May 2024 NICA News

Page 1

May 2024 ADVERTISERS 30 Alpha Baking 21 Brakebush Coca-Cola Colonel Jim’s Fanestil Meats Fare Foods Gold Medal Heinkel’s Packing Hummel Group JKJ Workforce 13 K&K 33 McGowan Allied 21 OA Finance 25 RIO Syrup 06 Schantz 27 Swanel Beverage 32 Whirley DrinkWorks! 23 WNA CONTENTS • MAY 2024 ARTICLES & FEATURES 04 New & Renewal Members 05 President’s Message 07 Director’s Voice 08 Riffing With Rey 10 Association Announcements 11 Thoughts From a CCE 12 Twists & Turns of the Road 14 Getting to Know Your Regional Council Members 16 Travel & Save! 18 Beyond the Bun 22 Tomorrow’s Leaders 24 Record Attendance in Pima! 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. “Today Drives Tomorrow!” 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. May is home to National Hamburger Day on May 28th. NICA is proud to have over 60 members who serve this Fair staple. See what’s “Beyond the Bun” on page 18. May also plays host to International Roadcheck and Our Roads, Our Safety Week . Learn from two of our driving experts in “Twists & Turns of the Road” on page 12. 18 12 12 18

This Month’s Newest Members

Judy Baret

JB Product Sales Inc

Clifton, NJ

Danny DeCosmo Roaming Railroad Winchester, CA

Denise Greif

The Feedshack Molalla, OR

Collette Ingalls atVenu

San Clemente, CA

Lindsey Larson

Carlton County Fair Barnum, MN

Faustino Ocampo Raspados Del Sur Hesperia, CA

Susie Robison

Made It Myself Shaved Ice Tekamah, NE

Max Stabel

Ranch House Concessions Menard, TX

This Month’s Member Renewals

June & Ronald Arner

R and J Food Concessions L.L.C.

Valencia, PA (2015)

Steve Aucoin

Aucoin Concessions

Litchfield, ME (2015)

Leonard Baginski

Durham Fair

Durham, CT (2014)

Jon Baker

Pima County Fair Tucson, AZ (2013)

Robby Barona

Giant Ride, Inc.

Roseville, MN (2015)

Lois Bender

A to Z Portion Control Meats Bluffton, OH (2007)

Jay Bohannon

Camas Concessions LLC Portland, OR (2022)

Larry Boles µ Southern Guild Bushnell, FL (1993)

Randy Brown Brown’s Concessions, Inc.

Paris, TX (2015)

Peter Carlson

Carlson Investment, LLC

d/b/a Action Lighting Bozeman, MT (2023)

Cody Cashman

Red River Valley Fair

West Fargo, ND (2023)

Suzy Cason

Oklahoma State Fair, Inc.

Oklahoma City, OK (2014)

Courtny Conkle

The Wyoming State Fair

Douglas, WY (2022)

Pat Cranston

Daryl’s Dog House

White Bear Lake, MN (2022)

Dennis Cymbalski


Peoria, AZ (2022)

Eugene Dean

Fiesta Shows

Seabrook, NH (2019)

Wendy Delano

Salem Fair

Salem, VA (2022)

Michael Dill

Dill’s Deli

Redding, CA (2015)

Jan & Karen Gary

Leap of Faith Adventures, Inc, dba JK Dots Vista, CA (2005)

Russell Heaton

Bayou Concessions Shelburn, IN (2020)

Mitch Hoss

S&H Concessions

Portland, OR (2023)

Robert Jackson

Jackson Enterprises

Dulzura, CA (2007)

Nathan Janousek

Fun Biz Concessions, Inc.

New Braunfels, TX (2021)

Curt Kluth

Saz’s Hospitality Group Milwaukee, WI (1997)

Alfonso Ledesma Ledesma Concessions

National City, CA (2019)

Brian & Katie Linville

Linville Food Service

Zanesville, OH (2018)

Mark Lovell

Universal Fairs

Cordova, TN (2021)

Brian McKay

Inland Empire Concessions Spokane, WA (2013)

Chris Miladelaroca

MK Concessions

Pinon Hills, CA (2019)

Dan Mourning

New Mexico State Fair

Albuquerque, NM (2015)

Mathew Mullen

B & M’s Famous Fry’s Milton, VT (2022)

Richie O’Neil

O’Neil Amusements LLC

St. Paul, MN (2017)

Denise Owens

Jackson County Fair Jackson, MI (2022)

Michelle Palko

Funhouse FX Denison, TX (2021)

Brandon Petree

Louis & Claire Concessions

Austin, TX (2017)

Marcy & Phil Poorman

Mr. Sticky’s Inc.

Antes Fort, PA (2014)

Erica Quintero

Woo & Q Auditing

Fresno, CA (2022)

Jo Reynolds, CFE

Warren County Fair Indianola, IA (2021)

Alejandra Salazar

State Fair of Texas

Dallas, TX (2022)

Steve Salazar

Wesley Stevens Concessions

Oklahoma City, OK (2023)

Robby Sankovich

G & G Concessions

Baraboo, WI (2023)

Pam Stokes

D’Marie, Inc.

Roseville, MN (2023)

Preston Taylor

Taylor Concessions

Monticello, IA (2023)

Sierra Weiland

Duke’s Expositions

North Freedom, WI (2023)

Sarah Williams

Mr. Sticky’s, Inc.

Antes Fort, PA (2023)

Larry Wynn

East Coast Concessions

Summerville, SC (2015)

May 2024 NICA News Welcome to our 8 New Members! See page 33 for the 2024 NICA Membership Contest Leaderboard.
Thank you to our 50 Renewal Members for your continued support! “Together We Can!” µ 1993-2004 2005-2009 2010-2014 2015-2023



Winter is quickly flying into the sunset, thank goodness! It’s been a different Winter than most. Much wetter for some, colder for others, and sunnier for those who are lucky! We are now starting to put trucks into shops for repairs/maintenance before we head south. When we first started in the Industry, we stayed in motels everywhere we traveled. It worked well at the time, as it’s not another item you have to tow down the road. After about 15 years of motel to motel, and loss of sleep because we were stuck on the second floor, the person above has lead feet and a loud mouth, and you’ve just come back from working a long day. You want to count out tills, put your daily reports together (paper back then) to turn in early the next morning, shower, and go to sleep. And... No! They’re slamming doors, talking loud, and jumping on the bed.

When my Dad passed away back in 2002, my Mom was only 57 at the time. She was so lonely, and we were short-handed for register people, so we offered her a job and she took it (silly her). She loved coming with us and our kids (her grandkids), spending time, laughing so much, and making so many new friends, as well as memories. Whenever we would have what we called a “situation,” she would tell us that we needed to write a book. Years went by and that book became many chapters in our career! We really should have written a book—it may have been a top seller!

In 2003 we bought our first RV off eBay! Hubby and our oldest Son went back to Wisconsin to pick

Bunkhouses pulling out on closing day at the Pima County Fair in Tucson before a four-day turn to open the LA County Fair in Pomona—“It’s what we do!”

Our Home Away From Home

it up, and traveled back to our home. We stayed for years in RV parks and we now prefer to stay on the Fairgrounds. It’s crazy how things change and times change. When I think back, for our family, I’m not sure how we ever stayed in motels. Just the convenience of all our own toiletries, etc. and the comforts of our home away from home, for us, makes doing this job much easier. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it is what we prefer.

