Frederick Fair prides itself on ride safety

By Anna Ramsey, Round Table Classroom Manager

When The Great Frederick Fair starts every year, children and their families are eager to go enjoy competitions, food and rides. However, safety is always a concern when rides are assembled and disassembled in a matter of hours.

When looking at the rides, large amounts of rust are visible and they appear beaten down and unstable due to temporary adhesives such as Duct Tape.

But not everything is what it appears. C.S Holder, National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Official (NAARSO) says that the rides are safe, “they get inspected every time there is a fair,” and that a portion of the rides “get stripped and painted from the bottom up each year.”

The state of Maryland requires each member of NAARSO to go through 40 hours of classroom instruction, and must pass a final exam to maintain rides. To keep their license, employees must re-take the test every two years.

When accidents occur, ride operators are taught to stay calm, assess the situation and send for help.

The time it takes to assemble a ride can vary on its size. Rides like the Ferris Wheel take 12 hours and 15 workers to assemble. The smaller rides, like the Mini Tea Cups, take two workers and one hour to put together.

The life of a ride depends on how well it holds up through its use. Holder says that, “on average each ride can last up to 20 years, depending on how they are maintained,” except for inflatable bounce rides which only last up to two years.

In the winter time, when there are no fairs going on, the rides are stored in an airplane hangar upside down where there is more maintenance done.

It’s easy for the rides to break during transportation. The Tornado takes four trailers to transport while the Mini Tea Cups only take one trailer. In the course of one year, some of the rides are transported all over the east coast such as Vermont and Ocean City.

The Great Frederick Fair prides itself in the fact that there are minimal accidents. “Rides can last long if you treat them right,” said Holder.