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Cobden Peach Festival goes without carnival rides

COBDEN (WSIL) — More complaints against an amusement ride company out of Indiana. 

Two upcoming local events are doing without a carnival because of the company’s history in southern Illinois. 

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

Since that report, a handful of other organizer from festivals have reached out to News 3 about their complaints with the company. 

Both the Fayette County Fair in Vandalia and the Carlyle Street Fair in the Metro East claim they are out more than $1,000.

The Williamson County Fair will be in town starting Aug. 4 but there won’t be a Ferris wheel or any other carnival rides. 

That fair isn’t the only one dealing with a lack of a carnival. 

The Cobden Peach Festival starts on Friday and this year you’ll see something different for the kids to enjoy.

"We do not have a carnival this year," Festival Chairman Gary Sweitzer said. "We had some unfortunate events take place."

Sweitzer said they originally hired Steel Horse Midway Attractions, the same company that Ava Homecoming organizers and a handful of other festivals and fairs say ripped them off. 

"They were supposed to bring a carnival food truck, ten pieces as far as rides and games," Sweitzer said. 

The Peach Festival Chairmen decided at the beginning of of July to not go with the amusement ride company due to their history which left little time to find another idea. 

That’s where Cobden native Dave Stewart comes in. 

"They contacted me and said ‘hey would you be interested in doing the carnival for us,’" Stewart said. 

Stewart owns a local Cobden business, Bounce Blast. 

"Hometown boy here in Cobden; lived here all my life," Stewart said. "They’ve been good to us and Cobden has always been good to me so this is my opportunity to give back to them."

Between the 13 bounce houses and bubble kicks, Stewart said they will be plenty for the kids. 

"Parents get a good night off because the kids go home tired and go to sleep real easy," Stewart said laughing.

At this year’s Peach Fest, you won’t find a Ferris Wheel. Instead you’ll find lots of peaches, bounce houses and a man who loves his hometown. 

"That’s what it’s all about; giving back to the community," Stewart said. "The community has been good to me."

The Peach Festival board is out more than $1,000 from the amusement ride company. 

Armbands for the bounce houses and the bubble kick will be $10 a night. 

Sweitzer said the Cobden High School sports teams and band are volunteering to staff the bounce houses on Friday and Saturday. 

Click here for more information on the Peach Festival. 

The Williamson County Fair also decided to cancel the carnival because they don’t want what has happened to Ava, Carlyle, Fayette County and festivals in Indiana to happen here. 

A Williamson County board member said they plan on having bounces houses at the fair next week. 

News 3 reached out to the owner of Steel Horse Midway Attractions, Brett Tabor, on Wednesday. He said he is still trying to make it right with these organizers and is working to get their money back to them. 

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News 3 Staff

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