EATON — The Preble County Fair had a successful first weekend, according to Agricultural Society President Rodney Mann.
The 167th edition of the fair kicked off on Saturday, July 29 and enjoyed crowded midways and perfect weather.
“We had a good night last night,” Mann said on Sunday evening, July 30. “We were up last night. The weather is doing good. All the livestock shows are going well. I think so far we are having a good week.”
The demolition derby drew over 100 cars, and made for an event which lasted into the wee hours of Sunday morning.
And, despite the tragedy last week at the Ohio State Fair, ride ticket sales were even up on Saturday.
“I went and talked to the owner of the ride company, they’re from Indiana, we’ve had them for years,” Mann said. “He told me Ohio’s got the hardest inspections. They have to go through a lot of stuff. They do daily inspections throughout the day, like two or three times. It’s a good company. I don’t have any worries about them. They’re safe.”
Fairgoers enjoyed the rides, albeit with some hesitation.
“I was slightly hesitant to get on the rides, because of my children,” Jeannie Hurd said. “It doesn’t happen all the time and it was just a fluke accident. It’s a sad thing that it happened, but I was fine. It will not stop us from riding any rides here at the fair.”
Amanda Holland and Joni Bradley visited the fair with their children, and watched them ride some of the rides.
“We were not hesitant to allow them to ride,” Holland said. “I figured the rides were pretty safe. Especially after everything, I knew they were going to check everything more.”
“With what happened at the Ohio State Fair I was hesitant to allow my kid to ride any rides,” fairgoer Tony Mack said. “I don’t want him on those kinds there, the ones with the big arms, the one that flew off. We’re sticking to the rides that don’t really do a whole lot of stuff.
“I’m being selective about what I allow him to ride,” he said. “Things happen, you know? There could have been something in the metal, even though they check it out they can’t see all the way through it. It could have been a defect that has been there for years and it finally broke. I think they inspect them pretty good. You don’t hear about it all the time, but it does happen. It’s risky, but we are being selective.”
“I wasn’t hesitant at all to allow my kids to ride,” Bill Boomershine said. “Different people run these rides.”
Dawn Webb said she thought about what happened at the Ohio State Fair, but knew it was a fluke. “I know they shut down those specific rides,” Webb said. “I was comfortable with what the rides were here. I would let my daughter ride any of the rides here.”
One father said, “I feel comfortable with my kids riding these rides. The percentage of that breaking is like being attacked by a shark. Somebody gets attacked by a shark, I don’t know what the statistic is, but it’s not very good. There are millions and billions of people in the world. These rides are going on all across the United States, the percentage of that happening is low. It was a freak accident — you don’t live your life that way.”
“I was not really hesitant to allow my kids to ride these rides,” Travis Sullivan agreed. “You don’t hear or see a lot of rides malfunction, that’s why I wasn’t really scared to let them ride. I know the rides are inspected, they’re supposed to be inspected — it’s a state law. If I heard about a bunch of rides that were hurting or killing people it would be a different scenario for me, but let them ride, you know?”
“What I figured is, after that accident is probably the safest time to ride,” fair patron Eric Benns said. “Because everyone is going to be inspecting everything over again. Everything is going to be tip-top after a horrible accident like that.”
“I wasn’t hesitant to allow them to ride,” Pam Colwell said. “I guess there’s always some kind of risk, so it’s not surprising that something happened, but it hasn’t ever stopped us before.”
The Preble County Fair continues this week, with tractor pull action on Wednesday and Thursday at 7 p.m., Tug-A-Truck and dirt flat drags on Friday at 7 p.m., and the second demolition derby of the week to close things out on Saturday, Aug. 5, at 8 p.m.
Junior fair activities remaining include the Grand Showman of Showmen contest on Thursday at 7 p.m. and the Sale of Champions on Friday morning at 9 a.m. in the Expo Center.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH. Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @kkimbler_RH.