Ride inspections take place days before and on the eve of Oklahoma State Fair, along with discussion on differences people may see this year due to COVID-19

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Ride inspections were performed ahead of the Oklahoma State Fair, along with discussion on the differences people may see this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The past four to five days have been spent putting up and inspecting rides as well as getting food and product stands up and ready to go.

“It’s a huge blessing to be able to do something normal again,” said Brenda Speaks, a woman who waited in line for 30 minutes with her daughter, Jaycee, to get fair tickets.

The line for the tickets was long inside the Jim Norick Arena, and the food and product stands appeared to be up and ready to roll. The state fair of Oklahoma is set to go for this week and the days ahead.

“We’re just looking forward to being out amongst other Oklahomans and having a good time,” Speaks said.

State Labor Commissioner Leslie Osborn said the past several inspectors have been ensuring people like Brenda and Jaycee will be safe on the rides.

“We are one of 30 states that inspect all amusement park rides in the state,” Osborn said. “In the 30 states that do inspections, there is a markedly lower rate of anyone being injured on a ride.”

Photo goes with story
An Oklahoma State Fair ride being inspected.

A team of around five to seven inspectors have scanned every ride in the park. They check everything from their doors to their parts and everything in between.

“Everything’s looking real good today,” said Allen Mcelyea, the chief ride inspector. “We’re ready for fair time.”

Mcelyea said most of the rides on the grounds were last unpacked in Missouri. He said they were inspected by third party inspectors there as well as everywhere else they have been.

“Every time they set up, they get inspected,” Mcelyea said.

“This is absolutely an unusual year, as 2020 is,” said Frank Zaitshik, the CEO of Wade Shows, the company that puts on the state fair of Oklahoma each year.

Even a year and a half into the global pandemic, the CEO of the company that puts on the shows said there are still some new things people will see on the grounds.

“We’ve modified our protocols as information has changed,” Zaitshik said. “Currently we have spread rides out farther than normal. We have sanitizing stations at all of our purchasing plazas and on our rides.”

Zaitshik added that there will be deep cleans done to the rides before their use as everyone looks to get back out and enjoy some food and rides, only one year after it was all gone.

“Just come out, have a good time,” Speaks said.

Zaitshik said workers at the fair are not required to wear masks. However, he said they are encouraging them to wear them inside.

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