Safety became a huge topic of concern last year, as we had members being robbed in RVs, and some while staying in motels. It is very important while hiring people to work during our events that we don’t share where we are staying, whether it be on the grounds or a motel. We don’t know these people or their friends for that matter. We believe this is how some of these robberies, break-ins, etc. are happening. You’re having a casual conversation, and the next thing you know, they are asking where you stay while at the event. When asked, I prefer to say that we choose to stay at different places at each event. This is not to say they can follow us if they want to, but telling them outright is not a good idea. Also, while staying on the Fairgrounds, we are being proactive by leaving lights on, as well as a TV that they can see through a window. We close all other blinds so they cannot tell if we are really in there. Leaving the radio on if you have outside speakers also seems to be a deterrent.

If you haven’t looked at your current Insurance policy in a while for your Business, Fleet, and Home, NICA has joined hands with Hummel Group! We have Business, Home, Liability, and Workers’ Compensation with them. They are a very thorough company, paying attention to detail with both Homeowners Insurance and Business. Hummel Group also provides NICA with a Health Insurance Plan and a $10,000 AD&D Policy.

As you set out to get ready for a Great Season on the Road, wherever it may take you, may your Journey be Safe, your Fairs be Amazing, and most of all, may you make many friends along the way! ▲

May 2024 NICA News 5


President: Kim Barr, CCE

1st Vice President: Jay Wells, CCE

Co-2nd Vice Presidents:

Brandy Arredondo, CCE

Stacey Pittroff-Barona, CCE

Secretary: Bary Bunts, CCE

Treasurer: Bryan Enloe, CCE


Michelle Allen, CCE

Jacqueline Bradbury, CCE

Sandy Class, CCE

Phil Delahoyde

Dan Lusenhop

Richie O’Neil


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

Office Clerk : Mary Vega

Communications & Marketing Manager • NICA News Editor : Jesse Willard

Commercial Exhibits Council Coordinator :

Jeff Thornberry, CCE

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

Mickey Venegas


Michelle Allen, CCE

Brandy Arredondo, CCE

Rodney Fazackerly

Alan Harrington

Gigi Horowitz, CCE

Ryan Long, CCE

Miki Martin

Albert Valadez

Nathan Wells, CCE

(813) 438-8926 or today!

you have any questions or would like to get involved with NICA? Contact us at



Most of us know about the great decades-old Circuses and Carnivals of our Industry, but what about the decadesold, family-owned Concession Companies? We know they’re out there. In fact, you or your family may be the story behind one of those companies. I learned at last year’s NICA Marketplace that there are many Multi-Generation Concession Companies. Some are even Fourth Generation and beyond! So, if you’re a member of a Second Generation, or beyond, Concession Business we’d love to have you share your story with NICA. I, myself, am the Third Generation of my family to be in the business, or as we used to say, “with it.” Here’s a little history about the nearly 100 years that my family has been in the Concession Business.

My grandmother had a Food Stand at some local county Fairs and Festivals starting in the early 1940s. During her largest event, the Canfield Fair in Ohio, the entire family would help her out. All of her kids, including my father, and several of her cousins, nieces, and nephews. It’s quite nostalgic to look at the old photos and see 5 cent Nehi Soda, 10 cent Hot Dogs, and 15 cent Hamburgers!

My father decided to venture into the business on his own in the early 1950s, purchasing a small “knockdown” Sno Cone Stand. That eventually led to the purchase of a small rickety Confection trailer in 1955. Things changed dramatically in 1959 when my father had his first new Concession trailer built and expanded the route into our neighboring states. We still play two of those Fairs

Are You a Legacy Concessionaire?

from 1955 and two from 1959! Additional new trailers have been added at various times almost every decade since then.

I was first put to work in a Sno Cone Stand at the ripe old age of eight! I then worked with my parents every summer until after high school. I went away to college and eventually worked in another industry for several years. Still having the Carnival blood in my veins, I often took sabbaticals during that time to assist my parents at larger events. By the mid-1990s I was spending as much time working with my parents in the Concession Business as I was at my other profession. I assumed primary control and management of the business after my father’s untimely passing in 1996. Fortunately, I was still able to work with my mother for several more years. She even spent her 90th birthday at the Canfield Fair, back at where it had all started for her and my father. It was also her 65th consecutive year at that Fair!

I eventually stopped working and consulting in the commercial AV industry that I worked in to focus solely on the Concession Business my father had created. I continued to upgrade and improve our equipment and expand the route. I added a Winter route in Florida in 2016 and I now work about 20 events a year in seven states, including four State Fairs.

So, are you, or do you know someone who is a part of a Legacy Concessionaire Family? Reach out to the NICA Office or our Editorial Staff. We’d love to share your story with our members. ▲

Bary selling Sno Cones in the 1960s The original The Apple Cart in 1955
May 2024
The Apple Cart at the Canfield Fair


Questions are like keys. The right question asked at the right time will open a door to something we don’t yet know, something we haven’t yet realized, or something we haven’t even considered.

and once we commit to something we often end up mobilizing resources, ideas, and assistance that we never imagined would come our way. It does not always guarantee success, but it does ward off living with regret for not trying. Our author believes that “what we don’t do often haunts us more than what we actually do.”

How Can I Help...? When we ask this question we are beginning a conversation and a relationship on equal footing. We are allowing others to teach us enough about their situation to enable us to help them. It shows both sympathy and empathy, which is sometimes all someone needs. In other words, in asking how we can help, we already have.

What Truly Matters...? is the question that can help us separate the truly important from the insignificant. What I call focusing on the “vital few” over the “trivial many.” It helps us maneuver through the minutiae in pursuit of the “momentous.” It is when we find ourselves at the heart of the matter.

When thinking “What is the next manageable thing I can do?” Try asking or answering one of these five questions. I find them to be very helpful when in a Guest Services moment.

In fact, I recently suggested them when I taught the Guest Services class for the IAFE Institute. My core message is that we are ALL Guests/Customers of each other in every encounter. That the way we as Fair Management, Concessionaires, and Commercial Exhibitors treat each other informs us about how to treat and serve our Fair Guests. The Golden Rule is our guide. As we barrel into our high season, these are important principles by which to live. I want to add, I am always impressed by the new young people entering our Industry and their thirst to know more about it.

Leanna Suhoversnik wrote, “The definition of stress is simply the brain’s response to any demand. Some stress can be good, and some can be bad.” It is just a part of life. We all receive many demands in our chosen work. To meet those demands, remember:

• To eat healthy

• To keep your body moving

• To laugh about something everyday

• To lower your shoulders and take a deep breath

• To break your to-do list into prioritized small parts

To close here are a few other things on my mind. According to Korn/Ferry, since 2019 the cost of eating out has increased 29%. Many are concerned that the higher prices of groceries, rent, and gasoline have become the “new normal.”

When I asked a retired gentleman what he liked about volunteering at the Fair, he replied for “16 days I do not have to figure out what I am going to do today!”

OABA has told us clearly that if we want both the CARE Act (HR 1787) and RIDE Act (S 4040) to become law we need to call and write our Congressional Representatives. While we are all well intentioned, most of us do not accomplish this kind of request. During our Spring Board Meeting we stopped for an hour, each picked up our phones, individually made the calls/appointments, and Vincent Nelson, CCE, Past President, shared a letter we could use as a template to send off as a follow up. Try it at the next Fair Gathering or Meeting you attend. It felt good to do together.

