Tennessee State Fair takes extra precaution to make sure rides are safe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee State Fair opens Friday, less than a week after a carnival ride called the “Moonraker” malfunctioned in Memphis. Six children and two adults were sent to the hospital.

That ride won’t be at the State Fair, but as an extra precaution, officials have brought in a certified inspector to look at the rides before they open.

That inspector says he found several items that needed to be fixed but nothing too serious.

According to the Tennessee State Fair manager, fair rides only have to be inspected once a year by a certified inspector. The rides have already passed the federal regulation.

However, the Tennessee State Fair Board and the company that owns the rides, North American Midway Entertainment, hired a certified inspector just in case.

“We just wanted to make sure that we did our due diligence, that the rides are safe as they can be,” said Tennessee State Fair Manager Scott Jones.

On Sept. 3, six children and two adults were taken to the hospital when a ride malfunctioned at the Delta Fair in Memphis. On Aug. 8 at an East Tennessee fair,three girls were injured when they fell 30 to 45 feet from a Ferris Wheel.

Those companies are not involved in the Tennessee State Fair. The company that is, North American Midway Entertainment, is the largest traveling amusement company in the country.

“The company takes safety very seriously because this is their livelihood,” said Jones. “For the state fair too, we take it very seriously.”

John Dodson with Comspec Consulting was the inspector who was hired to go over the rides with a fine-tooth comb. He has over 30 years experience inspecting anything from roller coasters to Tilt-A-Whirls.

“After I inspect them, I have no trouble putting my own family and my own children on the rides,” stated Dodson. “We like to make sure that when the public comes into a fair, festival or amusement they come in with a smile and leave with a bigger smile.”

Last year’s Tennessee State Fair drew more than 117,000 people. The fair runs from Sept 9-18.

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