Extra precautions taken during ride set-up at Columbiana Co. Fair

Midway Rides of Utica said Ohio is one of the toughest states when it comes to safety inspections, along with North Carolina and Florida

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LISBON, Ohio (WYTV) – One of the oldest fairs in the Valley opened Monday in Lisbon but it comes at a time when fairs across the country — especially those in Ohio — are under a microscope.

Rides are still being set up and checked at the 172nd Columbiana County Fair following the tragedy at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus almost a week ago.

Rides are never open to the public on day one of the Columbiana County Fair, though, because of those strict inspections. The major inspection is set for Tuesday morning.

According to members of the fair board, this is something the fair has always done to ensure safety.

“We anticipate that that’s gonna go fine. We have a great rides company here, we’ve dealt with them through previous years. They’ve brought a beautiful display of rides that are looking really good,” Don Humphrey, Jr. said.

Dana Peck, the owner of Midway Rides of Utica, said it’s a matter of following state regulations.

“The manufacturer’s rules and regulations, as far as what they’re looking for, and just common sense.”

Peck explained their safety protocol, along with the standards they must meet each time they set up.

“We work hand-in-hand with [the inspectors] and whatever they suggest, we try to comply to and we work together to make sure that we’re both looking at the safety situation,” he said.

Peck said Ohio is one of the toughest states when it comes to safety inspections, along with North Carolina and Florida. It’s a task they take very seriously.

“I’m proud of the fact that we have a good rapport with all of these agencies and that we have a very good safety record.”

But even with the precautions, some fair-goers are still wary of rides.

“The rides that are on the ground don’t scare me as much as the ones in the air,” Melissa Campbell said. “I wouldn’t trust at all. They’re just put up way too fast.”

Peck encourages people who come to the fair to communicate with the staff about their experience.

“If you see something good, tell us. If you see something bad, tell us. It’s our goal to make everyone happy, keep everybody safe, and have everyone enjoy their day at the fair,” he said.

Meanwhile, Monday’s opening ceremony had a lot to offer on the fair’s first day. The 4-H King and Queen were named. This year, Quinn Ayers and Hannah Hephner were crowned fair royalty.

The Columbiana County Fair runs through Sunday. More information, including a schedule of events, is available at columbianacountyfair.org.