Labor commissioner touts safety of fair rides

Labor commissioner touts safety of fair rides

3:13pm Oct 03, 2013
Bill Essick, an inspector with the N.C. Department of Labor, talks about inspecting the rides in advance of the Dixie Classic Fair.
Photo by Paul Garber/WFDD

It's opening day Friday for the Dixie Classic Fair in Winston-Salem. 

On the eve of the fair's opening, fair officials and state Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry held a press conference to discuss fair safety and to assure fairgoers that all 70 of the rides on the fair's midway have been inspected and are mechanically safe. Berry said that, unlike some other states that use private inspectors, North Carolina's fairs are checked out by state department of labor inspectors through a program paid for by fair receipts.

"We inspect every ride every single time it's assembled, disassembled and reassembled in North Carolina it gets another inspection," Berry said.

Fair inspectors started arriving at the fairgrounds Sept. 26, and eight inspectors will be on hand through the fair's run. 

"Last year, and in prior years, we've had no recordable incidents because of mechanical failure of the rides," Berry said. "Our program is that good, and I'm very proud of it."

The fair runs through Oct. 13. Last year, about 280,000 people attended the fair, but rain took a toll on attendance. In 2011, about 357,000 people attended.

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