State Fair starts as crews inspect rides, tents for safety

CAROLINE, VA (WWBT) -- The State Fair of Virginia is set to open its gates for the 2011 event at 5 p.m. today. Before that, crews are working hard, inspecting all the rides and other parts of the fair to make sure things are safe for you and your family.

It's the images that sent fear through thousands: The stage at the Indiana State Fair comes crashing down. Some are killed. Dozens are injured.

The stage here at the State Fair of Virginia may not be as big as the Indiana one, but crews are taking every measure necessary to make sure this doesn't come crashing down during the next 11 days.

"All temporary structures are checked by the Caroline County Building Inspector and that is to make sure things are done safely and securely," says Fair Marketing Director Jay Lugar.

That includes looking closely at weather and getting people out of harms way if a storm rolls through.

"Back in 2006, there was a weather concern at the concert, we stopped it, got everyone into a building until the weather event passed," adds Lugar.

Back in 2004, leaders here formed a safety committee. "We have the ability to make quick decisions and keep everyone safe at the fair," says Lugar.

Fire, EMS, State Police and more doing whatever they need to do, "that includes background checks, wanding at the gate."

Inspectors are also out before and during the day to make sure the rides are operating correctly. We're told the ride inspector has the authority to shut down any of these rides, at any time, for any reason.

Leaders here also use NOAA Weather Radio's and watch our station to see when and if weather is rolling into the area.

The fair runs from 5 p.m. today until Sunday,  October 9. There are several rides, attractions and new events happening. Parking is free, but you will pay for admission and rides.

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