Fairboard contracts with new ride company

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(Posted Jan. 18, 2023)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Large rides are returning to the Madison County Fair.

At the Ohio Fair Managers Association convention earlier this month, the Madison County fairboard secured a contract with Lisko Family Midway Amusements out of Lowellville in northeast Ohio.

This year’s fair dates are Saturday, July 8 through Saturday, July 15. The ride company will be on site July 10-15, missing the first two days of the fair due to another commitment. Rides will be open from 4 p.m. to close on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Rides will open at 1 p.m. the last Saturday of the fair. Kids’ Day is set for Wednesday with rides opening at 1 p.m.; wrist bracelet discounts will be in effect, and the rain date is Thursday. A week-long ride wristband option is in the works.

Ride company owner Tim Lisko said he plans to bring 10 to 12 rides to the Madison County Fair. About half of the rides will be geared toward teens and adults. The rest will be for children.

Paul Gross, president of the Madison County Fair Board, is happy and relieved to have a full-fledged ride company booked for this year’s fair.

“They’re a good, big, normal ride company,” Gross said. “And Tim (Lisko) is a consummate professional. He takes a business-like approach to what he does and makes massive investments in his rides.”

Last year, the fairboard struggled to provide rides at the fair. The company they used in 2021 went out of business. After calling 43 companies from around the Midwest, the board ended up booking a smaller outfit that provided only rides for younger children.

“The carnival industry has been in turmoil,” Gross said. “Twenty years ago, there were 28 different ride companies in Ohio. Now, there are eight. It’s a shrinking industry. It’s what everyone was talking about at the (fair managers) convention.”

Lisko Family Midway Amusements has been family-owned and operated since 1961. Tim’s father founded the business, and now Tim, one of his sons, and his nephews run the operation. Tim is a certified ride inspector in Ohio and Pennsylvania and maintains a daily inspection program for his rides.

The company provides rides for fairs, festivals, and events throughout Ohio, including the nearby Fayette County Fair in Washington Court House. They also travel to events in Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida.

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