Then, as most of you probably know, a ride called the Fire Ball malfunctioned on July 27 at the Ohio State Fair, injuring seven people, and killing one man, Tyler Jarrell. Several victims remain in critical condition. The incident was determined to have been the result of "excessive corrosion on the interior of the gondola support beam," according to the ride's manufacturer, the Netherlands-based KMG. But the machine itself was brought to the Ohio State Fair by Amusements of America, the same company that facilitates the miniscule-by-comparison Strawberry Fair in Oceanport, as well as hundreds of other state fairs and local carnivals all over the Eastern United States.
A mere 10 days before this incident, Dominic Vivona Jr., the CFO of Amusements of America, granted Thrillist an interview about the enduring allure of their traveling amusement park rides, and why these quaint mechanical diversions continue to appeal to the masses. State and local fairs, and by extension, rides like the Fire Ball, do seem like a remnant of another era. Perhaps one day, we'll look back on the hydraulic-powered, LED-bedazzled mobile rides that entice thousands of fairgoers to climb aboard every summer in the same way we marvel at old cars without seat belts, and ask ourselves, "How the hell did we ever think this was safe?"