By JORDYN GRZELEWSKI
and AMANDA TONOLI
Canfield Fair Rides
As soon as Daniel Boone of Youngstown got off the new Rampage roller coaster at the Canfield Fair on Wednesday, the 9-year-old ran to the ride entrance for another turn.
Fresh off his second ride, Daniel said the ride is too much fun.
“When you start going down, your face gets all freaky,” he said.
New rides were a highlight of the opening day of the 172nd Canfield Fair, where the gates opened at 8 a.m. Wednesday. The first day was a hot one, with temperatures in the 90s throughout the day. Sunny skies gave way to pouring rain later in the day, bringing cooler temperatures with it.
A new ride operator, Reithoffer Shows Inc., installed 52 amusement rides at the fairgrounds over the course of a week.
State ride inspectors were there to monitor the process from the start, said Michael Vartorella, Ohio Department of Agriculture chief inspector of amusement ride safety. Vartorella, who was at the fairgrounds with other Department of Agriculture officials Wednesday, said the rides have been deemed safe thus far.
“We have been on this site for seven days and we look at [each ride] coming off the trucks, we look at the structural aspect of it and we look at it when they’re putting it up,” he said. “We even climb the equipment to make sure everything is put together properly and we run the equipment. We also do operational inspections and make sure the operators are not using their cellphones and are checking height requirements.”
Vartorella said the rides are designed and engineered for temporary use.
“These things are actually meant to be taken down and put back up pretty regularly,” he said.
Also riding the Rampage Wednesday was Kassidy Vath, 21, of Youngstown, who said the ride was her first non-wooden roller coaster.
“Wooden [roller coasters] are too rough,” she said. “This was just really smooth. It was good.”
Callie Kester, 7, of Canfield, critiqued the roller coaster’s hills.
“You’re going up and turning so fast and going so fast,” she said. “Then you just go down so fast – I didn’t like that.”
Still, Callie enjoyed the ride.
In other happenings during the opening day, numerous local school districts participated in cheerleading demonstrations at the grandstand.
Also visiting the fairgrounds Wednesday was the Department of Agriculture’s state veterinarian, Tony Forshey.
Forshey said all fairs in Ohio are required to have a veterinarian at the fairgrounds twice a day.
His field staff also checks up on the animals each day.
Forshey said staff members check animals before they enter the fair, as well as checking on the conditions they’re kept in once they arrive.
“The key there is, if we get a disease outbreak, we get the animals off the grounds immediately,” he said.
He said no such issues have been reported at the fair thus far.
He urged fair participants and visitors to wash their hands at the stations located outside of animal barns after they visit a barn.
Also touring the fairgrounds and attending Wednesday’s fair board meeting was Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels.
“We work with all 94 of our county and independent fairs to make sure they have the opportunity to put on a good show,” he said.
Daniels said local fairs provide opportunities for young people to learn about responsible food production and leadership.
After walking the fairgrounds, something struck him about the Canfield Fair.
“The one thing you see here is a sense of community,” he said.