Crawford County community pitches in at fair after ride vendor backs out

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CRAWFORD Co., Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) — The start of the Crawford County fair was set to begin before the fair board received surprising news from their ride vendor.

“We signed a contract with them a day before the carnival was to be here. He sent me a message saying that they wouldn’t be here, so that put us in a really big bind,” said Bob Hall, president of the Crawford County Fair board.

The company, Steel Horse Midway Attractions of Evansville told them they were having problems with their semi-trucks that are used to transport the rides.

Fair board Vice President Billy Burke said the cancellation cost them $5,000, which was their fifty percent deposit.

“We paid half of our contract up front and he didn’t have our money at this time to refund us,” Burke said.

With time ticking, they made their next move.

“We got on the phone and called bluegrass carnival amusement rides. So he was a real good guy and we talked to him on the phone and in the next day and a half he had rides here for us,” Hall said.

However, there was still a problem they faced.

“They just didn’t have time to get the man power here. So that was part of our lag with them,” Burke said.

Bluegrass was only able to provide three operators since the contract was short notice. The fair needed more operators, so that is when they turned to social media.

“Vice president Billy Burke got on Facebook and put it out there that we needed help and people just came in,” Hall said.

They said churches and even local politicians lended their hands.

“It wasn’t the fair board this year, it was a whole community to come in help man the rides, take tickets. It was a true community involvement,” Burke said.

Brett Tabor of Steel Horse Midway Attractions confirmed that their semi-trucks did break down.

He also said he plans to refund the board in the coming months.

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