Safety First: More than 60 rides inspected ahead of opening day at SC State Fair

State - Regional

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- Elephant ears, candy apples, and corn dogs are just a few of the fine treats at the South Carolina State Fair. The fair opens October 9 and runs through October 20.

But, the preparation to get the rides up and running and concessions stocked has been going on for weeks.

Inch by inch, top to bottom, rides at the SC State Fair are thoroughly inspected.

“We have four inspectors and two state inspectors that go from the ground up checking that it’s leveled at the foundation. The integrity making sure it’s fastened together properly and then it must go through two operating cycles,” explained Duane Scott, the program administrator with SC Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

The inspections are done in three layers. The first two layers include inspections and ride audits. But, the owner of the rides also has a checklist to complete.

Lynda Franc, with North American Midway, the owner and operator of the rides, outlined the process the more than 400 crew members execute daily.

“You’ve got the state inspectors coming in and then we hire a third-party inspector that comes in to check all our rides. And then you have the operators, who are familiar with the ride and their doing daily inspections.”

The process for new rides is even longer. For example, this year, the fair will feature a 150-foot Ferris wheel to celebrate the SC State Fair’s 150th year.

Franc continued, “while all of our rides came in a week and a half, this one came in about two and a half weeks ago, so we can get it up.”

And for the inspectors, with every new ride, there is a new lesson. LLR team members go through the instructions and operating manuals before the ride has even arrived.

“We then are going to be looking for the same things, looking at the foundation to make sure it’s leveled, because it’s a huge piece of equipment and checking the passenger carriers,” added Scott.

Each year, the state fair generates more than $300,000 for high school seniors to attend college in the state.

The general manager expects an eight to ten percent increase in number of guests because of the historic celebration.

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