East Tennessee fairs reassure carnival safety after Greene County accident

Jefferson County Fair

JEFFERSON CITY (WATE) – The Ferris wheel accident in Greene County that left three girls injured has many questioning the safety of other local fairs as they get ready to open.

The Jefferson County fair is opening Thursday night.

“You pay $12 to get in. It includes all carnival rides and all the entertainment. Of course the first two nights we got rodeo going on and Saturday night we got monster trucks,” said fair president Ricky Taylor.

He said they have been busy reassuring people that their carnival is safe. They have used the same company for more than 20 years and have it regularly inspected.

Previous story: 3 children fall from Ferris wheel at Greene County Fair

“For one, I feel sorry for the kids because that’s why I do the fair is to see the smile on their faces,” Taylor said. “One of the biggest questions is people are asking, ‘Is it the same carnival?’ Of course it’s not. This is the James Gang Amusements out of Alabama.”

Taylor said the rides are inspected each year based on Tennessee requirements and regularly inspected in other states to fit those requirements.

He said they have done everything they can to make sure this carnival is safe.

“Unfortunately that did happen, but they can feel safe here and we put our trust in this carnival,” Taylor said. “I want the public to know that they meet all the safety rules and they’ve been inspected and come on out and have a good time.”

The Jefferson County Fair kicks off Thursday night and runs through the 20.

Meanwhile, Fentress County Fair president Jimmy Sweet says they are using Family Attractions, the same company contracted for the Greene County Fair. He said if the state clears the ride operator, they will run rides at the fair, but the ride will go on without the rides if need be.

Sweet says even if the company is cleared, there will be no Ferris wheel. He said they have used Family Attractions for more than 20 years and they are good to deal with. He also said thoughts and prayers went out to the girls who were injured in Greene County.

The Fentress County Fair begins on Monday.


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