Delta Fair implementing new safety, security measures

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With less than a month until opening night, the Delta Fair is implementing new safety and security measures to keep festival-goers safe.

Matt Snyder, the director of Safety and Emergency Services, said this year the fair is “going above and beyond state requirements.”

Before a ride can be operated, it must go through several inspections. Current regulations require each ride be certified and permitted by the state’s Amusement Device Unit and an inspection to be conducted by a third-party hired by the Delta Fair. Those results have to be submitted to the ADU prior to the beginning of the fair.

A second inspection also has to be conducted by Shelby County Code Enforcement.

This year the fair has a new midway ride provider, Reed Exposition Midway. Organizers say the operator has a solid safety record.

But organizers of the Delta Fair are not stopping there, Snyder said. They have adopted protocol that calls for additional inspections to be done before the start of the fair and once it has begun.

Visitors should also see an increased law enforcement presence this year at the fair. It has reportedly contracted Class A Security to “enhance the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office efforts.”

The changes come just weeks after an 18-year-old was killed and several others injured when a ride malfunctioned at the Ohio State Fair despite recent inspections giving it a clean bill of health. That was just the latest in along line of incidents across the country that raised concerns about safety and security.

Closer to home, the Delta Fair has seen its own share of problems over the past two years. In 2015, a disagreement between a ride attendant and a group of visitors escalated into violence. The incident was caught on camera and shared on social media.

The following year, the lap bar on the Moonraker ride released early. The Delta Fair said no one was hurt, but several witnesses and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office claimed some riders were thrown from the ride.

During the same time frame, a worker was reportedly shocked while setting up a ride. He filed a lawsuit for $25 million in damages.