Isle of Wight Fair will not include Fire Ball

Published 11:51 am Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Isle of Wight County Fair will not include a Fire Ball, the carnival ride recently responsible for killing one person and injuring seven others at the Ohio State Fair. This information comes from a spokesman for Amusements of America, the Ohio State Fair’s ride vendor, whom The Tidewater News has learned will also be supplying rides for the Isle of Wight Fair.

David Smith, Isle of Wight County’s director of parks and recreation, confirmed on Monday that Amusements of America was indeed the vendor for the county fair, and the same company that supplied rides to the Ohio State Fair. Assistant County Administrator Don Robertson added that Isle of Wight inspects all carnival rides before they are released for operation.

“Rides and equipment deemed unsafe will not be allowed to operate,” Robertson said. “The safety and well-being of the public is our top priority.”

On July 26, a Fire Ball ride at the Ohio State Fair, which The Washington Post described as an “aggressive thrill carnival ride that swoops like a pendulum and swings in a circle,” malfunctioned, resulting in at least two riders being flung into the air when seat belts failed. The Post reported that an entire row of the ride’s gondola wheel broke away and plummeted toward the concrete.

The spokesman for Amusements of America, who requested he be identified only as Jerry, said that the manufacturer of the Fire Ball has told the company that the ride is not to be used anymore this year at any future events.

According to Glenn Joyner, president of the Franklin-Southampton Fair Foundation’s Board of Directors, the Franklin-Southampton County Fair’s vendor for carnival rides will be the Cole Amusement Company, based in Covington, Virginia.

Southampton’s County Fair will be Aug. 9 through 12 at the Southampton County Fairgrounds, located on 25376 New Market Road, Courtland. Isle of Wight’s County Fair will be held Sept. 14 through 17 at the Joel C. Bradshaw Fairgrounds, located on 21311 Courthouse Highway, Windsor.