BUCYRUS — As the annual Crawford County Fair started Sunday, a crowd favorite was missing. The often hair-raising mechanical carnival rides were a no-show on the midway.
All those bells and whistles, along with the Ferris wheel and other crowd favorites, have been replaced by colorful air-filled inflatables geared more toward the younger crowd. The change was made because of the expense of the amusement rides as well as the low supply of such items this time of year, said Rebecca Miller, secretary/manager of the Crawford County Fair Board.
“The ride company we had last year wanted $20,000 just to come to the fair, plus whatever they made here,” Miller said. “We couldn’t pay them $20,000. We’re a nonprofit, so obviously we don’t have the $20,000 that we could just hand over for that. We felt if we paid the $20,000 for the ride company, we would have had to raise the gate prices and nobody wants that.
“So we decided to go a different route,” Miller said. “We got inflatables, a rock climbing wall and a trampoline jump. We also have putt-putt and laser tag and we have a free tiger show that takes place two times a day.”
Miller said the Bengal Tiger show is at 5 and 8 p.m. today (Wednesday), 5 and 8 p.m. Thursday, 2, 5 and 8 p.m. Friday and on Saturday at 4 and 7 p.m. She noted the tiger show is up where the rides used to be, and the inflatables are just across the way from the tiger show cages in the grass.
“People were a little leery at first, but I think they’ve turned around and they like them,” Miller said, noting most of the inflatables cost 1-2 tickets, with some taking 5 tickets.
Chris Lee, of Crestline, was at the fair Monday afternoon with her grandchildren, who are 2 years old and 5 years old, and said she felt the inflatables were fine for the younger crowd. “
“For the little kids it’s good, but there isn’t much for the older kids,” Lee said.
Teenager Morgan Young also said the inflatables were “OK for younger kids.” but noted the older kids miss the rides that used to be at the fair.
“Yeah, I think the kids miss them,” said Young’s friend Carmen Leuthold.
Laura Sweitzer, of Bucyrus said she thought the inflatables were alright.
“Before, when they had the other rides they kind of looked a little sketchy and old. I think it’s OK not having the rides.”
Looking at future, Miller said the fair board will more than likely continue to look at offering inflatables.
“With the Ohio State Fair taking up two weeks we have a hard time getting a ride company in,” she said. “We looked for rides, but this year everyone else was booked and the cost for last year’s ride company was too expensive.”