipients Isabella Barona and Anibella Barona, Giant Slide and Barona Enterprises, Rebecca Wells, Pacific Crest Concessions, and NICA Staff Members Linda Frisco and Jessica Gottsche, they were able to get it done. It was a very challenging time!

The five of them spent hours the weekend before the event working on the NICA Marketplace events. We were so grateful that they not only were able to finally put the presentation and remaining signage together, but they were all so willing to help when needed. A definite team effort, and we will be forever grateful for them all helping us get the SHOW ON THE ROAD. “Together We Can and They Did!” ▲

Our Condolences to the Friends & Family of Hal Porter

We are saddened to report on the passing of NICA Member Hal Porter, Citrus County Fair Manager Hal was a manager of the Roller Barn, a roller skating rink, since 1983 and Fair Manager for the past 10 years. He was also the current President of the Florida Federation of Fairs, a member of the 4-H Hall of Fame and President of the Citrus County 4-H Foundation. For 56 years, from the first time he showed a couple of calves at the Fair and taking

home a prize when he was eight years old to his role as Fair Manager for the past 18 years, in many ways the Fairgrounds was his home.

Hal was preceded in death by his parents and a sister: Ginger Porter. Surviving are his brother: Conrad (Pam) Porter; sister: Beth (Mike) Anderson; and three nephews: Aaron Porter, Matthew (Megan) Porter, and Nathan Anderson.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial gifts be made to the Citrus County 4-H Association supporting educational programs for youth in Citrus County. Checks should be payable to: Citrus County 4-H Association (memo Hal Porter), 3650 West Sovereign Path, Lecanto, FL 34461 ▲

Registration Coming This Month for NICA Marketplace “Together!”

We are proud to announce that online registration is coming online this month for NICA Marketplace “Together!” being held November 10-13, 2024 at the Tuscany Suites and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. Take advantage of our Early Bird Pricing and a special Room Rate coming online this month at Stay tuned to NICA communications for more information and programming. ▲

10 March 2024 NICA News Do you have any announcements you would like to share? Contact us at (813) 438-8926 or

NICA Members & Staff Gathered at the PSACF/PSSA Convention

It may have been cold and snowy outside, but the atmosphere was warm, friendly and inviting inside at the 2024 Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs / Pennsylvania State Showmen’s Association (PSACF/PSSA) Convention, held January 17–20, 2024.

Several longtime NICA Members were there, and we welcomed some new ones, too. Rey O’Day,

Thanks to the help of two Executives (Rey O’Day and Marla Calico) and Patty Tessari’s grandson, we finally got our malfunctioning banner deployed!

A huge thank you to Nash, who found the missing screw!

Executive Director, presented a well attended seminar on “Board Governance” and everyone enjoyed the Opening and Closing Sessions, the Trade Show, and each other’s company during the many lobby jams held in the Hershey Lodge. Thanks to both Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs and Pennsylvania State Showmen’s Association for your hospitality! ▲


Have you attended a NICA-related event? Send your photos or coverage to

Joe Potillo, Jr., NICA Past President and IISA Incoming President, presenting a prize East Council’s Whitney Fraleigh and Ryan Collmer awarded Kelly Rivas, Top Scan, with a Free Membership! Rey O’Day, Executive Director, presenting “Board Governance” at the PSACF/PSSA Convention
March 2024
Miller, The Ringmaster, took home a $3,000 Louis Vuitton purse for his wife Emily
12 March 2024 NICA News For over 70 years we have offered only the highest quality meat products. Our products are available from Fare Foods 800-651-1601 725 Industrial Rd., Chillicothe, MO 64601  Beef, Pork & Chicken Kabobs  Specialty Kabobs  Beef Philly Steak  Marinated Ribeyes & More! Email us at or call 660-646-3600 to order samples. F Property | Fleet Liability Workers' Compensation INSURANCE PROGRAM BUILT WITH IN MIND
Phil Tommy Julie Gina Andy Lynn

Thoughts From a

This month’s Statements of Communications and Management Philosophy are from the Pacific Crest Concessions Family: Alan Barr, CCE, Kim Barr, CCE, and Nathan Wells, CCE:

Having been OwnerOperator of Pacific Crest Concessions for 36 years has given me ample time to change or modify the way I communicate and manage our business. The way I manage has not changed as drastically as the way I communicate.

While managing the business I’ve always placed the emphasis on creating a positive experience for our customers. I believe customers should be highly satisfied with the product they receive. With the cost of doing business, and the prices I need to charge on the increase, it’s more important now than ever that the customers be satisfied with their purchase. Consequently, we now routinely serve customers who originally experienced our food as children with their parents and now continue to be our customers as adults. Over the years we have modified our menu and changed the operation to maximize efficiency in order to improve the business. I embrace change if it has some benefit. Unfortunately, too many times I see changes being made on the Fairgrounds for the sake of the appearance of change. To a degree the old saying “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” has a certain amount of validity, not saying we shouldn’t strive to do better, make improvements, or try new things. But if change is only being done because it’s the popular thing to do, I fail to see the benefit. I strongly believe as a Food Vendor I should be a good partner with the Fair, and as such should have some input into decisions affecting my business. That’s not to say I expect every decision to align with my opinion, I feel my opinion should at least be considered in the process. ▲

We have always strived to communicate openly between ourselves, Fairs, and other Concessionaires. Communication in this business is key to a successful operation. We started our company in 1987 and have built it to be very successful due to communication.

We have always had a strong commitment to quality food and working hard to do well at each event we do. By doing this, you are doing well for both your company and the Fair.

We hold ourselves to a high standard when at an event. We strive when hiring to make sure they understand our commitment to the business as well. In doing so, we have always had repeat employees return year after year. We believe having a clean atmosphere makes for a successful business. We strive to always put out a quality product with each and every plate of food sent out. Our customer service is set to a high standard, making all customers have a great transaction at our stands.

We strive for the best customer service and great quality food always. ▲

My philosophy on management of a Concession Business is all about communication. As an OwnerOperator it is all about making sure the customer has the best experience while at my stand. You must always be talking to employees about stock of product and deliveries. I feel just getting to know them makes a big difference.

