Local News

Officials Give Final Approval For Rides At State Fair

Posted October 16, 2003

— At last year's fair, a worker was struck and killed by a ride. This year, officials want to assure the public that the rides are safe and ready to go.

Eleven state inspectors spent the day checking and rechecking all 80 rides for the State Fair. They watched as every piece of hardware was unloaded from the rail cars until it was all set up on the midway.

"Be assured that when you see the Department of Labor certificate on these rides, you can be sure that it is as safe as humanly possible to make it," state Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said.

James Strates, president of Strates Shows, said the rides are so safe that he feels confident about putting his kids on them.

"My kids ride these rides all the time. Right now, they're in Orlando going to school, but if they were here, they would be riding all day long and it's hard to get them to quit," he said.

While the people who run the fair point out that no fair-goer has died on a ride, a worker died at last year's fair. A ride operator with Amusements of America was struck and killed by The Bonsai.

"Just as it is on the highway or if you're up on a ladder trying to clean off your roof, accidents happen and no one intends them to and even when you work really hard at it, it can happen sometimes," Strates said.

Labor Department statistics show most ride accidents are from human error, not mechanical error. Statistics show most injuries are caused by riders not following the rules of the ride.

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