AUSTIN, MN — It is hard to miss all of the rides at your local fair, but carnival riders will be happy to know the equipment is inspected quite frequently.
Many people have their favorite ride at their local county fair.
“The Starship 2000 because it spins and spins and spins and I get dizzy,” said Mickela Jones of Austin.
Even though Jones has had an interesting experience on the ride, that will not keep her from going on it again.
“It went spin and spin for like 15 minutes and then it couldn’t stop and then it finally did and I was like hooray,” Jones said.
Despite what many people may think, these rides do have inspection rules and regulations that must be followed.
“We’re governed by two things. One, the laws of the state of Minnesota and the second by the good sense and rules laid out by our trade association, the Outdoor Amusement Business Association,” said Dale Merriam of Merriam’s Midway Shows.
Those rules call for inspections every time a ride moves from one location to another.
“Each ride is inspected after it is completely set up and ready for operation and then daily inspections before they open. Different ride operators are trained for each particular job and are responsible for that particular ride,” Merriam said.
Certified inspectors can make random stops whenever they want.
“Pretty much we’re up and running after we’re checked out, but they’re subject to come at any time and they’re welcome to do so certainly, we welcome the inspection,” Merriam said.
You can bet that safety is on everyone’s mind. In fact Merriam said their reputation reflects that.
“We don’t want any accidents either and we’ve been quite fortunate over the years. My father started this business in 1949 so it’s our 65th year in the business and we think our record has been excellent and we hope to keep it that way,” Merriam said.
They hope to keep people coming back year after year, which does not sound like too much of a challenge when it comes to Jones.
“If my mom makes me take a break I’m not gonna,” Jones said.
Each state has their own set of inspection rules. In Minnesota, a certified inspector must check over the rides sometime in the calendar year that they will be used, before they get used.
Merriam said in his experience, Iowa has one of the best ride inspection programs in the country.