March 2024 NICA News 13
Nathan Wells, CCE Kim Barr, CCE Alan Barr, CCE Earned in 2023 Earned in 2018 Earned
in 2023

The Certified Concessionaire Executive Program was developed to recognize the professionalism of Concessionaires, with the title representing a deep understanding and respect for the Fair and Festival business and indicates that the titleholder will perform with the highest level of professionalism. Apply online today at ▲

14 March 2024 NICA News Regular unstuck Hot Dogs are available. Distributed by Fare Foods • 800-651-1601 • Custom Sizes Available with Volume Requirements No longer need to inventory sticks
FDA recognizes food safety advantages • Pre-Skewered Hotdogs save time and labor
10# Box:
Hot Dog
Pre-Skewered 6” (10/1)
Hot Dog
Pre-Skewered 10” (6/1)
Chicken Hot
10# Box:
Hot Dog
Pre-Skewered 6” (10/1)
Hot Dog
Pre-Skewered 10” (6/1)
meat processor located in Emporia, Kansas
Years experience in the meat business
• USDA Certified
• Over 75
Reputation for producing high quality cooked meats in the Midwest
3rd party food safety audited by SAI Global

The Spirit of Innovation

When it comes to your business, we know that every minute counts. We’ve harnessed our 150 years of baking expertise and innovation to offer you a truly no-thaw, no-proof, Freezer-to-Oven Croissant that’s delicious and flaky in 30 minutes or less. Our family of Pillsbury™ Freezer-to-Oven Croissants is now complete with two new Chocolate Croissant offerings, with a unique chocolate swirl layered into every bite. This proprietary technology allows you to work smarter, not harder. Whether you’re baking 2 or 200, serve up delicious sophistication in no time. Learn more by searching our database of recipes online at ▲

March 2024 NICA News 15
MariBeth Paglia, General Mills Foodservice
30% OFF ANY KRAFT HEINZ DISPENSER OR BUNDLE! To order, call Heinz Dispensing Solutions at 1-855-57-HEINZ You must mention code Entegra24 when placing your order to receive this special offer. 30% OFF ANY KRAFT HEINZ DISPENSER OR BUNDLE! To order, call Heinz Dispensing Solutions at 1-855-57-HEINZ You must mention code Entegra24 when placing your order to receive this special offer. 30% OFF ANY KRAFT DISPENSER To order, call Solutions at You must mention placing your order this special offer. KEYSTONE DISPENSER AVAILABLE 30% OFF ANY KRAFT HEINZ DISPENSER OR BUNDLE! To order, call Heinz Dispensing Solutions at 1-855-57-HEINZ You must mention code Entegra24 when placing your order to receive this special offer. KEYSTONE 3.0 DISPENSER AVAILABLE NOW

Cheers to the 2023 NICA Business Expo and Fare Foods Food Show! With our record numbers seen this past season, this Industry is still coming back strong. This year we are proud to celebrate the theme of “Tomorrow Starts Today!” We are also very happy to report that the event was a tremendous success with over 1,000 people in attendance

The week kicked off with a Welcome Meet and Greet Reception on Sunday evening, February 4th at our host event hotel, the Sheraton Tampa Brandon. The NICA Business Expo opened on Monday, February 5th with the popular Heartsaver CPR Class, presented by Melissa Mashaw, Tampa Bay CPR, and sponsored by NICA Foundation, Sweet Cheeks, and The Thomas Hodson Company. CPR is a

must-have skill for anyone who works or attends public social events like Fairs and Festivals. The class taught how to perform adult, child, and infant CPR, as well as other skills to prevent choking and use AEDs. American Heart Association cards were issued to all attendees upon completion.

The afternoon kicked off with a ServSafe Food Managers Class, hosted by Dave Steck, Serve It Up Safe! and sponsored by NICA Foundation, Leimon’s Pizza, and The Thomas Hodson Company. ServSafe is a required Food and Beverage training program established to ensure safety in the Foodservice Industry. All attendees who passed the ServSafe exam earned their five year Food Manager Certificate, valid in all 50 states.

Dave Steck, Serve It Up Safe! presenting the ServSafe Food Manager Class on Monday Melissa Mashaw, Tampa Bay CPR, taught the Heartsaver CPR Class to interested attendees

That evening, NICA’s Annual General Membership Meeting, sponsored by Southern Oregon Food and Beverage, began with the Call to Order by Vincent Nelson, CCE, 2023 President, an Invocation by Kathy Ross, CCE, Past President, and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Tom Hodson, CCE, Foundation Trustee. Next, Jo Reynolds, CFE, IAFE Chair, gave a greeting to the NICA Membership, sharing words of inspiration and experience as we head into the 2024 season.

Next was NICA’s Year in Review, prepared by Jesse Willard, Communications Manager, and Rey O’Day, Executive Director, which highlighted the “All In!” spirit of 2023 as NICA events continued to spread across the country as well as NICA’s Voice in the Industry. Gayle McGrath, CCE, Past Director, then spoke about the late Linda Comer, Past Executive Director.

Representatives from NICA Benefit Companies were introduced next and they greeted the attendees. Afterwards, Vincent Nelson, CCE gave his Outgoing Remarks, leading into the Passing of the Gavel Ceremony, with Installing Officer Daryl Whicheloe, CCE, Past President, and Kim Barr, CCE’s Incoming Remarks

The 2024 CCE Award Presentation followed, with Directors Bryan Enloe, CCE and Kelly Grout, CCE recognized, along with the 2023 Coca-Cola Membership Contest Drawing. The winner of the Gift of Travel Grand Prize was Roger Westmoreland, Westmoreland Concessions. Jeff Ross, CCE, Ross Concessions, won the Membership Referral Prize for $500, Gigi Horowitz, CCE, West Council, won the $500 National Leadership Prize, and 2023 President Vincent Nelson, CCE won the Championship Belt for bringing in the most New Members.

