Thursday, December 20, 2007

Why Should I Join IAAPA?

That was a question I heard again and again while working at IAAPA Central, our booth on the show floor at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2007.

Thankfully, it’s a question I love to answer, because I believe in the services and value IAAPA offers to all of our members. I have been at IAAPA for a little more than a year (one year and 10 days to be exact) and during this time I have familiarized myself with the four “core” benefits. So for those who didn’t get a chance to ask me this question at the show, here’s your answer (and a refresher for those who did):

As you can tell from recent posts about IAAPA’s efforts regarding the proposed Markey amendment, our staff is committed to being the voice for our members when it comes to regulatory issues.

Our members have access to the best training tools and programs in the industry. Whether it be a DVD or one of our Institute programs, members receive first-class education that can be put to use immediately.

Whether it’s FUNWORLD (our monthly magazine) or News Flash, a daily summary of industry news delivered to your e-mail inbox, our communications team keeps you informed with the latest industry trends and information.

You will find unparalleled buying, selling, and networking opportunities at the three IAAPA Expos: the Euro Attractions Show, Asian Attractions Expo, and IAAPA Attractions Expo are simply the best in the industry when it comes to bringing together buyers and sellers from around the world.

Now, while these four core benefits are great, I think the best resource we have for our members is the IAAPA staff. We are your partners and are committed to helping you succeed.

Did you know…
· That if you had an issue at your park or facility and needed help with the press, IAAPA’s staff provides you with FREE crisis communications support? That alone is a priceless benefit to being a member.
· That most of the education programs offered at our expos are FREE to members? Together with our volunteer committees, we plan an expo education program that offers you the most comprehensive education programs in the business.
· Members can save up to 60 percent on expo registration and save on exhibit fees at the Euro Attractions Show and Asian Attractions Expo (you have to be a member to exhibit at IAAPA Attractions Expo.
· Around the world, IAAPA is working on the harmonization of safety standards and training courses so our members are equipped with the information and support they need to run a safe facility.

Feel free to visit our membership pages to learn more. You can join online … or let me know if you need more information.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Culture, Cuisine, and IAAPA in Nice in 2008!

Need a quick guide to Nice before you visit for IAAPA's Euro Attractions Show in January? Below, Amanda Charney, editor of FUNWORLD, has detailed much of what the city has to offer and gives suggestions on what to eat and where to visit during your time off from the show.

One of the best things about working for an international association is that we get to do our work in some exciting, sometimes exotic, places. Sure, there’s quite a bit of work involved, but the opportunities for fun and food are everywhere.

This year, I’m particularly excited about going to Nice, France, located right on the majestic French Riviera (for an extremely romantic reference to this amazing region, please see “To Catch a Thief”). As editor of our magazine, FUNWORLD, I will be covering the show for the magazine, as well as managing the photography and videography for the event.

When I’m not running around, taking notes, or writing in the press office, I will be diligently planning my meals and a few cultural experiences. Dining out is one of my favorite activities, and when I travel, that is priority No. 1—exploring the culinary delights and adventures that await me at my destination. In the case of Nice, traditional cuisine is a mix between Provençal and Italian. Just a few weeks before the trip, I'm looking forward to sipping café au lait, taking early morning walks along the water, and indulging in a painfully decadent meal at the day’s close. Here are some things I plan on doing. I hope you’ll join me.

Farmer’s Market
On the weekends, in the cours Saleya, vendors sell the best in cheese, honey, produce, and one poster on even said there’s a “mushroom lady.”

35 rue Droite; +33/493805067
Every morning will involve a bowl of café au lait and a top-notch freshly baked pastry. Espuno gets high marks from Yahoo! Travel for its pisaladière (a savory onion tart popular in the region) and fougasse, a distinctive bread flavored with aniseed or orange blossom, or occasionally filled with bacon, olives, raisins, or nuts.

La Merenda
4 rue Raoul Bosio (formerly rue Terrasse)
For dinner, I’m most excited about this quirky, but well-liked, restaurant in the Old Town section. It boasts an excellent daube of beef (beef stew) with chick pea chips; a revelatory lemon tart, and excellent wine. The quirks might be hard for some travelers to get over: No phone, but reservations are a must—and should be done in person. No credit cards. But I get the feeling that if you’re looking for a simple, classic, perfect meal, you’ll soon forget the bizarre drawbacks. Here’s what had to say:

"What we are primarily looking for is good food that reflects the stated intentions of the owners. At Le Merenda we found exactly that. Perfectly cooked, honest food that used the best ingredients and reflected the soul of the cuisine of the region."

Chez Theresa
cours Saleya, +33/493850004, closed Monday
If you’re going for authenticity, one of the area’s signature dishes is socca, a pancake made with chickpea flour. The best, according to Time Out’s Nice guide, is here. Put a fried disc made from flour and egg in front of me, and I’m set.

Food shopping is also at its best in Nice. One Chowhounder suggested the following:

Alzieri, 4 rue Saint-François-de-Paul—buy the proprietary olive oil, tapenades, and lavender honey.

