GREENEVILLE (WJHL) – As two federal lawsuits await against the company that operated rides at last year’s Greene County Fair, officials with the fair are stepping up efforts to prevent any accidents this year.
The parents of two girls who fell from a Ferris wheel at last year’s fair filed suit against Family Attractions Amusement Company and High-Lite Rides, Incorporated. A second suit was filed by a woman who was in another gondola, who said she was injured during the incident.
State Rep. David Hawk said there will be three different inspections on this equipment this year, two more than what’s required. He said it’s all in an effort to make people feel safe at this year’s fair.
“We are going above and beyond to ensure safety at the Greene County Fair this year,” Hawk said. “You’re going to have three different sets of eyes all throughout the midway as the rides are going up and as the rides are ready to go.”
News Channel 11 requested the inspection reports that were performed last year for Belle City Amusements, the company contracted to bring rides to this year’s Greene County Fair.
The inspections are required to be submitted to the state in order to maintain a permit to operate. In those reports, it shows nearly 40 rides were inspected with about a dozen on-site corrections performed.
Some of the corrections listed include a seat connection high switch showing wear and a watch wheel showing wear on a ride called the Mini Himalaya, two seats being out of service and locked out on a ride called the Mini Enterprise, and other wear on parts of several other rides.
“Hopefully Belle City has reacted to these inspections the minor flaws that were found and that they’re going to do the right thing and that these rides are going to be safe for our citizens to ride,” Hawk said.
“Greene County Fair Board is doing everything possible to have the rides checked and double checked for safety,” said Rhona Humbert, vice president for the Greene County Fair Board.
Hawk says with the extra steps the fair is taking he feels confident in the safety of the rides.
“With what Greene County and the state of Tennessee are doing this year, I feel very comfortable allowing my daughters to ride those rides this year,” he said.
The fair kicks off on Monday but the rides will not open until Tuesday. Monday will be an extra day for set-up and inspections on rides. Because of that, the fair will run an extra day through next Sunday.