Safety First: Kentucky State Fair rides undergo inspections befo - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Safety First: Kentucky State Fair rides undergo inspections before opening day

As setup continued the day before the fair opens, state inspectors thoroughly checked each ride. (Source: Michael Williams, WAVE 3 News) As setup continued the day before the fair opens, state inspectors thoroughly checked each ride. (Source: Michael Williams, WAVE 3 News)
Jeffrey Blomsness  (Source: Michael Williams, WAVE 3 News) Jeffrey Blomsness (Source: Michael Williams, WAVE 3 News)
Chad Halsey  (Source: Michael Williams, WAVE 3 News) Chad Halsey (Source: Michael Williams, WAVE 3 News)
rides that have passed inspection will display a bright orange sticker. (Source: Michael Williams, WAVE 3 News) rides that have passed inspection will display a bright orange sticker. (Source: Michael Williams, WAVE 3 News)
Ride inspections are handled by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.  (Source: Michael Williams, WAVE 3 News) Ride inspections are handled by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. (Source: Michael Williams, WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - You can already smell the corn dogs, funnel cakes, and deep fried Oreos. On the day before the 2017 Kentucky State Fair opens its 11 day run, crews were busy doing last minute set up and inspections.
 
New this year is the move of the midway rides to a new location in the parking lot in front of Kentucky Kingdom. The new space provides a flat ground for the 50 rides this year at the state fair. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture started inspecting the rides on Monday and were continuing their work on Wednesday.  
 
North American Midway Entertainment has been the contract provider of Kentucky's midway rides for the past 10 years. Jeffrey Blomsness, chairman of North American Midway Entertainment, says they did not bring their Fire Ball thrill ride
this year because of what recently happened in Ohio. 
 
On July 26, the Fire Ball ride collapsed at the Ohio State Fair, killing one person and injuring seven others. The manufacturer of the Fire Ball says the malfunction was caused by "excessive corrosion." The Fire Ball ride consists of at least six rows of seats that spin around 40 feet above the ground as the entire structure moves like a pendulum. A video posted online shows several people on the Fire Ball seconds before parts of the structure broke apart and fell while in motion.

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"We have three of those rides," Blomsness said. "They have been very safe for us. We parked all three of those rides - which is tough in the state fair season - in our facility. We are awaiting til next year when we can take them in to the factory
and get a complete renovation."
 
On Wednesday, Chad Halsey with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture says his crews were fully inspecting every single ride at the Kentucky State Fair and they will continue to do so randomly throughout the fair.
 
"We are checking the hydraulics, seatbelts, checking for bolts, checking for cracks," Halsey said. "We either start on the inside and move out or outside and move in so we don't forget nothing."
 
Crews from the Department of Agriculture will stay on the fairgrounds for the duration. It's not just ground work, they'll be also be climbing the rides to inspect them. Halsey said what happened in Ohio is on their minds and they are have always made safety a priority.
 
"The taxpayers they pay us to do a job to make sure these rides are safe for the kids to ride," Halsey said. "We may be looking at rust a little different than what we used to but, it doesn't change what we do in Kentucky. We are still checking them thoroughly."
 
Halsey said once the fair opens, they will make sure the North American Midway ride operators are doing what they are supposed to, including daily inspections. He adds that ride operators have to load the ride a certain way and seatbelts are being used. Halsey also cautioned the public should follow rules too, like height requirements. 
 
The 2017 Kentucky State Fair runs from August 17-27. If fairgoers see something that doesn't seem right they should say something.

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