In wake of Ohio State Fair tragedy, Minnesota fair organizers talk ride safety

Officials opened up about the inspection process.
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The Minnesota State Fair is talking about something that's been on a lot of people's minds: the deadly ride accident that happened at the Ohio State Fair last month.

On the first day of Ohio's fair, a ride called the Fire Ball broke apart mid-flight, sending passengers flying into the air. 

One of those riders died after the seat he was in flew 50 feet and crashed. A number of others suffered serious injuries. Ultimately, inspectors found that corrosion caused the Fire Ball to break apart

On Tuesday, organizers of the Great Minnesota Get-Together addressed the tragedy during a talk with reporters, trying to ease concerns about ride safety on the Mighty Midway

"We have the top guy in the nation, Joe Bixler out of Seattle, and his team of ride amusement inspectors" working for the fair, Minnesota State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer told MPR News

Shortly after July's Ohio accident, the Minnesota State Fair clarified that the offending ride, the Fire Ball, would not be part of the Midway this year, and in fact never had been.

The Minnesota State Fair also said all of its rides are inspected both prior to the fair, and daily once the get-together starts.

MPR says the only notable ride incident in Minnesota came in 2012, when the Stratosphere suffered power outages and "stranded some riders high above the fair on two separate days."

Minnesota's not alone

Our state fair isn't the only one taking a second look at safety.

The Ohio incident seems to have rattled fair organizers across the country, with the Great New York State Fair – which starts this week, too – taking steps to ensure families they won't have to worry about getting hurt on the rides. 

Next Up


Minnesota State Fair off to rough start

Opening day at the fair started off a little bumpy with a brief ride malfunction and lower attendance at the pig barn after the Swine Flu virus raised cause for concern. Day two kicks of with the Governor's Fire Prevention Day and Alan Jackson performs at the Grandstand tonight.

Another ride shut down at State Fair

The River Raft was closed after it had malfunctioned three times Tuesday afternoon and once on Monday. Ride operators told patrons the issue involves an electrical short that is kicking on an automatic shutoff. Last week, the Stratosphere Tower was closed after it stalled several times due maintenance issues.

Riders stranded again on State Fair swings

The Stratosphere Swing Tower stopped again in mid-air Friday morning. It was the second time in two days for the ride. The 200-foot-tall attraction, making its debut this year at the Minnesota State Fair, also stranded riders Thursday for about 20 minutes. KSTP reports that the same ride also stalled out at the Wisconsin State Fair.