State Fair ride inspections in progress to ensure safety for everyone

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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. -- The start of the Nebraska State Fair is only two days away, so the ride inspection process is underway to ensure safety for everyone.

Officials said the inspection process is going well and will be repeated multiple times, because safety is the top priority.

Checking ride seat belts is one of the many things inspectors look at when writing their report.

"It's a very comprehensive check of the records, the manufacturers, the operations, and the safety of each ride that is going to be installed and operated here in Nebraska before it's permitted," Chris Cantrell, the director of the Office of Safety for the Nebraska Department of Labor, said.

Wade Shows is the Midway operator for the State Fair. Fair representatives said they are known for their good safety record.

"Wade Shows go above and beyond for safety," Wagner Consulting Group Supervisor Dean Shelley said. "They hire a third-party and they have their own certified inspectors." "Each ride is inspected daily before pre-open," Shelley added.

State inspectors also make sure the rides are safe and if they aren't, the ride will be red tagged.

"A red tag can't be removed unless the state inspector or one of his deputies has verified that red tag or deficient condition has been corrected," Cantrell said.

People are reminded to take an active part in being safe by reading ride signs and understanding age, height, and weight restrictions.

"Take the time to verify that each ride that you are considering riding has a Nebraska permit on it," Cantrell said. "If you can't see it ask the ride operator to show you that."

Everything will be finished Friday before the Midway opens at 1 p.m.

One of the biggest features of the State Fair many people are looking forward to is the outdoor concert series.

Even with rain possibly on the horizon for the weekend, fair officials said the show must go on.

This is the second year of the outdoor concerts at the State Fair and they're raising the number from two to three.

With big artists like Thomas Rhett and Lady Antebellum performing, the concerts are expected to be a huge hit.

Fair representatives said it's important to have the concerts outside, because they will be able to bring in bigger name acts and pay for them.

They added regardless of the weather the show will go on.

"It's rare that an outdoor concert is actually cancelled, because of rain," Joseph McDermott, executive director of the Nebraska State Fair, said. "If rain comes through we will simply delay the concert or maybe take a break during it to let the rain pass, and then continue on with the concerts."

He added there will be a capacity of about 13,000 with the concert being outdoors.

Everyone is welcome to attend the concerts and enjoy themselves at the fair.

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