How Safe Are Wisconsin’s County Fair Rides, Really? Here’s What You Need to Know.

By Cherita Booker

July 14, 2023

After a recent malfunction stranded eight roller coaster passengers upside down for several hours in Crandon, fair season has quickly turned from fun to fear.

Like amusement parks, county fairs are designed with safety as a top priority; however, ride safety remains a real concern. Safety of fair rides can vary from ride-to-ride and fair-to-fair.  

How often are people injured at amusement parks?

According to the most recent data from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, an estimated 1,200 people sustained ride-related injuries in North America in 2021. 

Who regulates county fair rides in Wisconsin?

Under Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services,  the Division of Industry Services (DIS) establishes and enforces standards to protect the design, construction, and operation of amusement rides and attractions. DIS reviews plans for amusement ride construction and inspections each once complete.

How often are rides tested?

Amusement rides are tested every three years or 3,000 hours of operation, whichever comes first. Improperly maintained, repaired, or modified amusement rides are not allowed to open to the public until tests are finished and results are accepted by the DIS. 

What about inspections?

Rides are required to be inspected and tested every day they’re used during a festival or fair. Workers test all controls, including brakes and speed gears. 

What kind of training do ride operators need? 

Each amusement park or fair company  is required to train its own  ride operators and attendants and can provide records or documentation upon request. 

Click here for more information on Wisconsin’s amusement park safety and regulations.


  • Cherita Booker

    Milwaukee native Cherita Booker attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has worked in various roles as a multimedia journalist since 2017. She enjoys photography, dancing, and spending time with friends and family.

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