GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — As the Pitt County Fair kicks off, local officials are working to keep ride-goers safe, especially after the fatal Ohio State Fair accident in July.
Mark Janas is the general manager of Powers Great American Midways — a Wilmington-based company that provides the 35 rides for the Pitt County Fair — and his family has been in the fair business for generations.
“We’ve had a long history in the county fair business in the state of North Carolina,” said Janas. “We enjoy it. It’s a homecoming.”
Their inspectors work hand in hand with the N.C. Department of Labor inspectors before the gates open.
“We do our first inspections, and then the Department of Labor double checks us to make sure nothing is missed,” said Alan Wheelock, Great American Midways ride maintenance supervisor and inspector. “…I mean, make sure all the safety restraints work, all the checks and pins, all the grease fittings, everything is greased and maintained.”
They continue those inspections through the remainder of the week.
“We do a pre-safety check every day,” said Janas. “We have a ride and check prior to opening, and then throughout the day we do safety checks randomly to make sure everything is 100 percent up to snuff.”
One of the rides, Vertigo, is similar to the pendulum-swinging ride at the Ohio State Fair that killed one person over the summer, but Janas said he doesn’t think that will sway anyone from attending the Pitt County Fair.
“As long as you get to come out and then follow the safety rules, we make sure they are 100 percent every day,” said Janas. “We want everybody to come out and ride with our family, your family; just enjoy yourself and have a good time.”
“My kids ride these rides so, everybody, we do it for safety,” said Wheelock. “We just don’t want any issues, and we don’t have any.”