By Sean Rice
Mercer County Fair board members decided to drop the company that provides mechanical rides at the fair.
Fair board directors called a special meeting Wednesday night to discuss switching ride companies and unanimously agreed to release the Interstate Amusements.
Fair Board President Bob Geist said when Interstate was brought in several years ago, the company helped turn around the image and quality of the fair. On Wednesday, some fair board members said the quality may be slipping again, and others expressed a desire to get bigger and better rides.
Members did not specifically discuss problems with the company on Wednesday, but confirmed there have been concerns raised about the quality of rides and operators of the rides. Geist said there have been no safety problems.
"I still feel the same way ... I feel it is time for a change," member Gina Lee said. Fair board member Tim Pearson has talked with the operators of another company, Cumberland Valley Amusements, and told members the company could fit Mercer County into its summer festival run between Monroe, Mich., and the Kentucky state fair.
"Do we want to get bigger, or just better?" Pearson surmised.
Fair Director Short Wilker said the fair should get both bigger and better rides to attract more visitors.
Members decided to go after a contract with Cumberland and will be sending members to the Kentucky state fair to meet with company owners.
"The only problem your going to have is ... they think $7 is kind of cheap," Pearson said of the arm band price at the Mercer County Fair.
Members said the gate charges will have to be changed if a new company requires money. One suggestion was charging a fair entry and then for an additional cost guests can get an unlimited ride arm band.