PHOENIX - Each year, the Arizona State Fair throws together all the ingredients -- games, food, music, and rides -- to entertain between 1.4 and 1.8 million fairgoers day and night for three weeks in October. But for many attending the fair this month, one of those ingredients remains questionable.
One person was killed and seven others were injured on opening day at the Ohio State Fair in July when a section of a ride broke apart, throwing passengers through the air up to 20 feet. The ride manufacturer claimed the incident was caused by "excessive corrosion" after 18 years of use.
Christian Munoz has attended the Arizona State Fair for the past three years, but he doesn't trust the rides enough to buckle in on the first day.
"I really wouldn't want to get on in the first day or the first week," Munoz said. "I would wait it out toward like toward the end or maybe in the middle. But it is a concern, which is why I don't really like going on the rides." Instead, he prefers to keep his feet on the ground, playing games and eating the many unique fair foods.
But third-party inspector Barry Shaible assures fairgoers that the rides are the safest in the country.
"We go by what the manufacturer tells us and the industry standards, and we get to the event a week prior," Shaible said. "We don't see the rides like you do at a theme park, when it's already together. We get all the parts in our hands and see it laying on the ground."
Shaible also said the RCS carnival company, which operates the Arizona State Fair, replaces the rides with brand new equipment every 2-3 years. He adds that due to the West Coast location and lack of damaging elements, RCS equipment is not at risk of corrosion like what caused the Ohio State Fair mishap.
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