After Ohio Fair Tragedy, Ride Company Sets Up Shop in Vt.

A day after a tragedy involving a traveling amusement ride at the Ohio State Fair, the Green Mountain Fair in Manchester, Vermont, is expressing confidence in its ride safety.

"Look at their rides — you could eat off them; they're beautiful," said Nick DeMauro, the manager of the Green Mountain Fair, describing the rides at his event, which belong to the same company involved in the deadly Ohio emergency.

Wednesday in Columbus, a swinging claw ride known as "The Fireball" broke apart during its descent, sending riders flying. One rider died and seven others were injured — some critically.

The small fair in Manchester, which organizers said is in just its second year, uses a different touring unit from Amusements of America, which is the same ride company that was running the midway in Ohio.

"We're very secure here with the company, and they have assured us that everything has been checked today," said Steven Nichols of Manchester, who volunteered as an organizer working to secure sponsorships and book musical performances for the event.

In Vermont, there is no law giving the state any authority over amusement ride inspections.

However, an industry insider told necn the various operators who run rides at events statewide have their own safety protocols, and take them very seriously. One experienced Vermont fair promoter said ride manufacturers provide detailed instructions that operators should want to follow as part of best business practices.

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos said thrill ride companies do have to show his office proof of liability insurance. Other filings must be made with the Vermont Department of Labor, regarding job site operations.

"In most cases, the insurance company is not going to insure a company that's a bad actor," Condos observed.

Condos said mid-afternoon Thursday that Amusements of America was up-to-date on its labor filings with the state of Vermont, and was in the process of supplying a final piece of information for the secretary of state's office in advance of Thursday evening's opening of the fair.

Sarah Golitko, a mother of two young children, came by the fair location in Manchester Thursday looking for information about the rides.

She said she is leery of some traveling carnivals.

"Those are kind of sketchy, I guess," Golitko said.

However, the mom said she is sure the tamest kiddie rides at her local event will be fine for her family.

"I think it'll be fun," she said. "It's going to be a nice weekend."

The Outdoor Amusement Business Association, a trade group for traveling amusement rides, said in a statement supplied to necn by Amusements of America that it is praying for those involved in the Ohio tragedy.

The business association said it is committed to figuring out what went wrong in Ohio, so it can keep providing safe family entertainment nationwide.

The Green Mountain Fair runs through Sunday night in Manchester. Organizers said the event raises money for the youth health education programs of L.E.A.D., Law Enforcement Against Drugs.

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