The State Fair of Virginia lowered its food and beverage rent from 20% to 17%, along with lowering their stock truck and golf cart fees. Thank you Marlene Joliffe, CFE and staff for listening!

I know YOU make our Fairs a special place! Carry on...

May 2024 NICA News 9
Audrey Poole, Foundation President, giving her presentation to the NICA Board at the Spring Board Meeting via Zoom The NICA Board and Staff (and Past President Dominic) taking a well-deserved lunch break during Spring Workshop


Our Condolences to the Family & Friends of Milo Franks

We are saddened to announce the passing of Concessionaire Milo Franks, owner and operator of Milo’s Corn Dogs, known by many as “The Corn Dog King.”

On April 11th, at 12:05 AM, Heaven gained another Amazing Legend with Milo William Franks, age 74, of Pilot Hill, CA. Milo had been in the Fair Industry as a Food Vendor since 1970, with Milo’s celebrating its 54th year in 2024. He once said in a TV interview, “I wouldn’t keep coming back if I didn’t enjoy myself! I have a lot of friends that I have met here and the Fair has grown. Back in my day, you needed a truck, a hitch, and a box to put your money in. Now, it’s a whole new ball game.”

He started in the early 1970s selling “Freeze Kup,” and has sold almost every food since. Milo ultimately settled on his niche of Corn Dogs and Pizza, but his business career is a summary of innovations. He even created Milo’s Corndog Batter from collaboration and experimentation with a chemist. He was the first to build and use outside counters, initially implemented at the California State Fair; the first in creating visitor flash with 360 degree LED signage; and the first to design and build a double-decker pizza trailer that is the only one of its kind. He was a member of many organizations including NICA, serving on its West Council, and he was honored in 2023 with the Barham Award

Past President Daryl Whicheloe, CCE was honored to be one of the eulogists at Milo’s Celebration of Life on Sunday, April 28th. He will be sincerely missed. Charitable donations may be made in Milo’s honor to CAW Club at Golden Sierra High School, 5101 Garden Valley Rd., Garden Valley, CA 95633. ▲

Mark Your Calendars for the 2025 NICA Business Expo & Fare Foods Food Show: February 10-12, 2025

We are excited to announce the dates for the 2025 NICA Business Expo and Fare Foods Food Show, February 10-12, 2025 in Tampa, FL. Fare Foods and NICA will once again hold their event during the same week as OABA and IISA, starting on Sunday, February 9th. Stay tuned to NICA Communications for more information! ▲


Band of Brothers” Supports the NICA Foundation

The NICA Foundation received great news last month from Foundation Trustee Tom Hodson, CCE about an idea he had that could help fund NICA Foundation Scholarships for $5,000 per year for a period of five years. He soon received the support of 10 other Concessionaires who were also both Masons and NICA Members, and “A Band of Brothers” was born. This group is made of Pat Armstrong, Cornbelt Concessions, Ray Bianco, Bianco’s Foods, Richie George, CCE, George’s Fun Foods, Rusty Groscurth, Super Dog, Tom Hodson, CCE, The Thomas Hodson Company, Butch Ivory, CCE, Famous Gabby’s, Michael and Shawn Miller, Miller Foods, Ronnie Netterfield, Netterfields Popcorn and Lemonade, Ron Smith, RE Smith, and Larry Wynn, East Coast Concessions. With the help of these generous donors, along with the commitments of both new and longtime supporters, the NICA Foundation will continue building a brighter future for our Industry. ▲

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

Thoughts From a

This month’s Statements of Communications and Management Philosophy are from the West Council’s Michelle Allen, CCE, Funnel Cake Express, and Gigi Horowitz, CCE, Fun Time Foods:

Michelle Allen, CCE

CCE Earned in 2023

Gigi Horowitz, CCE

CCE 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. Join the 87 Concessionaires (and counting) who have earned their CCE Designation and have furthered their own level of professionalism! To get started, visit the CCE website at to apply. ▲



With Spring Season in full bloom, the roads are home to many Concessionaires in various states of preparation for their season. Every year in May, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) holds the International Roadcheck, scheduled May 14-16 this year, with an emphasis on tractor protection systems and controlled substance and alcohol possession or use. We had a chance to speak with two experts in the field with regards to the twists and turns of the road and how to protect yourself and others while you drive.

Buddy Walls, Carrier Software, has presented at NICA’s last two conventions regarding DOT and Safety. He began his career in the insurance industry, before eventually starting his own Trucking Insurance Agency in the 1980s. He shared, “I sold truck insurance to make a living, but safety became my passion. I made it a point to be available onsite for DOT audits to better understand the importance of safety. I wanted to know everything I could about DOT compliance.” He joined Carrier Software in 2015 and became a North American Transportation Management Institute Certified Director of Safety (NATMI CDS) in 2022. His biggest safety concerns this year are a “mix of things.” He identified Insurance Costs, Hours of Service (HOS) Compliance, Unsafe Driving, Vehicle Maintenance, and Drug and Alcohol Testing as some of the biggest challenges on the road. Buddy noted, “There are a lot of moving parts, but anything within the compliance end is important. If you go over 10,001 lbs. and you are driving to other states to do business, you’re required to have a DOT number. A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is not required if you are under 26,000 lbs., but it is recommended. If there is any fatality, the driver will also be tested for drugs

and alcohol. I think it’s good business practice for you and everyone who’s driving to have a preappointment drug and alcohol test just to document that you care about safety.” He added, “Hours of Service is critical, and it definitely applies to anyone who does interstate commerce. If someone has a HOS alert, it’s an automatic ‘must inspect.’ Just with the one alert, these scales will pull all the trucks over that fall in that category; if a DOT Officer pulls up their DOT Number, it will also show how many alerts they have. They will target those carriers because of their Inspection Selection System (ISS) scores. The higher the scores, the more they will be on the radar.” According to Buddy, these scores naturally go down over time, but the severity of the violation determines the timeline. He said, “If you are speeding and you are involved in an accident, you can’t defend these kind of violations! Only give the information that the DOT wants; don’t volunteer anything.” It gets worse if there is an issue with their HOS as well, so accurate log-keeping is a must. Buddy emphasized, “Be very proactive about safety and treat it as you have a CDL, even if you do not. For instance, when you tear down at the end of the event, that time could be counted against your HOS if you drive that day. Each state has their own guidelines, but once you go over state lines,

12 May 2024 NICA News
Michael and Lisa Chambers, American Food Service, with Cameron Murray, Chester’s Gators and Taters, and Buddy Walls, Carrier Software, at the 2024 Fare Foods Food Show

you need to comply with DOT rules. Stay safe and protect your assets. Our loved ones are out there and so are we!”

