Planning a backup amidst amusement ride company fallout - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Planning a backup amidst amusement ride company fallout

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(WSIL) -- More festivals and fairs are speaking out about the disappointment one amusement ride company out of Indiana is causing. 

News 3 reported in June about Ava leaders accusing Steel Horse Midway Attractions of ripping them off of their homecoming. 

The company promised ten rides, games and a food truck, but organizers claim the rides were not ready for use on day one and those that were, broke down.

The same week that story aired, another festival reached out to News 3 about their complaints with the company. 

Organizers of the Carlyle Street Fair in the Metro East said the amusement ride company canceled one week before the event. 

Steel Horse Midway Attractions was supposed to provide five rides, a food truck, games and bounces houses. 

Both Ava and Carlyle are out more than a $1,000 to the company and are waiting for their money back. 

This week the Fayette County Fair in Vandalia is going on, but without carnival rides. 

Secretary of the fair board Mona Durbin said Steel Horse Midway Attractions canceled four days before the start of the fair on July 7. 

"They told us they would have at least 10 to 12 rides, plus games and a food booth," Durbin said. 

Durbin said they signed a contract with the company back in January.

"They did not show up, they did not call, they sent us a text message," Durbin said. "In the text message it just stated they had a lack of employees, rough start to the season, they had mechanical breakdowns and rides would not pass Illinois inspections."

Durbin said they were not able to secure another carnival for the fair. 

"We know if you don't have a carnival, you don't have a fair," Durbin said. "It has put a damper on the fair and the food vendors aren't happy either."

When the Fayette County Fair signed the contract back in January, they also made a $1,500 deposit. 

"He (owner) mentioned in the text message that he cannot return our deposit at this time," Durbin said. "He said he would have to give him 30 days."

 Durbin said last year the fair brought in $11,500 on rides during the fair, but that was before they have to pay the company. 

Steel Horse Midway Attractions was going to charge the county $12,000 for the rides, games and food. 

"From what we have seen out there, it looks like he has canceled on about everyone," Durbin said. "I'm just saying good luck because I don't feel like he's going to fulfill any contracts he has for 2019."

Durbin said the fair board does not plan to take any legal action.

"If his rides cannot pass inspection, $1,500 isn't worth somebody's life or someone getting injured or hurt out here because of his faulty equipment," Durbin said. 

Steel Horse Midway Attractions is supposed to be back in the southern Illinois area the first weekend in August for the Williamson County Fair and the Cobden Peach Festival. 

Peach Festival Carnival Chairman Ray Hogan said their previous amusement ride company had been providing rides for the 22 years for the festival before the owner retired. 

During a closed meeting Monday night, organizers of the Peach Festival decided not to go with the company. 

"Hearing through sources that the operator failed to perform or to show up after the Ava event," Hogan said. "We've chosen an alternate route and we have a bunch of local companies providing bounce houses and bounce kicks."

Hogan said with some rides not passing inspection in Ava, the company is not worth the risk. 

"Given the condition of the rides and the potential of a no-show, we are not going to pursue the carnival this year," Hogan said. 

The owner of Steel Horse Midway Attractions told News 3 he wanted to make things right. 

He told organizers of the Ava Homecoming he would pay them back within 30 days. 

The Ava Homecoming said as of July 8 they had not received their $4,000 back.

The owner also told Durbin and the Fayette County Fair he plans to give them their $1,500 deposit back within the next 30 days. 

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