Rides at Rock County 4-H Fair pass state inspection

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Gina Duwe
Monday, July 27, 2015

JANESVILLE--All of the rides at the Rock County 4-H Fair this week have passed state safety inspections this year, and the ride operators continue daily inspections, a spokeswoman said.

Farrow Shows, a subsidiary of North American Midway Entertainment, has 27 rides at the fair in Janesville that kicks off today and continues through Sunday, said Amy Girton, director of communications and media relations. Farrow has been the midway provider at the fair for more than 40 years, she said.

Safety is the company's No. 1 priority, she said. While the state inspects each ride annually, each ride operator does a daily inspection, she said.

The operator has a document indicating check points that must be inspected every day, and that sheet is reviewed by a manager and entered into a computer, she said.

“If there are issues with the daily inspections, we will not run the ride and make appropriate means to get it fixed,” she said.

One way to check the status of amusement rides in Wisconsin is by looking for a pair of stickers that make up the shape of the state. The state issues the top half of the sticker when the ride is registered each year, and the ride receives the bottom half after it passes state inspection, said Hannah Zillmer, public information officer for the state Department of Safety and Professional Services.

The stickers must be in a visible location on the rides, she said, and rides can operate with only the top sticker.

“It's something easy for consumers to check and see,” she said.

All of the rides at the Rock County 4-H Fair have both stickers, Girton said.

The state inspects each ride at least once a year, and inspectors try to complete them as quickly as possible because the ride season only runs from May to September, Zillmer said.

The state on July 8 issued orders for three rides operated by Farrow and scheduled a follow-up inspection in August, Zillmer said. All three were minor violations that allow the rides to continue to operate.

“It's nothing we would consider a threat to public safety,” she said.

The orders were to add a micro switch to a trap door on the Starship, repair a hydraulic leak on the Remix and eliminate the strain relief at the center of the Yo Yo.

The Remix and Yo Yo issues have been addressed and completed, Girton said, and Farrow completed the manufacturer's instructions for the Starship ride. The state wanted the ride changed to its specifications and gave Farrow one year to complete them, she said.

Zillmer said ride owners are “very concerned with safety.”

“They're very concerned with keeping their machinery in good working order,” she said. “It's unusual that we find a very serious violation.”

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