When Michael Chambers, American Food Service, is not living life as a Concessionaire or sailing, flying, or riding his motorcycle, he spends a few months out of the year as a truck driver. He grew up in the Fair Industry and drove his family’s semi by the time he was 16: “I’ve always loved trucks!” Before heading out on the road, he always performs a major inspection, sometimes thinking, “Okay, what’s going to break next?” He shared, “I check everything, from under the hood to underneath the truck, looking for leaks (whether air, fuel, or oil) or something that is broken. This also includes brakes, wheel seals, air bags, and loose hoses. The same thing for the trailer, but that is less complicated.” Once he is done, his daily pre-trip inspection consists of checking the oil, coolant, and anything suspicious under the hood. He added, “Once out on the road you’re only required to do a vehicle inspection on each vehicle once a day, so if nothing has fallen off, I usually only check it in the morning. I look under the hood, start the engine, and check oil and air pressures

before doing a walk-around inspection. I always do it in a certain order every single time. A pre-trip a day keeps the tow truck away!” According to Michael, one of the big things DOT is testing for this year is the trailer protection valve. He said, “They’re going to be testing the airline system going from the truck to the trailer. If your trailer comes off, the airlines become disconnected! That should automatically apply the trailer brakes, but if nothing happens you’re in trouble.” Michael also highlighted lights, tires, and keeping up to date on paperwork. He explained, “Since 2018, electronic logs have been mandatory on vehicles that have a 2000-year or newer engine, but there are still a bunch of older trucks on the road using paper logs. In the eyes of the law, Concession or Carnival equipment is no different than a trucking company’s equipment; they are commercial vehicles over a certain weight. When there is a major accident, the DOT will do an inspection of all vehicles involved. Violations are not worth it!”

As you are traveling this season, make sure you stay rested, practice safety, keep accurate paperwork, and perform routine maintenance to make sure you have a successful drive each time you face the twists and turns of the road. ▲

May 2024 NICA News 13 With over 70 years of insurance expertise, K&K protects concessionaires and vendors with affordable coverage designed for your needs. And when claims occur, our colleagues are here to respond quickly and effectively. Visit our website to quote and buy online.


Regional Council Members

This month, we had the chance to interview one of the newest West Council Members Miki Martin, from Willows, CA. Her responses are below :

What is your business and what do you sell?

At Funnel Cake Express, we sell Funnel Cakes and offer 12 different toppings with endless amounts of customization. Our three most popular flavors are Strawberry with Whipped Cream, the classic Powdered Sugar, and our newest flavor, Strawberry Cheesecake.

What does your annual route include?

Central to Northern California.

How and why did you become a Concessionaire?

My husband and I have operated our Concession Business for two years, but I worked alongside my parents in their Concession Business for 15-plus years. I am a Third Generation Concessionaire, as my grandparents started Funnel Cake Express in 1988 and my parents started in the business in the early 1990s. I began traveling to Fairs with my family at a very early age. Working in the Concession Business as an adult was an easy transition, and when my Mom and Dad decided retire in 2022, my husband Michael and I decided it was the perfect time to join in the

West Council Member Miki Martin, Funnel Cake Express

family business. My husband, my kids, and I are all on the road together now. I enjoy exposing my kids to our business and the value of a hard day’s work.

What do you enjoy about being a Concessionaire?

Every day is the same but different. Every day you are working with new Customers, Fair Staff, and Vendors and your experiences build on those interactions. I also hold a soft spot in my heart for my Fair Family. The people working within the Fair Industry are some of the best people around!

How long have you been a NICA Member?

I have been involved in NICA as a Fair member since 2015 and as a Concession member since 2022. A few people talked to me about the benefits of NICA including Dan Lusenhop, Phillip Delahoyde, and Daryl Whicheloe, CCE

How has the Concession Business changed?

The Concession Business has changed a lot. I think the addition of social media and influencers has really created a demand for things and made the demand for specialty foods greater in our Industry. I wish that there would be an easier

Michael and Miki Martin in front of their new trailer

way to integrate all of this. Trying to manage social media can be its own full-time job to stay on top of along with everything else we have to do. Finding a balance to make it all work is challenging at times.

What inspired you to become a Council Member?

I find a lot of value in being involved in membership organizations like NICA. We all learn and grow from each other and I am proud to be a part of a group that supports “Together We Can!” What do you hope your Council accomplishes?

I hope to continue to assist in the growth and success of Marketplace and strengthen communication between Fairs and Fair Vendors.

What is your most valuable NICA benefit?

In our business, we utilize the Sysco benefit the most. NICA offers so many benefits; it’s hard to pick just one!

What is the best way to reach you?

Via email at or on Instagram at Funnel.Cake.Express ▲

208 Cherry Lake Road, Du Quoin, IL 62832 1-800-651-1601 •

Submit your own design or our graphics department will be happy to assist you.

Contact your sales representative for more details.

May 2024 NICA News 15
your own design or our graphics department will be happy to assist you. Contact your sales representative for more details.
Four Generations of Funnel Cake Express

Travel & Save!

Attention Members! Don’t forget to take advantage of NICA’s many auto, travel and related benefits from our Benefit Partners. For more information, be sure to visit our Member Benefits page at, call the NICA Office at (813) 438-8926, or view your Membership Benefits Guide Stay safe this season and save some money!

AutoZone is a leading retailer and distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories in the U.S., committed to providing the best parts, prices and customer service in the Industry. NICA Members are able to get special discounted pricing on products and services offered at AutoZone’s many locations. To find your local store, visit today.

Advanced Testing Solutions (ATS) offers DOT/ FMCSA-specific drug and alcohol testing, nonDOT drug testing, and background screening services. ATS offers competitive pricing for all NICA Members, including a $100 discount. Provide your AutoZone Commercial Account Number when purchasing your items; it can be found on the back of your Membership Card

To receive your custom quote and special pricing, call 1-866-413-6872 and let them know that you are a NICA Member when signing up to receive your discount.

NICA Members get Dealer’s Pricing (30-40% off retail) and shipping discounts off of thousands of items sold by Arrow Distributing from electrical, lighting, and appliances to awnings, hardware, accessories, and more! View Arrow’s huge online 2024 catalog at Call the NICA Office today at (813) 438-8926 to create an Arrow PO number and get access to the main contact information for ordering.

Budget is one of the world’s best-known car rental brands and offers quality vehicles (now including trucks and vans) and a rewarding rental experience at more than 3,000 locations. NICA Members have access to great savings off of Budget’s already discounted rental vehicles and rates.

Provide the PO Number when calling the supplied Arrow contact to set up your order.
Call 1-800-214-6094 or visit to register an account with your BCD Number, available on the back of your Membership Card. 1

NICA Members can go further with Ford Pro’s discount pricing. Find your local Ford Pro dealer today by searching online at


At your local Ford Pro Fleet Network dealer, give the salesperson your Fleet ID number and the account name, available on the back of your Membership Card


NICA Members have access to Goodyear’s leading commercial and consumer tires and retreads with 24/7 emergency roadside service (and more) at more than 5,700 locations.



Consumer Tires: Visit to automatically apply a 20% coupon to your order. Then select your tires and installation, whether by a dealer or Goodyear’s mobile team.

Commercial Tires: Complete the sign up form online at or contact Tim Koenigsfeld at (636) 234-5904 or

NICA Members can save up to 20% on Hertz Business Travel Rates at airport and off-airport locations. Active accounts receive quarterly statements and additional value-added offers and savings. In addition to a variety of pickups and cargo vans, make any job easier with Hertz’s new line of modern, easy-to-drive 12’-16’ box trucks.


For easy sign up, go to or call 1-888-777-3807. Check the back of your Membership Card for the required CDP number and the PIN code.