March 2024
2024 President Kim Barr, CCE, Installing Officer Daryl Whicheloe, CCE, Past President, and 2023 President Vincent Nelson, CCE Vincent Nelson, CCE, 2023 President, applauding the good work of the NICA Membership in recruiting New Members Kim Barr, CCE, 2024 President, giving her remarks during the meeting Kim Barr, CCE, 2024 President, presenting Directors Kelly Grout, CCE and Bryan Enloe, CCE with their CCE (Certified Concessionaire Executive) Certificates and Awards Gayle McGrath, CCE, Past Director, honoring Linda Comer’s legacy Directors Jacqueline Bradbury, CCE and Stacey Pittroff-Barona, CCE presenting Vincent with the Membership Belt Rey O’Day, Executive Director, and the Board of Directors recognizing the NICA Office Staff during the Annual General Membership Meeting

Kim Barr, CCE, President, asked to adjourn the meeting, and invited everyone to join in the NICA Legacy Dinner and Celebration, sponsored by Pacific Crest Concessions and R.E. Smith.

After the Legacy Cocktail Reception and Dinner, generously provided by Fare Foods, Kim Barr, CCE, President, greeted all 200 people in attendance and introduced Greg Chiecko, CFE, OABA President, and Jo Reynolds, CFE, IAFE Chair, who shared how our Sister Organizations are “Building on Strong Foundations!” Rey O’Day then took the stage to invite Jesse Willard, Communications Manager, to accept his 10 Year Anniversary Award. Trampas Porter and Audrey Poole, representing Fare Foods, also recognized all of their longtime Sponsors and Vendors in attendance and presented them with prestigious awards. It is remarkable that some of our Vendors have supported the NICA Business Expo and Fare Foods Food Show since its inception. We are grateful for their support!

Jessica Gottsche, Foundation Liaison, and Audrey Poole, Foundation President, presented

the NICA Foundation Spotlight, which opened with a video centered around Legacy Families and their stories. They next introduced their new Foundation Trustees, gave Service Plaques to Past Trustees, congratulated Past Scholarship Recipients, thanked Foundation Donors, and introduced 2023 Scholarship Recipient James MacPherson via video.

Next, Rey O’Day, Executive Director and Past Hall of Fame Recipient, narrated a slideshow of Dominic’s life. Tim O’Brien, Past President, Dennis Fraleigh, Past Director, and Dominic’s mother Marie Martinelli also took the stage to describe his life and character, with many joyous and even tearful moments. Finally, Dominic came up and gave a heartfelt speech of appreciation. Congratulations!

The evening closed out with Winner’s Hour Activities, sponsored by Fluffy’s Donuts and Jack’s Fries, which included the Pick-A-Ticket Silent Auction, Bingo, with callers Kelly Grout and Gigi Horowitz, and a 50/50 Opportunity Drawing. Congratulations to all of our winners!

Dominic Palmieri, CCE, 2023 Hall of Fame Recipient, celebrating with his wife Kim Jesse Willard, Communications Manager, was proudly presented his NICA 10 Year Anniversary Award by Rey O’Day, Executive Director Greg Chiecko, CFE, OABA President Jo Reynolds, CFE, IAFE Chair Tim O’Brien, CCE, Past President, with Rey O’Day, Executive Director Whitney Fraleigh with winner Larry McConnell, CCE, who donated his prize winnings to the NICA Foundation Jacqueline Bradbury, CCE, Director, and Kim Palmieri, Odyssey Foods, with three-time Bingo winner Marie Martinelli Fare Foods presented Service Awards to all Food Show Vendors for their long-standing commitment to the event

Tuesday’s Educational Workshops, sponsored by Brad Ribar, CCE, Meester Mikes of Coral Gables, Super Dog, and The Apple Cart, opened with the DOT Update, presented by Buddy Walls, Carrier Software, and sponsored by Hummel Group Buddy led a comprehensive exploration of the present and future landscape of the Department of Transportation (DOT), designed for both transportation professionals and others seeking a deep dive into the current trends, challenges, and innovations within the DOT framework.

Food and Beverage Trends followed, moderated by Audrey Poole and Trampas Porter, Fare Foods. Vendors included Food Show Exhibitors Alpha Baking, Berk Enterprises, Color Image Design, Gold Medal Products, Kaiser Pickles, WNA Specialty Prints, and Whirley DrinkWorks! who demonstrated popular products, addressed current Industry concerns, and took questions from the audience.

Next, a diverse group of attendees gathered for a complimentary Boxed Lunch and an

informative set of Roundtable Discussions focusing on the topics of Food Trucks, Hours and Days of Operation, Internet Infrastructure, Multi-Year Agreements, and Weather Protocols. Concessionaires and Fair Staff enjoyed each other’s company and formalized next steps as well as solutions to shared concerns.

Blue Ribbon Guest Service Tips was then presented by Rey O’Day, Executive Director, who taught essential strategies and practical tips to elevate guest service to blue ribbon standards, ensuring a memorable and exceptional experience for every attendee and empowering businesses to create an environment that not only meets but exceeds expectations.

Kim Barr, CCE, President, moderated The Next Generation is Here with Panelists Dennis Fraleigh, F&W Concessions; Ryan Hagy, East Council; Rachel Lough, Assistant Rental Director, Ohio State Fair; Nathan Wells, CCE, West Council; and Rebecca Wells, Pacific Crest Concessions. This diverse group of NICA Members discussed the answer to the

John Ariale, HB Strategies, giving the Lobbying Update on Wednesday Phil Delahoyde, Director, talking with other attendees during the Roundtable Discussions Rey O’Day, Executive Director, presenting Blue Ribbon Guest Service Tips Ryan Hagy, East Council, relating experiences on the Fairgrounds in The Next Generation is Here Steven Wrobel, Fiserv, explaining product rollouts and more in the Fiserv/Clover Update Mike Stetzel, PayProTec, and Brian Kames, 123imp, during Reducing Chargebacks Buddy Walls, Carrier Software, going in depth on new regulations in the DOT Update Cody Shol and Gene Wodzicki, Color Image Designs, in Food and Beverage Trends
March 2024
Vincent Nelson, CCE, Past President, discussing important topics in Safety and Security

question, “Where is the Next Generation coming from?” We found out that we are not looking for them anymore—they are here. They shared their viewpoints, and what that means for the Industry, as we head into the future.

