Ride inspections ‘above and beyond’ at Lorain County Fair

Inspectors at the Lorain County Fair aren’t taking any chances after a malfunctioning ride caused one death and injured several others July 27 at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus.

This past weekend, two children at North Ridgeville’s Corn Festival suffered minor injuries when a car ride detached from its track.

While no inspection measures have been added this year, board member Kim Meyers said procedure at the Lorain County Fairgrounds already goes above and beyond the norm at other sites.

“We do things daily here and many times it’s once a week other places,” he said. “We feel very comfortable with what we do. Nothing opens unless it’s officially licensed for 2017.”

The Ohio Department of Agriculture oversees ride inspection at the state level and provides written reports to the fair board on opening day.

Each day the fair welcomes guests, ride operators are required to complete a 10-point checklist inspection by 11 a.m.

“Most fairs don’t do that and we’ve been doing it for probably 10 years now,” Meyers said. “It’s something I developed here because all of us always want to be extra careful. We’ll continue to follow that policy because it’s continued to put us and our guests in a good position.”

In other news, $100,000 has been put toward general site improvements at the fairgrounds.

Fair board member and grounds director Don Crawford said a new swine wash rack has been installed along with fixes to cement and drainage at various spots. Close to 400 feet of new fence has also been put up that extends from the grandstand to the main restroom area.

“We had water get in under one of our concrete pads and we had to dig it up,” he said. “The drain was fixed underneath and we got a brand new pad put on top. That was over by the show barn.”

In dairy barns, support poles have been replaced along with the front and backs of the buildings being refaced with new steel and doors.

Crawford said improvement projects will continue at the fair the next few years but will likely be harder to notice than flashier past initiatives.

Other projects could include replacing the Junior Fair barn and constructing a new fair hall.

“We spent a lot of money on that veterans building last year so now we had to cut back a little bit,” he said. “We did a lot of these repairs and other things that just had to be done. We’ll probably have a couple more years of that and then look at what the next big project will be.”

Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.

By Jonathan Delozier