By Michael P Coleman

Our hearts went out to the families and friends of those injured and killed at the Ohio State Fair earlier this week when their popular Fire Ball ride malfunctioned. 

As we enjoy the final weekend of the California State Fair, I reached out to our friends there for assurance that precautions were being taken.  I was delighted to learn that despite incidents with the Fire Ball ride here in Sacramento, the California State Fair had proactively closed the ride for the duration of the Fair. 

Here’s the California State Fair’s prepared statement: 

After hearing the news of the incident on an amusement ride in Ohio, Butler Amusements and Cal Expo, took a proactive approach and immediately closed the ride. Although the Fire Ball ride has operated without incident at the California State Fair, it is prudent for the ride to remain closed pending further instructions from safety officials.

Safety is the top priority of Butler Amusements and the California State Fair.  Butler Amusements and Coulter & Associates (Cal Expo’s professional third party inspection company) are working closely with State safety officials and the ride’s manufacturer.   Together, we are committed to ensuring our guests’ safety.

In addition to industry standards, The California State Fair takes additional ride safety precautions.   While the State of California inspects all rides, the California State Fair hires an independent ride inspection company, Coulter & Associates to inspect every ride as it comes off the transit trucks, inspects the rides as they are set-up and prior to operation.  The independent company continues to inspect the rides throughout the Fair from July 14 through July 30.  Butler Amusements also inspects the rides daily.   Safety is the top priority for Butler Amusements and the California State Fair.

With every precaution having been taken to assure the safety of all fairgoers, we look forward to the Fair’s final weekend!  Here’s a look at what’s happening:

  • Steampunk at the Races – Friday, July 28 from 2:00 – 5:00p.m. at the Miller Lite Racetrack Grandstand. People and horses will be in costume, and there will be a hoop dance performance. The winner of “Steampunk’d” Ave Rose will have her impressive Steampunk display in Expo Building 8.
  • Splash Dogs – This SUPER popular event is back for the final weekend! Watch dogs run, jump, and land in a giant pool of water.
  • Professional Chef Challenge – Top chefs compete with a mystery ingredient to make the best 3 course meal. The first two rounds happen on Friday, July 28. The final round happens Sunday, July 30
  • Emoji Movie Tour – The mobile movie tour is at Fair for the last three days, ball pit, cornhole and selfie-opportunities galore!
  • Supreme Champion Swine – The best of the best will be chosen on Friday at 6 p.m.
  • Llama, Alpacas, and long horns – The Tractor Supply Co. Big Barn is filled with llamas, alpacas, and long horn cattle
  • Freestyle Motocross Show – Watch these motorcyclists soar and get the crowd roaring! Three shows daily in the Lagoon until the end of the Fair
  • Belinda CarlisleFriday, July 28 at 8 p.m.
  • Fireworks – fireworks launch at 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday
  • Bike Valet & Meet-up – Saturday, July 29 is the last day of our FREE bike valet service. Bike valet takes place at Green Gate near Papa Murphy’s Park. The Bike Meet-up will start at 11:00 a.m. at the Midtown Farmers’ Market and then a group ride to the Fair.
  • Art Advice Booth – Remember Peanut’s character Lucy’s Psychiatric Help booth? Well you’ll find it at Expo Building 7, but at this one you’ll get advice on your art.
  • Live Karaoke – It’s one thing to karaoke, it’s another to do it with a live band backing you up. Try it out. Saturday 8pm, 9pm, 10pm
  • The Marshall Tucker BandSaturday, July 29 at 8 p.m.
  • Culinary School Challenge – On Saturday, July 29 teams of two from various culinary schools will use a mystery ingredient to prepare a 3-course meal in front of a live fair audience and a panel of qualified Judges.
  • Apps for Ag – This is a 2.5 day event that starts with students at the Urban Hive in Midtown Sacramento, and finishes with teams pitching their app creations at the Fair on Sunday, July 30.
  • Gran Jaripeo y Baile – Dating back to the 16th century, this form of bull riding requires riders to ride their bull until it stops bucking entirely. Catch the action on Sunday, July 30 as this Mexican rodeo includes music, horse dancing, intricate costumes and other entertainment for the entire family.
  • E. Live – Melissa EtheridgeSunday, July 30 at 8 p.m.

Details on the California State Fair are available at

 michael bioConnect with Michael P Coleman at or on Twitter: @ColemanMichaelP.


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