Every Regular and Additional Member automatically receives access to $10,000 Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Coverage when joining NICA. In addition, NICA and Hummel Group have created a NICA Health Plan that is available for all NICA Members.


If you need to make an AD&D claim, please call the Hummel Group at 1-800-860-1060. Your beneficiary may be noted in your NICA account by calling the NICA Office at (813) 438-8926

2 3

Once approved for the commercial program, sign into to view the Goodyear Online Pricing Tool or visit to review program details before ordering.

Sign up for the NICA Health Plan by calling (866) 569-1304 or visit Hummel Group’s Andy Yost or Morgan Dey will follow up with you to help you take the next steps.

As a NICA Member, your travel-related discounts aren’t the only ones that “travel” with you; in fact, all Benefit Programs that NICA offers are nationally based, ensuring that your food, beverage, supply, and other programs follow you wherever you go. Just remember to bring your NICA Membership Benefits Guide and NICA Membership Card ▲

Providing AD&D Insurance &
NICA Health Plan for Members

Beyond the Bun

Fairs are a food lover’s paradise, with many tasty options vying for the center stage. One Fair staple that has stood the test of time is the Hamburger, evolving from a simple turn-of-thecentury sandwich into a 21st century culinary delight, ranging from the classic Cheeseburger to daring gourmet options that mix savory and sweet flavors. Join us as we go into the heart of the Fairgrounds and talk with NICA Members to see what is found “Beyond the Bun.”

Daryl Whicheloe, CCE, Past President, and his family have been serving Fair staples on the West Coast as Southern Oregon Food and Beverage for the last 38 years. He shared, “My wife Kristen and I run the company and all three of my children were raised working with us.” They serve a variety of foods including Specialty Corn Dogs, Kurly Fries, Funnel Cakes, Sausages, and Hamburgers. Regarding Burgers, he said, “We serve a lot of them! People love them for some reason and say they are the best they’ve ever had. We offer Hamburgers, Cheeseburgers, Bacon Cheese, Mushroom Swiss, Jalapeño, Pepper Jack Cheese, and a Bacon Blue. We are always creating something new! We have also done a Krispy Kreme Donut and a Peanut Butter and Jelly Burger. It’s fun to do a different Burger once in a while.” So, what makes a perfect Burger? Daryl replied, “Fresh! Don’t let it sit for too long, cook it, and serve it as quickly as you can. I’d rather pay more for a premium product. It makes for

a better experience.” Despite his flavor innovations, he never has used a secret sauce on his main offerings and he encourages his customers to top their own Burger: “When they order their Burgers, they have a choice of toppings to customize it with what they like. It’s only the normal toppings of lettuce, tomato, pickle, and onion, but they never seem to want anything else. I think that’s much better customer service that way!” Daryl has gone through 10 different buns to find one that holds up and tastes the best. He shared, “We use a Potato Bun. I think those buns are nicer, fresher, and not quite as heavy as a regular Hamburger Bun. You don’t see people using a Potato Bun often, but it seems to be working.” Daryl’s advice for other Vendors is to “use quality products and don’t go cheap.” He added, “You’re not going to get anywhere in the Food Business without hard work. Don’t be afraid to ask other Concessionaires; they are willing to help you!”

Steve and Julie Vartanian, Vartanian Concessions Management, work between the West Coast and the Midwest with both their family businesses TastiChips and TastiBurger, as well as their own TastiWhip and Rowdy Burgers. They are celebrating 50 years in 2024: “We love the camaraderie with all the people; you have a second family out here and you get to reconnect.” To achieve the perfect Burger, Steve suggested, “You need a fresh patty, fresh lettuce, fresh tomatoes, crisp dill pickles, and a fresh bun. Assemble it and make sure the cheese is melted!” He added, “We make a typical fresh Burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, Thousand Island Dressing, and American Cheese. We also do a double-patty with double-cheese variation that we call a Rowdy Burger. My mother’s stand is also featuring a Birria Burger this year.” Back in the day, Steve said stands usually focused on “one or two items that were served very, very well.” He stated, “Slowly but surely, others added more types of items. There are a few stands that have maintained the single-item culture, rather than a 711 stand. That’s what built the Fairs! Now there is more of an emphasis on ‘crazy’ foods that gain more attention.” Steve offers around 11 different items on his Rowdy Burgers menu, but

Daryl’s Bacon Cheeseburger on a Potato Bun

with the same focus as a single-item stand: “It’s a huge challenge!” Besides Burgers, they also feature a host of delicious (and spicy) items called Cowboy Bites, Cowboy Tots, and Rowdy Rolls. The Vartanians receive about three deliveries a week to keep their products fresh and pride themselves on quality. For new folks in the business, Steve’s advice was to “Don’t take other people’s decisions emotionally. We are competitors on the Fairgrounds, but nine out of ten people will be there to help you.”

Bob and Rose Dias own and operate Burger Bob’s Concession, offering many different varieties of Hamburgers and other classic Fair Foods. Since 1981, they have traveled primarily on the East Coast and Midwest. Bob shared, “She takes care of the money and I take care of the grill. I love meeting all the people each year and trying to work together. I have been known as the Hamburger Guy for a long time, and I only serve fresh Hamburgers. They are a lot of work, but I’ve never sold them frozen!” One year, while serving Hamburgers at the Kentucky Derby, he sold 3,200 Burgers, or 800 lbs. of ground beef, in one day. He said, “That was my record and I had to cook it all!” Burger Bob’s offers many choices to customize your Burger with toppings such as Bacon, Guacamole, Egg, and even Pineapple. Although the business offers other foods such as Corn Dogs, Sausages, and Fries, the Burgers have always been the top seller. His secret? “I buy my beef at 80/20, so you keep a little fat in there. It tastes better and it doesn’t dry out! Also, the bread makes the sandwich. If the bread is cold, your sandwich won’t be any good.” Bob has found that Labor and Pricing are the toughest challenges in the Industry, with his costs for ground beef up nearly three dollars per pound

this season. He added, “No one wants to work, so I don’t take a break. It’s crazy!” For cutting costs, he suggested keeping only what you need in stock: “I try not to have too much extra stock in the trailer, since if you have more products it will cost more to keep up with it or you will have to throw it out.” He warned about staying safe on the road while traveling his route and shared a story where he avoided a major accident: “The road is one thing I worry about. I remember one semi went through my trailer and went on top of the truck. I had nothing left; even the grill disappeared!” With regards to Concessionaires starting out in the business, he said, “Every day is a different day. Stay on top of it and try not to leave the grill. Continue to make great tasting, fresh food and the customers will come back to you. Never argue with them either!”

