State News

Not All Rides Available at Fair Opening

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When I heard that Wade Shows might only have half the rides functioning and available when the Fair starts tomorrow, three things immediately popped into my head: 1) Yikes! 2) How can you bring over 100 rides somewhere and have only half of them ready? and 3) Wonder if they're going to be invited to bid next year.

Of course, this was before I learned a couple more things. First that Wade had never operated inside North Carolina before, and second that NC has some pretty stringent inspection laws.

One of these that the WRAL story mentions is 100% compliance -- if just one seat on a ride doesn't work, the whole ride is closed until everything passes inspection.

I'm just as happy to know that there are such extensive requirements for ride safety.

Even with those requirements, things occasionally go awry, like last year when The Tango got stuck. Nobody was hurt, and the problem was fixed fairly quickly, but things happen.

If you're interested in how North Carolina regulates rides, you can see an overview of North Carolina's oversight and responsibilities at And if you're a legal wonk, you can check out the Amusement Device Safety Act of North Carolina, available from the North Carolina General Assembly Web site.

Rides were still being assembled on Thursday afternoon, as you can see from the picture of the Ring of Fire actually being the U of Fire. Ferris Wheels were missing their seats ("No wonder it didn't pass inspection," somebody cracked) and cars were being added to the roller coasters. If I had to bet I would guess that there's going to be cable unrolling, sparks flying from welders, and structural and electrical checks going deep into the night.