The Fiserv/Clover Update closed out the evening and featured Fiserv representatives Tina Hollis and Steven Wrobel. This workshop provided valuable insights into the latest features and advancements with Fiserv/ Clover, their upcoming product rollouts including service kiosks, and tips for seamless transactions and improved business operations.

NICA and Fare Foods Leadership gathered for the Champagne Toast and Ribbon Cutting, officially opening the 2024 Food Show. This year’s Food Show showcased over 50 varied Exhibitors ranging from Food, Beverage, Supplies, Manufacturers, and more! The NICA Booth was home of many fun prize drawings for the Food Show Windfall, sponsored by NICA and Fare Foods, where tickets were drawn at the close of each Food Show group. Each attendee

who pre-registered for the event received two tickets, same day registrations received one ticket, and each attendee of a NICA Business Expo session received extra tickets as well. NICA Leadership and Staff drew the winning tickets at the NICA Booth. Congratulations to the Food Show Windfall cash prize winners for the evening—Mike Kirby and Doug Miller. The week also provided an in-person meeting space for four essential groups: NICA Board of Directors, NICA East Council, Generation Forward, and NICA Foundation Their thoughtful discussions are what propel this organization forward, with new members of each officially starting their terms.

Wednesday’s events started off with the NICA Leadership Luncheon and Meeting, sponsored by Vinnie’s Fine Foods, which brought together former and current Directors and Trustees to discuss everything NICA. Wednesday Educational Workshops, sponsored by Miller and Company, The Ringmaster, and Wells Concessions, started the day off with

NICA and Fare Foods Leadership toasting the 2024 NICA Business Expo and Fare Foods Food Show at the Food Show Ribbon Cutting Joe Betras, Whirley DrinkWorks! with new products at the Fare Foods Food Show Gina McNeil and Julie Piazza, Hummel Group Frank Rhodes, Villari Food Group Samantha Kirby and Joe Tomber, RIO Syrup Chris Bireley, Perfect Stix, showcasing their huge variety of sticks and straws

two sessions brought to us by OABA. The first session was titled Smart Transactions: Reducing Chargebacks in Your Business, presented by Bob and Brian Kames, 123iMP, and Mike Stetzel, PayProTec. This discussion aimed to enhance understanding, offered practical insights, and addressed any queries related to chargebacks, covering an overview of the concept, and providing real-life examples while discussing best practices. John Ariale, HB Strategies, followed with an in-depth OABA Lobbying Update, covering last year’s H-2B efforts and a strategic call to action for 2024.

The last Panel Discussion on Wednesday was Safety and Security, sponsored by Hummel Group, and moderated by Dan Lusenhop, Past President. Panelists included Kelly Grout, CCE, Jack’s Fries; Tasha Hyder, Clay County Fair; Vincent Nelson, CCE, Past President; and Phil Teague, Hummel Group. This Panel discussed how all sides of the Industry can work together to enhance safety at events, whether it is on the frontlines, during opening hours, or after

hours on the campgrounds. These voices from Concessions, Fair, and Insurance experts shared their experiences and ideas when it comes to ensuring that you and your property is kept safe.

The Fare Foods Food Show ran for three sessions on Wednesday to close out the event. Congratulations to Tom Hodson, CCE, Foundation Trustee, who won the $2500 East Council Vacation Package, and Food Show Windfall winners Amie Petrovic, Harold Knibbs, and Alan Barr, CCE. The NICA Foundation Trustees then gathered for the For Our Future drawing. The $0.99 prize went to Gentry Miller, the $99 prize went to Jason Bartlebaugh, the $999 went to Lori Wynn (who donated $300 back to the Foundation), and the Grand Prize of $3,899 went to Alan Barr, CCE. Congratulations!

An extra special thank you to our Speakers, Exhibitors, Sponsors, and Attendees who made this event possible. We couldn’t have done it without your continued support. If you were not able to attend this year’s event, don’t miss out in 2025. “Together We Can Start Today!” ▲

Mike Kirby won the $150 Food Show Windfall Prize, presented by Jacqueline Bradbury, CCE, Director, and Bary Bunts, CCE, Secretary Harold Knibbs won the $100 Food Show Windfall Prize, presented by Brandy Arredondo, CCE, Director Doug and Monica Miller won the $100 Food Show Windfall Prize, presented by Jacqueline Bradbury, CCE, Director Gentry Miller, The Ringmaster, and Alan Barr, CCE, Pacific Crest Concessions, won both the lowest and highest prizes respectively for the NICA Foundation For Our Future Drawing, presented by Audrey Poole, Foundation President, and Rey O’Day, Executive Director
March 2024
Tom Hodson, CCE, Past President, won the $2500 East Council Vacation Package


Brad Ribar, CCE • Hummel Group • Leimon’s Pizza

Meester Mikes of Coral Gables • Miller & Company

NICA Foundation • Super Dog • Sweet Cheeks

The Apple Cart • The Best Around • The Ringmaster

The Thomas Hodson Company • Wells Concessions


Southern Oregon Food & Beverage


The Coca-Cola Company


Fare Foods • Pacific Crest Concessions • R.E. Smith


Erie County Fair • Fare Foods • Fiserv

Galaxy Amusement Sales • NICA • NICA East Council

OABA • Poppie’s Concessions • Serve It Up Safe! • The Big E


Fluffy’s Donuts • Jack’s Fries


F&W Concessions


Fare Foods • NICA


Vinnie’s Fine Foods

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Highlights from the Legacy Celebration’s Spotlight on Scholarships

On February 7, 2024, the NICA Scholarship Foundation held its annual face-to-face meeting with the Board of Trustees. Fundraising for 2024 was discussed as well as our generous donors who have committed to supporting the Foundation through scholarships. The Foundation awarded $45,000 to Scholarship Recipients in 2023. Plans for 2024 are to exceed last year’s amount by $5,000! We appreciate all our donors and their continued support, and we would like to welcome our new Board Trustees: Reilly Berk, Berk Enterprises, James McConnell, McConnell Concessions, Jay Wells, CCE, NICA 1st Vice President, and Daryl Whicheloe, CCE, NICA Past President. They are committed to growing our Scholarship Applicant pool including Vocational Applicants. We are excited about the coming year and how the Foundation can continue to assist those to further their education.

