WYSO

Ohio State Fair

Karen Kasler

After years of big numbers, attendance at this year’s Ohio State Fair plummeted to its lowest number in 13 years.

During its 12-day run the fair brought in 801,031 people – the lowest number since 2004 and a 13 percent drop from last year.

Spokesperson Alicia Shoults says attendance fluctuates every year, but the breakdown of a Midway ride that left one person dead and several seriously injured was a factor. “I think that obviously, opening day’s tragic accident certainly contributed to that and accompanying that, the fact that the rides were closed for a few days.”

The Dutch manufacturer of a thrill ride that broke apart and killed an 18-year-old man at the Ohio State Fair says excessive corrosion on a support beam led to a "catastrophic failure."

KMG posted the memo dated Friday on its Facebook page Sunday that says company officials visited the accident site and conducted metallurgical tests.

The statement says the corrosion "dangerously reduced" the thickness on the wall of the beam holding a passenger gondola on the swinging and spinning ride. The company says the ride was 18 years old.

Officials say rides shut down at the Ohio State Fair after a fatal ride accident are open after being re-inspected.

Fair officials made the announcement Sunday morning. Some rides, mostly in the fair's Kiddie Land, had previously reopened.

All rides were shut down last Wednesday night after a swinging and spinning ride called the Fire Ball broke apart, killing 18-year-old high school student Tyler Jarrell and injuring seven others, several critically.

Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

The 162nd Ohio State Fair opens Wednesday in a ceremony presided over by Gov. John Kasich, back from his first tour as an official candidate for president. 

Midway rides have been under construction for a week, and last minute preps go on up until the fair opens. In other parts of the 360-acre fairgrounds, livestock shows are underway as more animals and their exhibitors are coming in. Food vendors are setting up – this year featuring something called deep fried cake balls.

COLUMBUS, OH - An abandoned item at the Ohio State Fair led authorities to close the Skyway ride and a section of the fair on its opening day.

Multiple media outlets report that the Columbus fire department bomb squad was called Wednesday afternoon to detonate the item, a soft-sided cooler. The contents were found to be water bottles and food bars.

Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers pushed crowds back while firefighters used a device called a disrupter to detonate the cooler.

COLUMBUS, OH - Governor John Kasich has declared the Ohio State Fair "the best darned fair" in the country as he opened its 12-day run with a ribbon-cutting. The Columbus Dispatch reports Kasich said the fair's agricultural displays offer a chance to show that bread doesn't just appear in a grocery store.