Rides ready to roll as 161st Mid-South Fair opens

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. -- The 161st Mid-South Fair officially opened Thursday at 4 p.m. In fact, admission is free today to kick things off.

Of course, as with most fairs, ride safety is usually a concern. Earlier Thursday, WREG got a look at what's been done to stop accidents from happening at the Mid-South Fair.

Ride inspector Wayne White took us around the grounds. He's been inspecting the fair's 30 rides for days.

“Thirty rides is large," White says.

For example, he showed us one of the ways he inspected a swing ride called the "Yoyo." It's a ride where riders spin around in the air, high off the ground.

"We make sure that all of the seat belts and this front thing, that everything's functionable. And, of course, for the larger kids, we have the double seat belt," White says.

He says you can never be too careful.

"They have very capable people (who set up rides at the fair) but there's always that chance with fatigue or anything else that someone might forget a pin here or a pin there," White says.

Fair ride accidents, in general, seem to happen every year, including one at the Ohio State Fair in July, when a ride broke apart, reportedly because of a corroded support beam. One person was killed and others were injured.

As for the Mid-South Fair, Beverly Montgomery plans on bringing her 4-year-old daughter. She brought her last year.

"Oh, she loves riding the rides, just seeing people and just being out. She loves it," Montgomery says.

Montgomery doesn't mind rides for little kids, but she doesn't trust the bigger ones, inspection or not. She's not sure she'd let her daughter on those rides if she were older. Ultimately, Montgomery says she's never sure any ride is perfectly safe.

"You know how people skip steps. So, I'm not sure," Montgomery says.

In these hot temperatures, the company behind the fair says there will be plenty of water for people to buy. There are even reserves about 10 miles away if needed.

As some of our viewers may know, the Liberty Bowl ran out of water this past weekend, during the University of Memphis vs. UCLA football game.