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Fair Flap or Teakettle Tempest?

Swarms of day campers converging on the Ocean County Fair in Berkeley Township found themselves sitting at picnic tables instead of on thrill rides in Friday’s midday heat. The rides weren’t opening until 6 PM, well past they time they’d be back home

Ocean County Fair ride, sans riders (Riverside Signal)
Ocean County Fair ride, sans riders (Riverside Signal)

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According to the Riverside Signal, not everyone was aware, including some staffers, of the decision reached by perennial Fair organizer O.J. Meyer.

From his headquarters trailer at Robert J. Miller Airparik, Meyer told WOBM News that “the camps get in for free. I’d be losing money if I opened the rides before 6.” Many ride operators, he continued, aren’t on premises earlier in the day.

He also contended that camp leaders were aware that the children – mostly preschoolers and elementary-graders – would spend their time watching pig races, petting sheep, and eating midway-style food.

Day Campers at Ocean County Fair (Riverside Signal)
Day Campers at Ocean County Fair (Riverside Signal)

Yet the Fair web page, obscurely, advertises “fun family entertainment” and “thrilling rides,” with hours listed directly below – indicating fair operation on Fridays from 11 AM until 11 PM, but omitting any reference to hours of ride operation.

Kitty Meyer related that keeping the rides off-limits was actually a relief for many parents who confided that they could not pay out-of-pocket for all the attractions if they were open.

“It’s like the no-candy aisle in the supermarkets,” she said. “Some of them thanked me, because it kept arguments from starting.”

Meyer told us that the children would get to see magic and circus acts before they left.

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