Saturday, January 05, 2019

Ohio State Fair, September 1969

Somehow, I wound up with a batch of photos of the Ohio State Fair from September, 1969. They are full of carnival ride goodness! Wikipedia sez: The Ohio State Fair is one of the largest State Fairs in the United States. The event is held in Columbus, Ohio during late July through early August. As estimated in a 2011 economic impact study conducted by Saperstein & Associates; the State Fair contributes approximately 68.5 million dollars to the state's economy. In 2015, attendance was 982,305, the Fair's highest 12-day attendance on record.

Below we can see the infamous ride "The Zipper" to the left, along with a good old-fashioned Ferris Wheel with only one couple riding. Maybe it was early in the day?

I had no idea what this variation on the standard Ferris Wheel was called, but Ken Martinez came to the rescue, thanks to his extensive knowledge of such things. Ken said, The first pic is of the Skydiver produced by Chance Rides as early as 1965. Note that the gondolas can spin!

Next is the famous Rock-O-Plane: The Rock-O-Plane is an amusement park ride designed by Lee Eyerly in 1948 and manufactured by the Eyerly Aircraft Company of Salem, Oregon.

Ken also helped to ID the Skyway-type ride: The sky ride at the Ohio State Fair is known as Sky Glider, the exact same name as the sky ride at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.  As for this version of the sky ride, most of them are referred to as Sky Glider. Ken thinks that the Sky Glider was brand-new at the Ohio State Fair in 1969.

To the left is a double Ferris Wheel, and Ken said: The Double Ferris Wheel is called Sky Wheel also produced by Chance Rides and goes back as early as 1939.  I remember there was one at the Long Beach Pike and I've seen them at various county fairs.

In the lower left is a classic Tilt-A-Whirl.

I could go for a hot dog, and maybe some popcorn, and a large lemonade... followed by several rides that will spin and tumble my poor stomach! I didn't even ask Ken about the roller coaster, thinking it was of the standard "Wild Mouse" variety, but he said that he believes that it is a Zyklon/Galaxi portable coaster.

MANY thanks to Ken Martinez for his help identifying the rides! I have more photos from the Ohio State Fair, as well as photos from some other fairs; if you liked these, let me know and I'll post more.


K. Martinez said...

That Rock-O-Plane is AWESOME! Love the paint design and color scheme. I have operated the Rock-O-Plane, but way way back in the day. Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I would love to see more pics like these. I love all of these carnival-type rides. And I have been on most of them.

I remember the Skydiver having something like a steering wheel that you could turn, which would make the cars do a barrel roll. If you left the wheel completely alone, the cars would automatically flip upside down when you reached the top and also at the bottom, just from the cars being "top heavy."

It looks like there is some sort of walk-thru funhouse in that last pic, on the far left. And in that first pic, I want to know what they were selling that was "Chocolate Covered." Chocolate Covered Bacon, perhaps? No, I know this was before fairs started selling chocolate covered bacon and "deep fried everything."

Nanook said...

@ TM!-

Undoubtedly, it was Chocolate Covered Broccoli-!!

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, Eeeeeeeeeew!!!

stu29573 said...

"Chance rides?" Somehow that name doesn't instill a lot of confidence in me. I'd rather ride "Really Sure rides!"

stu29573 said...

On a side note, Sandy Lake Park, a local amusement park here in Dallas/ Ft. Worth is going out of business after being around forever. I mention this because it was one of the last places you could ride a real Laff In the Dark dark ride. Very sad.

K. Martinez said...

I didn't catch the "Kangaroo" ride (lower right in front of Tilt-A-Whirl) before when looking at the last pic. There's only one of those left operating now and it's at Kennywood Park.

Forgot to mention, I'd love to see more of these pics. Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

stu29573, That's sad to hear. Sandy Lake Park had a nice little collection of classic vintage flat rides.

Chuck said...

The Ohio State Fair, where I saw Sha-na-na live in 1981!

My dad used to go every year when he was growing up, helping his farming cousins take care of their livestock. One year, he lost control of a wheelbarrow full of manure as he was taking it down a ramp from one of the barns and narrowly missed dumping it on the Governor of Ohio. The Governor made some kindly, humorous comment but for the life of me I can't remember what it was.

He also told me that they used to play practical jokes on some of the other exhibitors. Apparently, everybody brought cots and just slept in the aisles near their animals; it was cheaper than getting a room, you were right there to take care of the stock, and prized animals didn't mysteriously walk away in the middle of the night.

After a few days, you'd get to know who the heavier sleepers were, and they'd pick up guys' cots in the middle of the night and carry them over a row or two and watch their reactions when they woke up.

One year, they picked up a particularly heavy sleeper and carried him across the fairgrounds to a building used for floral displays. The poor guy didn't wake up until after the fair had opened for the day, and fairgoers were treated to the spectacle of a scowling man carrying a cot under his arm storming back to the livestock barn wearing nothing but a t-shirt and boxer shorts.

stu29573 said...