During the program for NICA’s Legacy Dinner and Celebration, the NICA Foundation was featured in a special spotlight presentation given by Jessica Gottsche, Foundation Liaison, and Audrey Poole, Foundation President. The opening video, planned by Jeff Thornberry, CCE, Past Director, and videographer Borjan

Jaksic, Boki Food Service, featured stories by the Pittroff and Lowery families. This video was a sample of what’s planned in the coming years of documenting Legacy Families and their history. After introducing the Trustees of the Board, both in attendance and remotely, Service Plaques were presented to Founding Trustees Greg Miller, CCE and Don Kenna, who have proudly served the Foundation since 2020.

Next, the hosts expressed a thank you to our many generous donors. A generous donation of $5,000 was made by Laura and Ron Porter, Fare Foods, and a donation of $6,000 was given by John Juliano, Mellowship Entertainment, who greeted the attendees and presented their checks to the Foundation. They then congratulated all of 2023’s 26 very deserving Scholarship Recipients If you would like to join others and sponsor a scholarship in a family members name or your business, please contact any of our Trustees, the NICA Office, or see the next page for more options.

The NICA Foundation Spotlight also served as an opportunity for Past Recipients to thank the NICA Foundation and let the attendees know how it has benefited them. Audrey Poole, Foundation President, proudly introduced James

John Juliano, Mellowship Entertainment, presenting his $6,000 donation to the NICA Foundation , , with Audrey Poole, Foundation President, making their annual donation

MacPherson, 2023 25th Anniversary Scholarship Recipient, who shared his experiences by video at the event. He said, “Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. This scholarship is helping me immensely! My family has been in the Concession Business for over 100 years now with MacPherson’s Ice Cream at the LA County Fair. I am currently a Freshman at Cal State Long Beach going for my Bachelor’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice before I head off to Law School. Don’t worry, your money’s not being wasted! I have all A’s in my classes right now and I’m learning about American Government in my Political Science class, Food Law in my Frankenfood Class, and the Criminal Justice System in my Criminology Class. The money you’ve given me has helped me pay for

an entire semester, all the supplies that are needed with it, and even a little money to help pay for next semester. I can’t thank you enough for that. You’ve truly helped push me towards my dream of being a Criminal Prosecutor! Thank you again for the scholarship. It’s given me so much help. I won’t be able to thank you enough for it!”

We applaud all generations of Concessionaires who are not afraid to follow their dreams, whether it is going to college, attending Industry events, or starting their own Concession stand! It is heartwarming to know that the Scholarship Program has impacted so many people in such a positive way. We cannot thank each and every one of you enough for your commitment to the NICA Foundation ▲

Donate Today to the 2024 Scholarship Program

The NICA Foundation was created by NICA to oversee and administer an academic and vocational educational scholarship program, foster development opportunities and training services, and provide a travel stipend for first time convention attendees. The NICA Foundation will be awarding $50,000 to many deserving individuals in 2024, with over 225 Scholarship Recipients awarded since 1996!

We thank all of our generous donors for their continuing commitment to the NICA Foundation. We need your help to ensure the future success of this honored program. Please embrace the challenge to sustain NICA’s scholarship legacy and donate online today at, by mail, or by calling (813) 438-8926. Your kindness and foresight will be used to help build the foundation for future students to learn and grow! ▲

NICA Foundation Trustees Don Kenna and Greg Miller, CCE receiving their Service Plaques with Foundation Liaison Jessica Gottsche and Foundation President Audrey Poole The NICA Foundation Trustees met in person at the event: (Back) Jay Wells, CCE, Daryl Whicheloe, CCE, Vice President, Larry Sivori, and Jessica Gottsche, Liaison; (Front) Tom Hodson, CCE, Rey O’Day, Secretary, Audrey Poole, President, Jennifer Giordano, CCE, Treasurer, and Reilly Berk
March 2024
James MacPherson, 2023 Scholarship Recipient

Sticking With It!

When you think of Food at the Fair, a symphony of delightful aromas and a carnival of flavors undoubtedly come to mind. Amidst the vibrant chaos of Ferris Wheels and lively crowds, Fairgrounds offer a unique culinary adventure where creativity meets convenience. One iconic element that has stood the test of time is the humble Stick. From savory to sweet, the evolution of Fair Food has taken a fascinating turn, transforming ordinary ingredients into extraordinary treats, yet in many cases it is still anchored with the simplicity and portability of Something on a Stick. We had the privilege to speak with a few of our Food Concessionaires with various Stick-based specialties, and asked them the question, “Are you sticking with it?”

Hot Dog on a Stick was started in 1946 by Dave Barham. Three Generations later, his Granddaughter Courtney Barham is continuing the tradition of “keeping it simple,” serving Corn Dogs, Cheese on a Stick, Fries, and Fresh Lemonade at Fairs and Events throughout California. Courtney shared, “Fast, fresh, and friendly is what my Grandfather used to say. I have been doing Fairs for my entire life! We keep it as simple as possible because that way we can control quality and it makes the line go faster. We even use the same Lollipop Sticks from upstate New York. We dip all of our products to order so we serve all of our items fresh. We stomp all of our lemons right in the stand and we make our batter as needed. Probably 10 years ago everyone started adding a gazillion crazy menu items, and while it’s fun and I know that people like it, you see half of the toppings in the trash can because it’s too hard to eat.” Keeping it simple also reduces on waste, which keeps her