Kristi Worm-Hunter is a Second Generation Concessionaire who has played Indiana-based Fairs and Events since 1991 as Indiana Ribeye with her husband Mark and her children, referred to as “The Third Generation!” Kristi said, “Since our friends and family work with us, we get to spend family time together.” Besides offering their namesake with Full-Cut Ribeye Steaks, they serve Hamburgers, Cheeseburgers, Sweet Corn, Baked Beans, Applesauce, Chips, Country Sausages, and full “Cowboy Meals.” Two of Kristi’s most popular products are the Outlaw Burger (featuring Pepper Jack Cheese, Jalapeño Jelly, and Peanut Butter) and the Walking Burger (cut in pieces and mixed with baked beans, served in a regular or barbecue chip bag). Serving the tastiest food comes down to how it is prepared: “Every item is handpicked and sampled before we choose it. We cook our products per order, and since we have a bun warmer, we

May 2024 NICA News 19
Steve’s Texas Bacon Cheeseburger delights the senses Bob’s Pineapple Burger combines sweet and savory

serve our sandwiches on a warm bun. It makes a difference!” For Kristi, quality is key to build rapport with the Fairgoers: “People spend good money, so you want to give them their money’s worth. That keeps them coming back!” Regarding the Industry, Kristi shared, “COVID changed a lot of things and meat prices are something else! We just try to do the best we can to keep it reasonable for the customer. It is important to keep those things in mind since our business is family-oriented.” They try to keep their menu simple, yet delicious, so there are not too many items. Any advice for newcomers? “You have to see what works for you! What works for your Concession may not work the same for someone else, so you have to look at how different locations affect the clientele. It has to be profitable, but you also have to enjoy what you are doing. You need a quality product that people will like. Make the best of your business!”

For the Hagys, it’s a family affair! Ryan Hagy, East Council, and his siblings Dustin, Kristin, and Megan are behind DeAnna’s Diner, a business that has traveled up and down the East Coast and the Midwest over the last 32 years. Having branched off of their parents’ operation when they finished their schooling, each of the kids have focused on foods including Specialty Burgers and Hot Dogs, Steak Sundaes, Baked Potatoes, and Desserts. Ryan explained, “We all work together on the creation of our menus in our off-season. We always start with a classic, but then we try to give the customer a different take on it. It’s a big team effort for all of us!” The siblings add homemade sauces, new combinations of sauteed or grilled vegetables, and other new tastes to craft bites

such as their Buffalo Chicken Sundae or Poutine Burger. Ryan noted, “We add different elements or layers to the item so that every single bite is delicious. We are trying to hit all the senses!” But what goes into their perfect Burger? Dustin shared, “The number one thing I hear from our customers again and again is how much they love our bun and how it sets us apart from all others. The same thought went into the Donut Burger. I make our donuts from scratch every morning with a homemade glaze that goes on top. It’s just the right amount of sweetness to go with the saltiness of the Burger.” According to them, things have certainly changed since they were young. Ryan shared, “I don’t really remember a whole lot when my parents first started, but it’s been interesting to see how much things have changed, even in the last few years—some for the good and some for the bad.” Dustin added, “Burgers have really changed from a simple cheap food, to the best seller for fine dining all over America! Burgers have gone from a simple ‘kid’s item’ to something that adults are lining up for years after.” Ryan explained, “There’s just something special about the Fair that makes it taste better; the food is made fresher, and it’s more fun!” For new people in the business, Ryan suggested, “Ask questions! Many people have helped me out tremendously, so if you show some humbleness and say, ‘I need a little bit of help!’ or ask ‘What would you do?’ it opens a door for others to share, not just equipment, but advice and wisdom that they have learned over the years.”

NICA is proud to have over 60 members who specialize in this delicious Fair staple in all its varieties . Whether it is plain, overflowing in toppings, with a donut as a bun, or even served in a chip bag, it is due to these entrepreneurs that it is possible to look “Beyond the Bun” while on the Fairgrounds! ▲

The Hagys’ Donut Burger provides a sweet escape Kristi’s Outlaw Burger is all about the spice!
May 2024 NICA News 21 F aires com Property | Fleet Liability Workers' Compensation ncessionaires com INSURANCE PROGRAM BUILT WITH IN MIND
Gina Andy Lynn Proudly distributed through Fare Foods 800-651-1601 Financing Your Outdoor Amusement Dreams Since 2000. Since 2000, OA Finance has financed concession trailers that attract sales. Make your plans, then call us. 4300 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Suite 200 Fairway, Kansas 66205 816-581-0033 Mark Walker PEOPLE EAT WITH THEIR EYES.
Phil Tommy Julie

Tomorrow’s Leaders

Apply Today For a 2024 NICA Foundation Scholarship

In 2024, the NICA Foundation Scholarship Program will award multiple scholarships for a total of $50,000, provided by our generous donors. For our future leaders, “Tomorrow Starts Today,” and with your continued help, we can ensure that they can make their dreams a reality.

Jaden Miller, son of Jeffery and Leslie Miller and grandson of Paulette Keene, Paulette’s Food Service, was the recipient of a $2,000 O’Brien Vocational Arts Scholarship in 2023. He is currently studying at John A. Logan College to earn an Associate’s Degree in Construction Management, with a concentration in Project Management. Jaden is a Fifth Generation Concessionaire and started off young in the Fair Industry. He shared, “As I got older I got more involved in the business and I started getting involved in the trailers. By twelve I could pretty much run a trailer!” While in the Fair Industry, he has learned valuable skills such as time and business management. He shared, “I can use time management to make sure I am punctual to work and make sure all the projects I am in charge of stay on time. I can use the business management skills to manage what I am in charge of and keep everyone working well together.” Jaden hopes to one day run his own commercial construction company: “Thank you NICA Foundation!”

Hayden Newman is the daughter of Ryann and Mike Newman, Fruit Caboose Concessions, and received a $2,000 O’Brien Vocational Arts Scholarship in 2023. She is attending Feather River Community College for a Bachelor’s Degree in Equine and Ranch Management. Hayden said, “I’m so excited for this next chapter of my life to begin. I have learned so many life skills and lessons—not only from my

own experience, but by listening to the experience of those around me. I am blessed to have been surrounded by some of the most amazing business owners and people in this Industry.” She has learned what it takes to have a good work ethic and the importance of customer service. She shared, “I think I’m a better person for having grown up the way I did on the Fairgrounds, surrounded by hardworking, genuine people.” After college, Hayden plans to take over her family’s Pony Ride: “I am beyond excited that I get to pursue my interests in the Industry. I am blessed to have grown up the way I did—I truly think it’s a one-of-a-kind experience. I am very grateful to have received this scholarship!”

Who can apply?

• YOU or any NICA Member in good standing

• Child of a new/current member

• Grandchild of a new/current member

• Employee of a new/current member for six months

What Scholarships are available?

• 25th Anniversary Scholarship at $4,000

• Coca-Cola CCE Scholarship at $3,000

• Regional Councils Scholarship at $3,000

• NICA Leadership Scholarship at $3,000

• 2 O’Brien Vocational Arts Scholarships at $2,000 each

• Numerous Named Visionary Scholarships at $2,000 each

• Various Entrepreneurial Scholarships at $1,000 each and Inspirational Scholarships at $500 each

When is the deadline?

To qualify, applications must be submitted to the NICA Office no later than June 1, 2024.

For those of you who are entering or continuing your education, the 2024 Scholarship Application is now available online at If you need assistance, please contact us at or (813) 438-8926 ▲

May 2024 NICA News 23

Record Attendance in Pima!

On the evening of April 23, 2024, the Pima County Fair’s Cantina (both inside and out) was transformed into a packed Casino floor for their 8th Annual Casino Night. A record attendance of over 250 Vendors and Employees from the Fair came together to celebrate a night of fun and games. Don Delahoyde, CCE, West Council Coordinator, noted, “It went really well! Everybody on the Board and Council worked together to put on a great event.” They owe their successful turnout in part due to producing a bilingual flyer for the event, which encouraged more people to attend. Nate Wells, CCE, West Council, was the night’s Bingo Caller, and other attendees played a variety of fun games while learning from the Casino staff onsite.

