GREENVILLE — A new company will be taking over rides at the 2018 Darke County Fair, according to fair manager Brian Rismiller. The fair has parted ways with Kissel Brothers, the company that has handled rides for the event since 1982, and is currently considering partnering with either Triple Treat Amusements or Amusements of America.
“It is still undecided which company will be here,” Rismiller said in a post on the Great Darke County Fair’s Facebook page. “However, both have amazing rides and [offer] a great opportunity for the fair to grow.”
The post further invited followers to share their thoughts on how many new rides should be brought in, as well as what types of rides attendees were looking for. Finally, the post thanked Kissel Brothers for their years of dedicated service.
“Kissel is downsizing. They’ve chosen to do smaller events,” Rismiller said. “I think they do six fairs in Ohio, and they’ve given them all up.”
Triple Treat Shows, a mobile amusement ride and concessions company based in Cincinnati, has provided rides for the Montgomery County Fair, the Butler County Fair, and the Circleville Pumpkin Show, among others. Rismiller traveled to Hamilton County Fairgrounds, where the company’s rides are stored during the off season, to take a look at them earlier this year.
Amusements of America, a company with events stretching across the eastern, southern, and midwestern United States, was embroiled in controversy this summer following a tragic incident at the Ohio State Fair where a ride called the Fire Ball broke apart, killing one passenger and injuring seven others. No charges were filed relating to the incident, as investigators from the Ohio Department of Agriculture found there were no codes violated in the inspection and maintenance of the ride.
Rismiller acknowledged the controversy, but said there was no reason fairgoers should be concerned for their safety, should the fair board decide to partner with Amusements of America.
“The investigators found fault with the ride, not with the amusement company,” Rismiller said. “I think there were six or eight Fire Ball rides across the country, and they’ve all been decommissioned. So I don’t see any reason for the public to be concerned that the safety won’t be there.”
The fair has had the same caliber of rides since 1982, Rismiller said, and he’s confident that partnering with a new company will change that.
“One of the biggest things I’ve heard people talk about is, ‘When are you gonna get some new rides?’” Rismiller said. “If you’re a mother taking her kids through the fair, after 10 years seeing the same rides you’re gonna start to get frustrated. Whichever of these new companies we go with, they’re going to be buying new rides and bringing you something new every year.”
The new ride companies have also agreed to honor leftover Kissel Brothers tickets from previous years, according to Rismiller, and despite other changes that are on the way, initial talks indicate there will likely not be an increase in price.
“I think we’ve done a lot of homework in finding a new company,” Rismiller said, “and no matter which company we choose, people are going to see a big change.”
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