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Safety a priority at Fair

Xavier Smith • Updated Aug 19, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Wilson County Fair officials and their partnering carnival ride operating company reassured potential fair visitors that safety would be the main priority in wake of the Greene County Fair incident nearly two weeks ago.

Officials in Greene County said a mechanical malfunction caused a Ferris wheel cabin to tip over, which sent two sisters, aged 6 and 10, and another 16-year old to the ground from about 40 feet in the air.

Family Attraction Amusements was the carnival operator for the Greene County Fair, but will not be the ride operator for the Wilson County Fair, which has used Amusements of America for the last 8 years.

Billy Costagliola, Amusements of America safety director, said safety has always been and will remain the top priority of the company.

Costagliola said the company, which is certified with the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials (NAARSO), has been in business since about 1940 and takes several safety measures before, during and after any fair or carnival.

The company has a maintenance facility in South Carolina that operates year round and puts several eyes on rides, including several NAARSO certified inspectors that will be onsite during this year’s fair.

“We not only have the state inspection, but we have a third party inspector come in and they give us a real thorough looking over,” said Costagliola. “Safety is our No. 1 priority. It does no good for anybody to see someone get hurt. You have to maintain and inspect.”

Costagliola said area supervisors also walk around during the fair to monitor mechanical and personal safety.

“You want to make sure guys are goofing off, checking heights, closing gates, checking seatbelts and all that kind of stuff. There’s more to safety than making sure parts don’t fall off.  You have to make sure it’s being operated correctly,” he said.

Other changes to this year’s Wilson County Fair will also add additional safety to the event expected to draw more than 500,000 people.

Rides and food vendors will feature new LED lighting that will improve appearance, as well as brightness for areas around the rides and attractions. The midway has also been expanded, which will relieve congestion in many areas and give adequate space for queue lines.

“Bring you family out to the fair. My kids ride these rides,” Costagliola said. 

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