ALBANY, GA (WALB) - More than 30 rides are up and ready at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds for the 70th annual Southwest Georgia Regional Fair. Each one has been inspected and tested before the first fairgoer takes a ride. For James E Strates Shows, the owners of the midway rides, safety is top priority.
"Safety is good business," said owner Jim Strates.
"You can't stay in business if you're not operating a safe environment."
A study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy found an average of 20 children and teens are treated in emergency rooms each day for amusement ride related injuries during the summer. Concerns are especially high after a number of amusement park ride fatalities this summer. Strates said the risk is still fairly low compared to the millions of people who visit amusement and theme parks each year.
"You're more likely to be struck by lightning than be injured on an amusement ride," Strates said.
Strates added the rides go through an several layers of safety testing, including an annual inspection and a state inspection. Workers also check out the rides each day.
"What they do everyday is a daily inspection sheet to make sure that the ride is in the proper condition, that nothing has changed overnight," he said.
Fair manager Skip Nichols said the fair has been working with the midway carnival for dozens of years and trusts the company to provide safe entertainment, even for his grandchildren.
"If I thought there was a danger in them getting hurt, they wouldn't ride the first ride, but I would turn them loose on anything out here," Nichols said.
Strates reminds fairgoers they can sometimes be their biggest danger.
"There are signs on the rides, there are height requirements on the rides, they need to be obeyed. It's required that they're obeyed by law, but there's also just common sense," Strates said.
Nichols stressed that safety is also top priority on the ground as well. The fair uses a security team with officers from the Albany Police Department and Dougherty County Police Department as well as an independent security team to check patron's bags as they arrive at the fair.
For more information on fair admission and prices, visit their website.