food costs and inventory down. So, what makes Food on a Stick so special? She said, “At the Fair there is so much to see and do, you don’t want to stop moving. It’s a fun novelty item and you can enjoy it while you enjoy the Fair. All you need is a fresh Lemonade and a Hot Dog on a Stick and you’re as good as gold!” Although they aren’t just “Hot Dogs,” she explained that while Corn Dogs are typically frozen and then just refried, her Grandfather called them that because he dipped them fresh in a special batter. Courtney added, “Rumor has it that it was my Great Grandmother’s corn bread recipe that my Grandfather had perfected.” He also switched from Oscar Mayer wieners to Turkey Dogs in the 80s after deciding to make things “healthier.” Since taking more of a role in the business over the last 15 years, she found the biggest changes to be size of the stands and the quality of employees. She said, “I don’t need 25 good people, but I DO need five good people! It must have to turn around at some point.” Courtney admitted, “We will try to keep on growing! We will always be the whitest and brightest in our primary color uniforms.” For those just starting in the business, her advice is to “keep it simple!”

Bary Bunts, CCE owns and operates The Apple Cart on the East Coast, serving Candy and Caramel Apples, Cotton Candy, Popcorn, Caramel Corn, Snow Cones, and more depending on the event: “We make them fresh every day! I never try to sell an apple that is more than a day old.” Although his Dad started the business in 1955, his Grandmother also dabbled in Concessions, blurring the line if he is Second or Third Generation. He started full-time in the mid-90s and hasn’t looked back: “Sometimes it’s overwhelming, but I look forward to traveling and

26 March 2024 NICA News

seeing everyone each year.” According to Bary, the best thing about Food on a Stick is that “You can hold it with one hand! You have one hand free so you can hold some other food or even take a picture of yourself eating it!” He added, “In fact, Cotton Candy was on a Stick back then, too! These days it’s all in bags.” Regarding the right Stick, he said, “You can definitely feel the difference.” Bary shared that he frequently reinvents what can go on an Apple: “It’s crazy how many things we put on Apples now. My Dad only made Red Candy Apples, Plain or with Nuts. He didn’t even do Sprinkles! In the last 10 years, our toppings have grown with M&Ms, Pecans, crushed Oreos and Candy, Cereal, Marshmallows, Mini-morsels, and even Bacon. My friend Patty has been trying to get me to make a Pickle Apple, too. Who would’ve thought?” He believes that people have become accustomed to more variety in the last few years, which has influenced the amount of toppings he offers: “You do have the issue of some of those toppings falling apart, though.” He tries to have his inventory delivered as often as possible to keep his Apples and other products fresh. For nonperishables he tries to stock up on supplies such as Sticks and Wraps since they won’t go bad. He shared, “For Apples, like with most produce, we’re just at the mercy of the growing season and supply and demand.” His advice to newcomers is to “Join NICA and talk to fellow Concessionaires. There is a wealth of knowledge out there. Go out there and see what other people are doing!”

Stephanie Janousek and her husband Nate run Fun Biz Concessions across the Heartland, Midwest, and West Coast, specializing in a variety of foods including Barbecue and portable foods like Kabobs, the Tater Twister, and new inventions like Fruity Pebbles Shrimp on a Stick. Stephanie is

Third Generation in the business: “My Grandfather got into it in the 60s, and my family had Pizza and Ice Cream stands and Rides. I started my own part of it in the last 10 years with the Tater Twister as my foray into Food Concessions. My husband and I met that first year, and then we started going everywhere!” They are always looking at how they can improve their business, and they pride themselves on their fresh products, too: “We’re playing the biggest events in the country so it’s not hard to keep it fresh when you’re just trying to get it out the window as fast as you can.” Stephanie added, “We make our own Kabobs in-house. We do it all ourselves so the quality is great! We also do Sausage on a Stick, Foot-long Corn Dogs, the Tater Dog, and more. We’ve even done Pickle Cheese on a Stick! We have everything you could think of for an event.” Nothing beats Food on a Stick, but things change all the time. She said, “It’s very unique! It gives you the freedom to explore the Fair and the activities going on without having to hold something with two hands. You think of going to the Fair when you think of Something on a Stick,

Courtney’s Hot Dog on a Stick Stephanie’s Fruity Pebbles Shrimp on a Stick combines sweet and savory flavors
March 2024
Bary’s variety of Caramel Apples will satisfy your sweet tooth

but to keep the interest of the new generation and influencers, it’s about coming up with a new taste. Now it’s more about unique flavors, ideas, and fusions. We try to give it a fair shot and look at the numbers for any new items.” For those just starting out, she said, “Strike up a conversation with those around you and ask as many questions you can think of—there are amazing things you can learn! Be humble, be curious, and be excited about it! This Industry has a lot of rewards if you do it right.”

Chris Taylor started Waffle Chicks seven years ago with his two sons, Spenser and Tanner, and has learned a lot about what it means to be a Concessionaire, especially from attending NICA Marketplace in the past two years: “We are very, very new! We started with one trailer in 2017, added one more in 2018, and have been operating three trailers ever since. We have a lot of really good friends that we’ve met and they have helped to guide us.” Their route includes select events in the Heartland, Midwest, and East Coast. Chris said, “Over the last few years we’ve been able to miraculously get into some of the best Fairs and Events in the country! That we have a unique product makes it that much more enjoyable.” For Chris, Food on a Stick reminds him of having fun at the Fair: “If you have two hands, you can carry two Foods on a Stick!” Their products include a variety of Stick-based foods like Chicken and Waffles, Sausage, Desserts, and Rattlesnake and Alligator Corn Dogs. Chris shared, “The only thing that changes is the length of the Stick!” In their short time in business, they’ve learned how to keep things fresh. He said, “Customers like something that’s coming right off the wall, flying right out of the fryer. It tastes better when it’s fresher. We really try to have very little extra inventory on the

Chris’s Waffle Chix and Oreo Brownie Blast on a Stick

warmer late at night. If you can avoid waste that’s the biggest part of the battle.” Chris suggested that new Concessionaires should come up with a unique item and knock on a lot of doors: “You’re not going to know until you try!”

