Final ride inspections being done days before Ohio State Fair begins


Inspectors with the Ohio Department of Agriculture are finishing up ride inspections, just two days before the Ohio State Fair starts.

Director Dorothy Pelanda said they have 78 rides to inspect. Chief inspector, Michael Vartorella, said they start their inspections by checking the structure first and work their way up.

For example, while checking the Giant Wheel, they check each connection point and each gondola. With that ride, along with others, they will check the metal thickness, they make sure the ride is leveled and that the blocking is correct.

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After they have checked everything that involves the structure, they will then move to checking operational procedures.

"Every day there is a requirement that myself and another inspector will be here throughout the fair making sure the pre-open inspections are done correctly," Vartorella said.

He said operators are required to check the ride the morning of each day before anyone gets on it to make sure it is working properly. If they see any errors or have any concerns, they are to report it immediately.

"Safety is number one, as you know immediately after taking the helm, I instituted new rules and regulations," Director Pelanda said.

She said they are confident with the new ride company they have hired and with the fact they ask specific questions before allowing a ride to operate.

Director Pelanda said they ask if there have been any changes to the ride since the last time it was inspected, has the ride every received any bulletins or notices from the manufacture and they ask about any past repairs. If any of the questions are answered with a yes, she says they will stop inspections until they have received all documentation. The operator is required to acknowledge the concern in writing and has 14 days to fix the problem.

"I will say to you, I have no qualms about shutting down a ride," Pelanda said.