By SARAH GRACE TAYLOR
In the wake of the Ohio State Fair ride accident, which left seven injured and one dead, the Williamson County Fair is more focused on safety than ever.
Williamson County Mayor and Fair Chairman Rodgers Anderson says that safety, on and off the midway, is the board’s biggest concern.
The midway, where rides, games and other fair attractions take place, can be dangerous if safety rules are not heeded.
The county institutes a standard security protocol on the fairgrounds each year. In addition, they have worked with midway company Drew Expositions since 2005. Working with an expert company such as this one ensures that state and federal standards are fully met.
“We believe Drew Expositions is the gold standard for Midways, and they have developed such a strong reputation by focusing everything on layers of safety,” Anderson said. “In addition to the state and federal oversight that these rides undergo, Drew contracts with third-party experts to oversee safety inspections and conduct audits on their processes and personnel.”
According to Anderson, all midway operators are “extensively” trained and undergo drugs screening before the fair begins.
“We met with a number of midway operators in the early stages of planning,” Diane Giddens, Director of Entertainment and Merchandise said at the Franklin Public Affairs Roundtable, said. “Time and time again Drew came out on top because of their safety record and their longstanding history in the midway business.”
Neither the Williamson County fair nor Drew Expositions have experienced any notable ride accidents. However, Giddens says the recent accident hits close to home.
“Certainly we are all concerned with safety and our hearts and thoughts are with the folks at the Ohio State Fair with the tragedy that happened there,” Giddens said. “But we want folks to know that safety is our number one concern… our fair will be as safe as ever.”
The Williamson County Fair will run Aug. 4 through 12.