A Live Auction soon followed, featuring the auctioneering skills of Dominic Palmieri, CCE, Past President, that raised $6,250 for the CARE Act. The Silent Auction and other activities raised money for NICA Foundation scholarships and NICA educational programming. Congratulations to all of our many winners! As the night came to a close, the energy outside of the Cantina remained high as the poker games continued. Julie Dunn, West Council Coordinator, said, “We had 18 poker players in total and the game went until 3 AM!”

The High Stakes Poker Tournament concluded with Hyrum Allen, Funnel Cake Express, crowned as the night’s winner, with Blake Bishop, Bishop Concessions, in second and Rodney Fazackerley, West Council and Fazackerly’s Fudge and Candy, in third. Michael Bliss, The Sleek Greek, was also a lucky winner in the smaller poker games.

We extend our sincerest gratitude to all those who contributed to the evening’s success. A huge “Thank You!” goes to our following supporters:


Michael Bliss with his poker winnings

• Sponsors—ARH Concessions, Fazackerley’s Fudge and Candy, Fun Biz Concessions, J&B Family Affair, Lisa’s Concessions, Marcus Concessions, Needham Concessions, Piggly Wiggly BBQ, Stizzy Works, Suck it Up Concessions, The Sleek Greek, We Have Your Flag, and West Coast Weenies

• Charcuterie Boards—Sweet Cheeks

• Pizza—Odyssey Foods

• Pulled Pork BBQ—Pacific Crest Concessions

• Prizes—RCS

• RV Space, Stock Truck Space, and Parking Space—Pima County Fair

To add to the fun, Pima County CEO Jon Baker hosted and NICA Members participated in the 5th Annual John “Shave Ice” Needham Memorial Hole-In-One Tournament the next morning on the Fairgrounds. Congratulations to Zach Sawyers, Stizzy Works, who won Closest to the Pin!

Kim Barr, CCE, President, said, “Thank you Pima County Fair for giving everyone a great time!” We look forward to seeing everyone again next year for another unforgettable week of fun and games at the Pima County Fair. ▲

Jacqueline Bradbury, CCE holding an auction prize

A group of attendees tried their luck at the outside tables

Casino Night’s High Stakes Poker winners Blake Bishop (2nd), Hyrum Allen (1st), and Rodney Fazackerley (3rd), pictured with Jay Wells, CCE, 1st Vice President Bingo tables packed with enthusiastic

Kim Barr, CCE, President, with Jacqueline Bradbury, CCE, Director, Ben Pickett, RCS Vice President, Jay Wells, CCE, 1st Vice President, and Rey O’Day, Executive Director, at the Pima County Fair Casino Night

Jon Baker, Pima County Fair CEO, with winner Zach Sawyers, Stizzy Works

Jay Wells, CCE, 1st Vice President, Kim Barr, CCE, President, and Co-2nd Vice Presidents Brandy Arredondo, CCE and Stacey PittroffBarona, CCE preparing to play some golf

The 5th Annual John “Shave Ice” Needham Memorial Hole-In-One Golf Tournament players on the Fairgrounds

May 2024 NICA News 25
St. Louis, MO 63103 | 800-325-7666 | Distributed through Fare Foods 1-800-651-1601 RIO SYRUP CO. De D icate D to Sno c one an D Shave D i ce o perator S for over Sixty y ear S ! De D icate D to Sno c one an D Shave D i ce o perator S for over Sixty y ear S ! nearly 250 Flavors nearly 250 Flavors

Unlocking Success

As the vibrant lights of the Fairgrounds illuminate the night sky and the laughter of Fairgoers fills the air, there’s an invisible thread that weaves through every Concession Stand, every Ride, and every Attraction—the dedication and passion of Concessionaires, Carnival Operators, and Fair Managers who work tirelessly to create memorable experiences for visitors. For over seven years, I’ve been privileged to be a part of this dynamic Industry, navigating its challenges, and celebrating its triumphs. My journey has been defined by a commitment to continuous learning and growth, a journey that has been significantly enriched through my engagement with NICA.

My introduction into the world of Concessions and Fair Management began at the Carolina Classic Fair, where I served as the PR and Marketing Director for six years. It was here that I witnessed firsthand the intricate dance between Vendors, Fair Management, and the community, understanding the delicate balance required to orchestrate successful events. However, it was not until Greg Miller, CCE, of Miller Concessions, encouraged me and a colleague to get involved with NICA. His encouragement led me to explore the wealth of opportunities offered by NICA events, propelling me towards a deeper understanding of Concessionaire excellence and Fair Management practices.

My first encounter with the NICA Business Expo in Florida was fantastic. From 2022 to 2024, I found myself immersed in a whirlwind of workshops, presentations, and networking opportunities that broadened my perspective and sharpened my skills. The workshops offered insights into successful promotions such as $2 Tuesday and $3 Thursday, strategies that I eagerly implemented at the Carolina Classic Fair to drive attendance and engagement on historically slower days. Additionally, sessions on H-2B Visas, the CARE Act, Road Maintenance, Propane Safety, Succession Planning, Reducing Chargebacks, and Social Media Marketing equipped me with the knowledge needed to navigate the intricacies of

With Engagement

Fair Management with confidence and efficiency. Attending these events helped me to learn more about Concessionaires and ultimately helped to guide my passion for this Industry into supporting Concessionaires and Vendors.

One of the biggest takeaways from my involvement with NICA events has been the emphasis on relationship-building and working together. Through panel discussions and interactive sessions, I learned methods to bridge the gap between Fair Management and Concessions, fostering an environment of mutual respect and understanding. In roundtable sessions I’ve had lively discussions about Fair Hours, Affordability, and Percentage Versus Straight Rent that has changed my perspective. This collaborative spirit is further exemplified through initiatives like Generation Forward, which seeks to empower the next generation of Concessionaires and Fair Managers, ensuring a strong foundation for the future of the Industry.

I have had the privilege to present at the 2022 and 2023 NICA Marketplace events, as well as the 2022, 2023, and 2024 NICA Business Expos It was an honor to share my experiences and insights with fellow Concessionaires and Fair

26 May 2024 NICA News
Rachael Lough in front of Ohio State Fair’s “Food Highway”

Managers, contributing to a collective pool of knowledge that fuels innovation and progress. As I stood before my peers, I realized the profound impact of community and collaboration in driving success within the Industry—a sentiment echoed by NICA’s commitment to fostering a supportive and inclusive environment for all.

Looking towards the future, I am filled with excitement and anticipation for the continued evolution of NICA events and initiatives. As the Assistant Rental Director for the Ohio State Fair, I am committed to applying the lessons learned and connections made through NICA to enhance Concessionaire operations and elevate the Fair experience for all. Whether it’s exploring new promotional campaigns, advocating for Industry-wide advancements, or nurturing the next generation of leaders, I am confident that NICA will remain a steadfast ally in our collective pursuit of excellence.

