Carnival rides are filling up the midway of the National Peanut Festival, but before fair grounds are hustling and bustling with festival goers, there’s some work that needs to be done. Crews with Rhetoffer Shows will begin putting the amusement rides together Tuesday morning and safety is top of mind. “Safety is second nature. This is our livelihood, you want to have the safest environment and we go beyond the means to make that happen,” said Joseph Alberts. He's been working with Rhetoffer Shows for decades.
Carnival rides have been under the microscope after five people were injured at the North Carolina State Fair a few days ago. That has some asking about the amusement rides at the National Peanut Festival. Alberts said Rhetoffer Shows follow a strict safety checklist that must be cleared before the machines can operate. The rides are also checked daily, before the festival gates are opened. "You will always see the carnival rides begin running an hour before the gates open. We’re checking for every pin and bolt. We have a checklist for every ride and we have an insurance lady that travels with us to make sure everything is covered,” continued Alberts.
Alabama does not have a state agency or department that inspects amusement rides, but Rhetoffer Shows has 10 to 12 inspectors on site. That's good news for National Peanut Festival President James Etheredge. The festival has never had a safety issue with the carnival rides. Etheredge said he would like to keep it that way. "We're very proud that we have a premiere show. This team is out of Florida, where it's a state requirement to have all machines are inspected. It's very helpful to know how safe the machines are.”