Confiserie Auer, 7 rue St-François-de-Paul—for ice cream and desserts, all steeped in a rococo wonderland.

Okay, let’s check out some culture. Try this on and see how you like them:

The Matisse Museum—see more than you’ve ever seen of this master fauvist.

Le cours Saleya—walk this traditional square and take in the flower market, the farmer’s market (mentioned above), as well as the great shopping and Nicois restaurants.

Le Palais de la Préfecture—this 18th century structure was formerly the royal palace for the governors and princes of Savoy when they visited Nice.

Le Jardin Albert 1—This is Nice’s oldest garden and boasts extensive greenery from the water to the hills. Here you’ll see the flowers and fountains at L’esplanade du Paillon.

For more on Nice, visit

Friday, December 14, 2007

Misguided Amendment Fails

As suspected, Congressman Ed Markey offered his amendment to bring fixed-site rides under the jurisdiction of the CPSC during yesterday’s markup of H.R. 4040, which deals with changes to the CPSC. The amendment was defeated, however, and here’s a look at what happened during the proceedings:

Well into the markup, Markey argued that if a stroller is regulated by the federal government, a roller coaster should be as well, using a staffer pushing a baby stroller across the committee room as a prop. (Of course, this is an odd comparison because even the nicest of parents don’t buy their children roller coasters, and I’m sure very few parents hire engineers to assemble, inspect, and maintain their strollers on a daily basis.)

During the debate, Markey offered a letter from Jim Prager, a former member of the amusement industry, stating Prager’s support of Markey’s amendment. While Prager has worked in the amusement industry, he is no longer a member of IAAPA. His views are not indicative of those of the industry—a point that was poignantly made later in the proceedings by Congressman Cliff Stearns of Florida, one of the industry’s strongest supporters in Congress.

Markey’s proposal was unexpectedly challenged by Congresswoman Jane Harman, a fellow liberal Democrat from California. Harman said she was interested in examining federal jurisdiction for amusement parks, however the need for ensuring children’s toys are safe was more pressing and suggested the committee hold a separate hearing on fixed-site rides next year.

After the Congresswoman’s turn concluded, Markey spoke out passionately against Harman and Stearns, suggesting their opposition was based on the heavy park presence in their home states and that they didn’t fully understand the issue at hand. The committee recessed for a floor vote shortly thereafter; when committee members returned, Markey apologized profusely to both Harman and Stearns for his earlier comments before asking for a roll call vote.

In the end, Markey’s amendment failed with bi-partisan opposition. Yet it is very likely that the issue of fixed-site ride jurisdiction will be considered in more detail by Congress in 2008.

It is important for IAAPA members to continue educating their elected officials about the industry’s safety record and efforts to maintain that strong record. Members of Congress will be in their districts for an extended period of time over the holidays and are very willing to meet with our members during this time to discuss the issue. If you would like assistance setting up an appointment with a legislator from your state, please contact me.

Finally, thanks to members of the IAAPA Grassroots and Information Network for sending more than 200 personal messages to members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, voicing opposition to the amendment.

***This post was revised on Monday at 1:30PM***

Monday, December 10, 2007

Committee to hear CPSC bill Thursday

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will consider H.R. 4040, the Consumer Product Safety Commission Modernization Act on Thursday. This is the bill to which Congressman Edward Markey hopes to attach his proposal to bring fixed-site amusement rides under the jurisdiction of the CPSC.

If you have not done so already, it is not too late to contact members of the committee and inform them of the industry's opposition to this proposal.

You can watch the hearing live online here.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

CPSC Bill Markup Postponed

Congressman Ed Markey will not present his fixed-site amusement ride amendment to the CPSC bill today, after all. Mark-up on the bill—which reforms and funds the CPSC—was postponed due to unrelated, and potentially heated debate of the Energy bill on the House floor today.

The mark-up will most likely be rescheduled for sometime next week, and we'll update you here as soon as we know when.

In the meantime, please continue to contact Energy and Commerce Committee members and share your opposition to Markey's amendment on behalf of the amusement industry. Your comments really do make an impact.

Also, as he mentioned in his comment on my last post, Faulkner University professor Chad Emerson has posted over at his Theme Law blog a spreadsheet detailing each state's amusement safety law.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Response …

This morning, The Washington Post ran a front-page story challenging the safety standards and reporting procedures in the amusement industry and, essentially, endorsing Congressman Ed Markey's CPSC amendment, which he will present again Thursday (see this entry for more).

We drafted a statement in response to the Post's article. You can find it on the IAAPA website here.

It's not too late to voice your opposition to the Markey amendment. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will meet on Thursday, December 6 to consider H.R. 4040, the Consumer Product Safety Commission Modernization Act. Congressman Markey will offer his amendment during this hearing. The more pressure elected officials feel from IAAPA members, the more difficult it will be for Congressman Markey to find support for his bill.