My journey with NICA has been nothing short of transformative—a testament to the invaluable opportunities afforded by engagement with Industry Associations. Through NICA events, I have not only

expanded my knowledge and skills but have also forged lasting connections and contributed to the advancement of Concessionaire excellence and Fair Management practices. As we continue to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the Fair Industry, let us embrace the power of collaboration, innovation, and community, knowing that we are building our strong foundations because “Tomorrow Starts Today!” ▲

May 2024 NICA News 27
Premium Fountain Syrups • Real Fruit Juices • Simple Syrup Tasting Is Believing! Fountain Syrup Dispensers and Ice Machines available for purchase. Talk to your FARE FOODS salesman today or call for details 800-651-1601 You can beat the high cost of brand name syrups & make your beverage program more profitable! Whatever we do for you...Service is at the core of all we do since 1941! Rachael speaking during a NICA Business Expo session focusing on Social Media and Marketing


The iconic Read and Win Ribbon Program, a cooperative effort between IAFE and NICA, is designed to unite Fairs with local schools, libraries, Concessionaires, Exhibitors, and Mobile Amusement providers.

How does it work? The Fair works with the local school or library system to set up a reading challenge, where local elementary students in grades one through eight are encouraged to read books, with the reward being the Read and Win Ribbon and a Voucher for use at the Fair. The final details are determined by these two parties; depending on the Fair and Vendor(s) involved, these Vouchers can be redeemed for complimentary Fair Admission, Carnival Rides in the Midway, a soft drink or food item from their favorite Concessionaire, discounts on Commercial products, a special prize, or something completely different like teaching a kid how to make a product, such as putting powdered sugar on a Funnel Cake, twirling Cotton Candy, or Frying Dough. The possibilities are endless!

“This program continues to serve as a valuable benefit for our members,” said Lori Hart, CFE, IAFE Director of Education and Member Services “Our relationship with NICA allows our Industry to unite together to serve our local communities and provide an unforgettable experience for young Fairgoers.”

So if your Fair does not know about the program, how can a Vendor get this program started? Encourage your Fair to reach out to IAFE for ribbons, sponsored by NICA. The Fair then will provide their designated school/library with those ribbons and the Fair and Vendors can decide on what the ribbon will be used for at the Fair The program works to attract more children to the Fair and encourages the Fair and its Vendors to provide an extra special day for them.

Through the support of NICA, the first 1,000 ribbons are provided to IAFE members at no cost, and additional ribbons may be purchased for 12 cents per 100 ribbons. IAFE members may place orders online on the IAFE website. Each Fair that participates in this educational program receives a survey to provide us with their valued feedback. Here are some comments from 2023’s Read and Win Program:

“Thank you for allowing us this opportunity to share these with all of our kiddos!”

“We love partnering with our local library summer reading programs and this program just gives that an extra boost and our libraries think it is a fun perk for kids along with the free admission ticket we give them. We consider it a great success in our area! Thanks for all you do!”

“I think that it is a great incentive tool to involve the community in promoting reading, get the children excited about reading, and get them involved in the Fairs.”

“We partnered with our Library board and distributed 16,000 ribbons, and TWO complimentary tickets per ribbon. These were distributed at over 22 different library branches in conjunction with the sign-ups of their Summer reading program.”

“This is an amazing program that should be highlighted and promoted through the IAFE and NICA more! I found great success and partnerships within the program.”

There are no two Read and Win Programs alike, except that those children create great memories! This partnership between IAFE and NICA encourages reading and attending the Fair to youngsters all over the country. IAFE members may order their Read and Win Ribbons online at or by sending an email to ▲

28 May 2024 NICA News

All Meat Hot Dogs 10# Box:

Pre-Skewered 7” (9/1) Hot Dog

Pre-Skewered 6” (10/1) Hot Dog

Pre-Skewered 10” (6/1) Hot Dog

Pre-Skewered 11.25” (4/1) Jumbo Hot Dog

Regular Hot Dog 10” (6/1)

Regular Hot Dog 7” (6/1)

Pre-Skewered 10” (2.5/1) Jumbo Polish

Jumbo Polish 10” (2.5/1)

Polish Sausage (3/1)

ALL BEEF Hot Dogs 10# Box:

Pre-Skewered 6” (10/1) Hot Dog

Pre-Skewered 10” (6/1) Hot Dog

Chicken Hot Dogs 10# Box:

Pre-Skewered 6” (10/1) Hot Dog

Pre-Skewered 10” (6/1) Hot Dog


Pre-Skewered Bacon Wrap Hot Dog

Pre-Skewered Jalapeño & Cheddar Hot Dog

BBQ Pulled Pork Tubs (5-lb tubs) 20# Box

30 May 2024 NICA News 800-658-1652 620-342-6354 fax 620-342-8910 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
USDA Certified meat processor located in Emporia, Kansas • Over 75 Years experience in the meat business • Reputation for producing high quality cooked meats in the Midwest • 3rd party food safety audited by SAI Global

From the Camera Roll

Scenes from Spring Workshop

Board Members presenting their group Powerpoints:

Michelle Allen, CCE, Jay Wells, CCE, Richie O’Neil, and Stacey Pittroff-Barona, CCE NICA Board Members Bary Bunts, CCE, Secretary, Richie O’Neil, Director, Stacey Pittroff-Barona, CCE, Co-2nd Vice President, Michelle Allen, CCE, Director, Dan Lusenhop, Director, and Jay Wells, CCE, 1st Vice President, making their CARE Act phone calls to their Representatives during a break from Spring Workshop
May 2024
The Board closed out the week with a trip to the Titan Missile Museum: Hyrum and Michelle Allen, CCE, Linda Frisco, Bary Bunts, CCE, Stacey Pittroff-Barona, CCE, Rey O’Day, Kim Barr, CCE, Alan Barr, CCE, Richie O’Neil, and Jay Wells, CCE
32 May 2024 NICA News PRIVATE-LABEL SERVICE CUSTOMIZED BLENDS DIRECT SHIPPING TO ANYWHERE OR TO ANY DISTRIBUTOR OF YOUR CHOICE COMPETITIVE PRICE 1500lbs minimum per product. Shipping available in U.S. 270-826-2768 COLONELJIMS@GMAIL.COM COLONELJIMSBREADING.COM WE SUPPLY: • Funnel Cake Mix • Waffle Cone Mix • Corn Dog Batters • Soft Pretzel Mix • Fritter Mix • Over 35 different Flavored Chicken Breadings to Choose From!
2024 Membership Contest Leaderboard* Referrals—General Membership Chris Bayle ............................................................................ 1 Don Kenna 1 James La Fratta 1 Kevin McGrath, CCE ............................................................. 1 Chris Miladelaroca 1 Dominic Palmieri, CCE 1 Scott Stoller 1 Referrals—Regional Councils Patty Tessari 2 Albert Valadez ...................................................................... 1 Referrals—Board of Directors Phillip Delahoyde 1 Bryan Enloe, CCE .................................................................. 1 Vincent Nelson, CCE 1 Referrals—Foundation Tom Hodson, CCE ................................................................ 2 * Referral Listing as of 3/31/24. 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

Email: • Website:


q Mr. q Mrs. q Ms. First Name: Last Name: Name of Business:

Physical Address: City : State: Zip:

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 Regular Member


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)


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 Cash q Check q Money Order #: q 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

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

National Independent Concessionaires Association, Inc.

1043 E. Brandon Blvd., Brandon, FL 33511

Time Sensitive Mail • May 2024 Issue

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.