FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) — We are less than 2 days away from the start of the Great Minnesota Get-Together.
State Fair officials are assuring fair goers the rides are safe. Amusement rides have been under scrutiny since a ride in Ohio broke apart last month. The accident killed one man and injured seven others.
There are 60 rides at the Minnesota State Fair. It’s an around-the-clock process, inspecting them to make sure they’re up to code before the State Fair opens, and then daily once it does open.
They still have about 20 more rides to inspect before Thursday, but they showed us what goes into that process.
While you’re waiting in line to be twisted and turned at the Mighty Midway at the State Fair this year, you trust the ride has been inspected multiple times. The Mighty Midway features more than 30 carnival rides and 50 games of skill.
“Safety is the No. 1 priority of the Minnesota State Fair, grounds-wide and particularly here,” said Jim Sinclair, deputy general manager of the Minnesota State Fair.
Five official ride inspectors arrive days ahead of time to ensure all of the rides are ready to open. Three stay through the fair to continue inspections and any maintenance. State electrical inspectors also check the rides out.
Joe Bixler and his team have been inspecting rides independently at the fair for 20 years. He checks the mechanicals, safety bars and looks in hidden areas for any corrosion.
“If you start seeing corrosion. Corrosion is sort of like cancer, once you get it, it can be anywhere,” Bixler said.
While the State Fair has never had the “Fireball” ride — that broke apart at an Ohio fair last month — it did prompt even extra precaution. Ride inspector Joe Bixler says they’ve spent more time looking at any hidden areas beneath panels.
“Some of the rides that are here, we had them remove the fiberglass, not a normal procedure. But we did because of what’s happened,” Bixler said.
There have never been any serious ride-related injuries at the Minnesota State Fair. Fair officials say they do everything they can to make sure it stays that way.
“We will not compromise in safety and put our guests at risk,” Sinclair said.
A lot of the rides at the fair came from another fair before this. Fair officials will follow a ride from the previous fair, and then it is inspected again once it arrives here before it’s ready for riders.
One thing to note is we hear sometimes about rides breaking down, maybe the Sky Ride stops. The ride inspector told says that is a good thing. If a ride stops, it has detected something isn’t quite right so when we hear about those cases it means the ride did its job.