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Malfunctioning ride at National Cherry Festival was last inspected by state in 2019

Malfunctioning Ride at the National Cherry Festival
Posted at 5:03 PM, Jul 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-12 17:03:15-04

LANSING, Mich. — The company that owns the "Magic Carpet Ride" which malfunctioned Friday at the National Cherry Festival will be bringing attractions to the Ionia Free Fair later this week.

Organizers behind the Free Fair are confident that there will not be any similar incidents at their event.

“We are so excited to be back for the 2021 Ionia Free Fair," said Lisa Sanford, who is on the board of directors for the Free Fair.

"It was devastating to have to cancel last year for public safety... It was the right decision, and we are back better than ever!”

The "Magic Carpet Ride" attraction in Traverse City that began shaking and swaying as riders were strapped in while the ride continued to operate is owned by Arnold Amusements. According to Arnold's website, that particular ride was manufactured by ARM Rides in Wintersville, Ohio.

After it malfunctioned up in Traverse City, Joe Even with Arnold Amusements said the ride had been taken out of commission.

"Obviously there was a malfunction. We don't know as of yet what it was," Even told a journalist with UpNorthLive

"The ride has been dismantled. It is gone, and it is on its way back to the factory. The company that makes it is in Ohio, and it's on its way down there for them to figure out what happened with it. Was it a malfunction? Was it a computer glitch? We don't know. We're just not sure what it was."

While the "Magic Carpet Ride" obviously won't be at the Ionia Free Fair, Arnold Amusements will have other attractions and rides there this year.

“I would like to let you know that we have a 10-year history with Arnold Amusements, and we know firsthand their commitment to safety,” said Sanford.

FOX 17 reached out to Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, who oversees amusement park ride inspections, to see what the process of inspecting a ride like "Magic Carpet Ride" actually looks like.

According to Michigan's Carnival Amusement Safety Act of 1966, all rides must be inspected annually.

Because there was no operating season in 2020, and therefore no opportunities for inspections, the "Magic Carpet Ride" was last inspected in 2019. At the time the ride was found to operate satisfactorily.

Because of its most recent passing inspection, LARA says they were not cited for the incident last week at the Cherry Fest.

LARA will have inspectors on sight at the Ionia County Free Fair in the days leading up to their opening, inspecting any of the rides on sight that haven't yet had an annual inspection.

LARA issues permits for over 1,100 amusement-park-type rides a year— they have already complete 585 so far in 2021, which they say is consistent with how many they have typically inspected by this time of the year.

But of course, there is typically much more fun than worry at the Annual Ionia Free Fair... and 2021 is expected to be bigger and better than ever.

"We have all our grandstand events— monster trucks, demo berby, the rodeo, tractor pulls, and our entertainment Park is packed with great music entertainment," Sanford said.

"We have The Insiders [Tom Petty tribute band], we have Saving Abel, we have Mega 80's, and the Wrecking Crew [Mötley Crüe tribute band]."

Everything kicks off this Friday, July 16th. You can find an entire schedule of events HERE.

Statement from Suzanne Thelen, LARA