Super Dog’s Robert Groscurth represents the Third Generation and has grown up in the business, serving a limited menu of Corn Dogs and Soft Drinks from the East Coast to the Midwest. His family has been serving Corn Dogs at Fairs for around 70 years, but not much as changed in that time. “People come by all the time asking for forks and knives, but we have to say, ‘Sorry, everything’s all Stick here.’” Robert shared, “For forever our focus has been to serve one item and be the best that you can be at it. When Grandpa started, he created our batter recipe and it’s the same recipe we use to this day. We like to maintain that perfection.” He graduated three years ago and has been on the road full-time with his Dad Rusty Groscurth, gradually starting the process to run the company himself and continue his family’s legacy. Although he has seen prices go up over the last few years, they still custom order their Sticks to support the three sizes that they offer: “Our real claim to fame is our 12 inch Super Dog; our 18 inch is called the Mega Dog. We have a single Corn Dog as well. All of our products feature a beef and pork blend; we’ve found that the all beef Hot Dogs sweat too much water in the cooking process.” For those new to the business, Robert advice was “When joining any new Industry, it’s hard to make a name for yourself. Work hard and just keep grinding!”

We are proud to have over 150 Stick enthusiasts in the NICA Membership. Your innovation and your willingness to “stick with it,” even with the many challenges you face in the Industry today is inspiring for all. “Together We Can!” ▲

Robert’s 18 inch Mega Dog will challenge your appetite

NICA at the WFA Convention

Thank you for your support and participation at NICA-related events held during the 2024 WFA Convention and Trade Show in Anaheim, CA in January. Western Fairs Association hosted their 101st convention with the theme, “Launch into the Next 100 Years!”

NICA hosted two sessions that discussed very important topics that affect everyone in the Industry. “Affordability Defines Perceived Value,” was moderated by Rey O’Day, Executive Director, and featured Panelists Daryl Whicheloe, CCE, NICA Past President, Michael Searle, Arizona State Fair, and Tawny Tesconi, Tesconi Event and Management Solutions. A Panel of both Service Members and Fairs talked through all the different factors that impact the cost of doing business, which included factors like labor costs, rent, costs of goods, utilities, rent, insurance, and hours of operation. There is a lot that goes into determining what the prices are for different things. Fairs and Service Members share a lot of the same challenges in the cost of doing business, and there

are ways that they can positively and negatively impact each other. This session focused on ways to work together to provide the guest with a reasonably priced visit to the Fair.

Rey O’Day also presented “Good Communication Matters,” that week which highlighted the importance of Communication Committees and how to improve relationships between the many entities that put on an event. Communication is the cornerstone of every good partnership. Consistent, timely, and transparent communication is the best way for building and maintaining a relationship with all of your partners. The attendees learned the value of creating Communication Committees at their Fairgrounds, and how through consistent and transparent communication, Fairs and Service Members can seek solutions that address mutual concerns.

Congratulations to NICA Members Daryl Whicheloe, CCE and Kristen Whicheloe, Southern Oregon Food and Beverage, and Dennis Forel, Balloonacy, the 2024 Recipients of the Barham Award! The prestigious Barham Award, presented in recognition of Hot Dog on a Stick founder and Past NICA Member Dave Barham, recognizes innovation, quality, and leadership in WFA’s Service

March 2024 NICA News 29
Rey O’Day, Executive Director, moderating “Affordability Defines Perceived Value” alongside Panelists Tawny Tesconi, Michael Searle, and Daryl Whicheloe, CCE

Member Division. WFA shared the following statements, which sums up the recipients’ contribution to the Industry as a whole. Regarding the Whicheloes, they wrote “Southern Oregon Food and Beverage is an excellent Concession company. The owners, Daryl and Kristen Whicheloe, are the perfect team! A couple in a strong, longterm marriage, with a close-knit family, and a wonderful story. The Whicheloes put the needs of the Industry alongside the needs of their own business by being strong advocates for what makes the entire Industry successful. They are uniquely innovative, exemplify quality, and provide leadership behind the scenes for one person or for a multitude whenever it is requested or required.”

Regarding Dennis, they wrote, “Dennis Forel has been captivating audiences for years with his exceptional balloon artistry. Dennis is, however, a man of many talents. He’s the ‘Voice of the Fair,’ ensuring attendees and staff alike know about everything that is happening on the grounds. You can also find him entertaining visitors with his

magic tricks while strolling around or greeting them from his Penny Farthing Bike. Whether it’s an early morning media spot or the final announcement of the day, Dennis is always ready to lend his support to the Fair. As an Entertainer who can provide multiple talents to a Fair, his professionalism and class are unmatched!” Congratulations again to the Barham Award Recipients and the many other award winners during the event, including Hall of Fame Recipient Rebecca Desmond, California Fair Service Authority.

Rey O’Day, Executive Director, had the honor of introducing her friends Daryl and Kristen Whicheloe to the Gala audience and had the pleasure of sharing friendship and working with Dennis Forel and Rebecca Desmond for years. She shared that she had first hired Dennis in 1976 while she was the Entertainment Director at Busch Gardens and again in 1990 at Fairplex when she was the Concessions, Commercial Exhibits, and Entertainment Manager. She also worked with Rebecca and her team at CSFA for years. Rey said, “Being present to celebrate the honoring of three very talented and deserving friends is the culmination of several decades of blessings in one moment!”

Thank you to for your support and participation in Anaheim! We look forward to next year’s WFA Convention and Trade Show See you there! ▲

30 March 2024 NICA News
Barham Award Recipients Daryl and Kristen Whicheloe, Southern Oregon Food and Beverage, accepting their award with their children and grandchildren present WFA’s Barham Award Recipients Dennis Forel, Balloonacy, and Daryl Whicheloe, CCE, Past President, with Hall of Fame Recipient Rebecca Desmond, California Fair Service Authority NICA Members and Directors at the WFA Awards Reception Sarah Cummings, WFA President and CEO, with Barham Award Recipient Dennis Forel, Balloonacy, along with WFA Directors Carolan Ferreria and Leah Perkins-Hagele

From the Camera Roll...

