Food and ride inspections underway ahead of NC State Fair

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Inspectors with the North Carolina Department of Labor and Wake County are wrapping up their final inspections two days ahead of the opening of the North Carolina State Fair.

NCDOL inspectors have thoroughly reviewed an estimated 80 rides to ensure their safety and compliance. More than 100 rides will be available to enjoy once safety measures are met.

"It's a big liability our guys have to bear," said Tommy Petty, a deputy chief inspector for the labor department. "I mean, you have to put your name on something and you are saying it's safe and ready to go. And our guys take their job very seriously."

According to a news release by the NCDOL, "North Carolina's amusement device laws are the strictest in the country, requiring equipment to meet 100 percent of the manufacturer's specifications before a ride is allowed to operate."

Tuesday, Petty and his staff spoke to reporters about the fair's Skygazer Ferris wheel; one of the tallest around.

"It took four days to put together," Petty added.

Each day, labor staff will perform inspections. Petty said rides that do not meet requirements will not be available to guests.

Food inspections by Wake County Environment Health and Safety staffers were also performed Tuesday. A 40-person crew will be responsible for ensuring food vendors have the necessary water connections, temperature standards, and proper cleaning tools and techniques in order to receive a health permit.

"After the fair is open, we do compliance checks ... to make sure they are still following our rules," said staffer Laura Lerch. "It's the same as a restaurant. It's the same as eating anywhere else. We're making sure all the risk factors are addressed."

Lerch said there are about 300 vendors that receive a permit. From the number, just a little more than half are permitted specifically by Wake County. The NC Department of Agriculture and other agencies perform inspections as well.

"We all know what to do to try and get ready and comply, but you always forget something," said pitmaster Bobby Scott with Fat Boys BBQ. "And so they're nice enough to write up everything and give you time to get it corrected."
Copyright © 2022 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.