Columbus Dispatch, The (OH)
August 5, 1989

Author: Debera Bell and Graydon Hambrick, Dispatch Staff Reporters

Several people were injured yesterday at the Ohio State Fair as thousands stormed the Grandstand area to see their rock idols, the New Kids on the Block.

Gov. Richard F. Celeste ordered in extra State Highway Patrol troopers to help control the crowd last night.

The frenzied pushing and shoving almost canceled the concert, but in the end more than 25,000 fans got to see it. The concert ended about 10:45 p.m.

It was the second time in two weeks that a New Kids appearance at a fair in central Ohio provoked such a furor.

The crush began almost eight hours before the concert. When the Bob Barnes Rodeo began at 1:30 p.m., teen-agers already were packing the stands for the concert.

At one point, officials threatened to cancel the concert if the crowd did not calm down.

A Celeste spokesman said the governor ordered 50 more troopers sent in for extra security. Celeste was at the Grandstand when the huge throng began its initial pushing and shoving.

Last night, a patrol lieutenant said there were at least 130 troopers on duty. Some patrol cadets and Columbus police were also at the fairgrounds.

Nine people were treated in hospitals for minor injuries. Melissa Eden, 11, of Columbus was treated in Children’s Hospital for a leg injury.

Treated in Doctors Hospital North were Lori Staton, 16, of Parkersburg, W.Va.; Angela Berry, 16, of Grove City; Rebecca Larkin, 13, of Edison, Ohio; Mary Toops, 15, of Columbus; Sarah Bridges, 23, of Fort Recovery, Ohio; Mandy Parsons, 17, of Wapakoneta, Ohio; Hazel Borders, 13, of Columbus; and Tracie Meixelberger, 14, of Courtland, Ohio.

About 40 youngsters were treated at the fair’s first-aid station for minor cuts, hyperventilation and heat exhaustion, a spokesman said.

Fair spokesman Shane Jenkins said security was adequate. “It’s not the number of people; it’s their state of mind,” he said.

New Kids on the Block have the No. 1 single on the Billboard chart, I’ll Be Loving You (Forever). At a New Kids concert on July 24 at the Clark County Fair in Springfield, 30 youngsters were treated for heat exhaustion.

By 3 p.m., several thousand people were waiting outside the already packed grandstand. More surrounded the gates that ring the track.

Cowboys competing in the rodeo at first thought the Grandstand, which holds about 8,000, was filled with rodeo fans, but it was the New Kids – as well as Tiffany and Tommy Page – the audience wanted to see.

“They’re all here for the rock ‘n’ roll group, I guess,” said Matt Gale, a 21-year-old cowboy from Moody, Texas. “They weren’t watchin’ no rodeo.

Some parents said they won’t be coming back.

“We’ve been coming for 10 years,” said Debra Meyer, of Hamler, who was separated from her husband and sons. “We’re not coming anymore.”

New Kids on the Block fans overrun infield seating at Ohio State Fair

Melissa Eden is removed after suffering leg injury in pre-concert rush

Dispatch photos by Chris RussellPHOTO

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH Copyright (c) 1989 The Dispatch Printing Co.
Record Number: 8902260511

My Review:
wow 25,000 fans? That is crazy. I remember every detail. It was so hot and we were crammed into those gates where the animals would run through for the rodeo. People were offering us money to get in. Some people even just crammed themselves in. It was very hot. The ice cream vendors started throwing us ice cream.  When my sister saw me get crushed, she panicked and didn’t want to stay. While we were waiting for mom to pick us up New Kids’ limo pulled up to the gates to be let in. That is the closest I ever got to them 😦


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