From the Camera Roll...

March 2024 NICA News 31
Kim Barr, CCE, President, and Alan Barr, CCE, Pacific Crest Concessions, enjoying a day at the Florida State Fair Todd Desgranges, Stuart Confections, Rodney Spivey, Spivey’s Southern Grill, Cameron Murray, Chester’s Gators and Taters, Larry Habeck, TBA Concessions, and Greg Miller, Miller and Company Phil Delahoyde, Director, Kristen Whicheloe, Southern Oregon Food and Beverage, Daryl Whicheloe, CCE, Past President, Alan Barr, CCE, Pacific Crest Concessions, Kim Barr, CCE, President, Jay Wells, CCE, 1st Vice President, Nathan Wells, CCE, West Council, Rey O’Day, Executive Director, and Rebecca Wells, Pacific Crest Concessions Ron and Laura Porter, Fare Foods, during their Hospitality Suite Phil Delahoyde, Director, with Kathy Ross, CCE, Past President, at the Legacy Dinner and Celebration Joe Cetor, Forever Concession Trailers, Josh Seivers, Seivers Concessions, and Faith McGee, Molnar’s Concessions, at the Food Show James Pope, Popes Concessions, Ron Smith, Past President, Bill Johnson, Fantasy Amusement Company, Donnie Massie, Alpine Amusement Company, and Peter Kasin, Kasin Concessions Michael and Lisa Chambers, American Food Service

“One of a Kind” 39’ Motorhome For Sale

We are retiring and have a “one of a kind” motorhome. We call her “Number 9.” It is a custom built Freightliner road tractor stretched into a 39’ motorhome, with a non-computerized cat 15-speed fuller, separate double bedroom/office, and space for additional bunks. It is the perfect Concessionaire vehicle to pull your trailer and carry all your dry goods. Must sell or possible trade. $24,900. Located in Bedford, PA. Call Steve at (814) 327-5927. ▲

Attention Members! Do you need our help?

Are you a Concessionaire or Vendor who needs to sell equipment or in need of staff? Alternatively, Is your Fair in search of the next big thing, a unique item, or even some all-around help for your Fair in Concessions or Straight Sales? We can help!

Ads start at $25 per month and are also viewable online at Contact us by email at or phone at (813) 530-4750 to learn more!

32 March 2024 NICA News
Member Classifieds
Member Classifieds


Since 2000, OA Finance has financed concession trailers that attract sales.

Make your plans, then call us.

Mark Walker

4300 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Suite 200 Fairway, Kansas 66205


Financing Your Outdoor Amusement Dreams Since 2000.

Thank you to the Coca-Cola Company for their continued Sponsorship of the NICA Membership Contest!

2023 Membership Contest Winners

Most New Members ($100, Free Membership & Belt)

Vincent Nelson, CCE, Immediate Past President

National Leadership Contest ($500)

Gigi Horowitz, CCE, West Council

Member Recruitment ($500)

Jeff Ross, CCE, Ross Concessions

Gift of Travel ($2000)

Roger Westmoreland, Westmoreland Concessions

Door Prize (Busch Gardens Tickets)

Cathy Grout, KC Concessions

2024 Membership Contest Leaderboard*

Referrals—Board of Directors

Phillip Delahoyde .................................................................. 1

* Referral Listing as of 1/31/24. See back cover for rules.

The Family of Experts Insuring Concessionaires Like You. • General Liability • Excess Liability • Commercial Auto • Inland Marine | Cargo • Employee Dishonesty • Cyber Liability • Workers’ Compensation • Active Shooter We offer 24-hour claim service and coverage unique to your business:


1043 E. Brandon Blvd., Brandon, FL 33511

Phone: (813) 438-8926

• Fax: (813) 803-8460


• Website:




q Regular Member $150

q Additional Member $100

q Employee Member $75

q Retired Member $50


Includes five Memberships in one: one Regular Member, one Additional Member, and three Employee Members ($475 value).

q Business / Group ............................................................ $400

Additional Member :

Employee Member 1:

Employee Member 2:

Employee Member 3:


Check a category below and provide a detailed description of your company’s services in the next column under Business Description.

q Food / Beverage

q Commercial Exhibitors / Retail / Merchants

q Attractions / Entertainment

q Games

q Guest Services


List all states / provinces where you conduct your business.


The NICA-sponsored $10,000 Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance Policy is provided to Regular Members. List a beneficiary and a phone number below.

Beneficiary : Phone :


A person or entity who provides services to the Concession Industry.

q Fair / Festival (over 75,000 attendance) $150

q Fair / Festival (under 75,000 attendance) $100

q Manufacturer / Distributor / Supplier $150

q Carnival / Circus Operator $150

q Association / Special Services $150


Provide a detailed description of your business, products, and/or services below. This information will be used for your entry in the annual NICA Membership Directory and as keywords to search for your business on the NICA website.

q I authorize NICA to charge the agreed amount listed above to my credit card information provided above. I agree I will pay for this purchase in accordance with the issuing bank cardholder agreement.


q I authorize NICA to make automatic renewal payments for my Membership using the credit card information above. I shall update NICA with all changes to payment information or my intent to cancel automatic renewal payments prior to my next renewal month. Applicant’s signature Date

City : State:
Mailing Address: City : State: Zip: Primary Phone Number : Cell / Secondary Phone Number : Email: Website: Age Range: q 20-35 q 35-50 q 51-70 q 70+ q Other : NICA News Preference: q Mail q Email Referred by :
q Mr. q Mrs. q Ms. First Name: Last Name: Name of Business:
Cash q Check q
Order #:
Visa q Mastercard q American Express q Discover Credit Card #: Security Code: Expiration Date: TOTAL: Signature of Credit Card Holder For Off ice Use Only Date: #: q Member Renewal
National Independent Concessionaires Association, Inc. 1043 E. Brandon Blvd., Brandon, FL 33511 Time Sensitive Mail • March 2024 Issue
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