Tater Festival carnival safety

With the warmer weather many families may be spending more time outside including visiting fairs and amusement parks. The National Consumer Product Safety Commission says 7,000 people out of 270 million park riders go to emergency rooms for injuries they receive on amusement park rides every year. That’s less than 1%.

Traveling carnival owner Norman JD Green with Casey Carnival Rides says inspectors checked and cleared the rides Friday for safety at the Tater Day Festival.

His family’s provided rides at this festival for the last 60 years.

“Monday, 15 years ago we probably would have had 30,000 people here in Benton. Now, I think it probably dropped by half because people rather go to Florida and things like that instead of enjoying maybe what they already have in their backyard,” Green said.

He says he feels like circus and traveling carnivals are almost like the dinosaurs going extinct. He hopes to keep the carnival ride tradition going as long as he can.

He said he’s never missed a Tater Day Festival ever, and used to go with his grandfather growing up. He said rides are a lot safer than people think.

“The only thing that moves more people than carnival rides are escalators and elevators,” Green said.

Set up takes about two days. Rides like the Tilt-a-Whirl take six hours and six hands to put it in place. 

“It probably has over 10,000 pieces that will weigh anywhere from 20 to over 200 pounds that we have to assemble,” Green said.

Green says the only thing to really ever worry about is lightning when riding amusement rides. So, when weather cooperates like on Saturday kids can focus on the fun.

The amusement park will reopen at noon tomorrow, and also has rides downtown. Tater Day runs through Monday.

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