Yep. I wonder what's going to happen to them? I kind of hate to think about it.

JC Shannon said...

Suddenly I have a craving for fried butter, fried Oreos and, well, fried anything. I love all the bright colors and cool rides. These are real gems. Imagine the people hours it took to set all this up. Now I'm gonna fry up some Twinkies, thanks Major!

Melissa said...

I rode the Kangaroo at Kennywood this September. It's surprising how much thrill you can get from such a simple ride. The Whip, the oldest ride in the park, was even better.

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-

Thumbs-up for The Whip and the Kangaroo. And as far as Kennywood is concerned, well, it's a national treasure.

Budblade said...

I have a slightly different perspective on these photos, as I was being born within a month of them being taken, only about 2 hours (now) south-west of here.
I love seeing the rides I literally grow up riding.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, I can’t say for sure if I’ve ever been on a Rock-O-Plane! Thanks again for your help - I’m sure I will be bugging you again.

TokyoMagic!, OK good to know. I love these old fair/carnival pix too. I have been on a Skydiver Ferris Wheel, and definitely remember the steering wheel. Gosh, I just can’t tell if that is a walk-through attraction or not.

Nanook, one of the great pleasures in life is to bite into chocolate covered broccoli and get that burst of stinky water!

TokyoMagic!, as my dad always said, “Don’t knock it until you try it”. He liked salami and jelly sandwiches.

stu29573, you have a good point!

stu29573, that is a bummer about Sandy Lake Park. I’m sure many thousands of locals have fond memories of that place. I wonder what will become of the “Laff In the Dark” ride??

K. Martinez, I saw that little ride in the foreground, but figured it was something familiar. I don’t know the “Kangaroo” ride! Thanks for pointing it out.

K. Martinez, I always hate hearing about any amusement park closure.

Chuck, wait, wait… are you telling me that you actually saw Bowser in the flesh?? I love the stories of your dad and personal recollections of the Ohio State Fair. I wish I could dump a wheelbarrow full of manure on some politicians. Your story about picking up the heavy sleeper reminds me of a movie, but I can’t remember which one. Maybe “Meatballs”? Did it have a scene with a sleeping camper being carried away?

stu29573, at this point those “Laff In the Dark” rides are historic treasures. I hope somebody preserves this one.

Jonathan, so far I have avoided fried butter, fried Twinkies, and fried Oreos. I did have something called a “tornado potato” at a recent carnival - it was tasty! Definitely worth the wait in line. And I still have a fondness for cotton candy. Glad you liked these!

Melissa, I can only assume that the Kangaroo goes up and down. Time to look on YouTube, that source of all videos. The last time I rode The Whip (and the Santa Monica Pier), I sat on the inside and my young niece was on the outside. I spent the entire ride trying to keep centrifugal force from making me crush her!

Nanook, are you saying that Nicholas Cage has been there?

Major Pepperidge said...

Budblade, very cool, I’m glad these pix brought back some fond memories!

Melissa said...

Here's a video of the Kangaroo.

The Wheeled Vehicles go in a circle, and at one point they go up a ramp and shoot off it back down to the ground. Once it gets going you get a sensation of free-falling.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, after leaving that comment, I noticed that the attraction that looks like it could possibly be a walk-thru, is also showing up in the third pic. In that view, it looks like two kids are climbing a flight of stairs or a ladder on a second level balcony (which is also visible in the last pic). It looks dangerous!

I haven't had the fried Twinkies, Oreos, or butter on a stick, but I did try a deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich at Castle Park in Riverside, CA. It was pretty good! And I love cotton candy, but only when it's fresh (and warm) out of the machine. Back in the eighties, we used to make it fresh at the Original Berry Stand at Knott's. I think that was the only place in the park where you could get it (after the Lagoon closed across the street). Now they sell it, but it is pre-bagged and who knows just when the heck it was made?

JG said...

Wow, this looks like a lot of fun. I want to tour this midway with the GDB team and hear Ken describe all the rides in person.

I remember really enjoying the Rock-O-Plane, but would never have remembered that name. I've seen the barrel roll wheel at the Fresno Fair, but wow, so long ago.

Also remember the double Ferris Wheel at the Long Beach Pike. If memory serves, part of the circuit had the wheels extending out past the end of the pier over the water. This seemed even more terrifying, although on reflection, falling in the water would probably be marginally safer than falling onto the pier.

I visited Long Beach last fall for work, and was disappointed to see that the old park had turned into a mall. Not a bad mall, but we have plenty of malls, and fewer tacky amusement parks.

Thanks everyone for the comments, this was a very enjoyable post. Tip of the hat to the Major.


JG said...

@Chuck, my friends in FFA (Future Farmers of America) used to have to stay with their animals overnight at the Fresno Fair. I never did this as we had no livestock. I'm sure there were plenty of monkeyshines (cattleshines) involved though.