With Pitt, Lenoir County fairs back in town, ride safety a top priority


GREENVILLE, Pitt County - It's that time of year again -- Pitt County and Lenoir County fairs opened their gates Tuesday and tons of locals plan to flock to the area to enjoy new rides, food and other festivities.

Rides are often the most popular attraction at any county fair, but not many people know what goes into making sure each ride is safe and ready for visitors. Fair organizers were quick to make sure their events were safe, saying that safety and fun always go hand in hand.

"Every single ride in the state of North Carolina has to be 100 percent or it does not get passed by the Department of Labor, and we feel the same way about that," said Marc Janas, general manager of Powers Great American Midways.

All of the rides at the Pitt County fair were supplied by Powers Great American Midways. It's a New York based company that supplies rides to fairs all over the country.

"He started with us a few years ago and they'll be here as long as we can keep them because they are top of the line," said Phyllis Ross, an executive with the Pitt County Fair.

In addition to the strict inspection the state does for each ride, Powers has its own inspectors follow the rides wherever they are. If you're wondering what exactly can cause a ride to fail an inspection, TK said it could be a number of things.

"It could be a broken well, it could be a pin, it could be something that isn't greased enough. There's a lot of just basic components," Janas said. "They're machines, so sometimes they break or they wear down just like your car and you have to take it for an oil change or rotate the tires. It's the same type of thing."

We dug deeper into Powers' accident history, a spokesperson for the N.C. Department of Labor told her that their rides have had three incidents nationwide in the past five years. She said that most ride incidents aren't mechanical issues -- they're related to rider error.

"If the operator says a person isn't tall enough, they don't want them to ride for their own safety," Janas said. "They want them to follow the rules."

While fair organizers hope everyone has fun this year, they want to make sure everyone is safe throughout the fair's run. In addition to making sure every ride in the state is safe, the Department of Labor also promotes rider safety. One of their top reminders for you and your kids -- never get on a ride if you don't meet the height requirement.

The Pitt County Fair will be running until this Sunday, while the Lenoir County Fair is running until this Saturday.

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