Thursday, August 26, 2021

Safety first

Amusement provider assures riders’ safety at Plymouth Fall Festival  

When the huge amusement rides are installed at the Plymouth Fall Festival set for Sept. 10, 11 and 12, they bring with them 50 years of safety experience.

Danny Huston, the owner of North American Midway Entertainment, said that safety is the top priority of the company which undergoes repeated professional inspections in states across the country when they take the rides to carnivals, festivals and events.

“The Michigan inspectors do a great job,” he said. “They are very through and very professional. Those are tough inspections.”

Huston said that his company has mechanics and independent inspectors that travel with the rides to ensure the integrity and safety of the mechanical devices. 

“We hire independent, private inspectors to make sure the machines are working perfectly,” he said. “Just another set of eyes and ears to make sure everything is safe.”

Huston, who started in the carnival entertainment business when he was about 12, working for a neighbor who operated small amusements for local church carnivals, actually began his career in the dunk tank and then advanced to operating a small basketball game. 

Since then his career has expanded into ownership of one of the largest amusement ride companies in the country.

“It's been fun,” he said of the business, “although I often don't think people give amusement rides people enough credit. We help civic organizations, churches and charities to raise millions of dollars every year. These are some of the hardest working people in the world.” 

Huston explained that North American Midway Entertainment does drug testing, background checks and requires a dress code for every employee. “We have quality workers who are polite and respectful,” he said. He emphasized, too, that his employees are all trained and are each required to submit an inspection check-list sheet for whichever ride they may be operating as a first step. He said that sheet is then reviewed by another inspector to ensure safety for all riders.

The company mechanics who travel with the machines across the country are always on hand to perform maintenance and repair the rides, making sure they are operating a peak performance and safety.

“It's just like a car,” Huston said. “Things get worn and need replacement. We make sure that those things are taken care of professionally.”

He added that the inspectors with his rides attend the same schools as the Michigan Ride Inspectors.

“Those guys are tough,” he said. “They do a great job. I think people can be very confident in the safety of our rides.”

North American Midway Entertainment is an international company with corporate headquarters based in Farmland, Indiana. The company provides rides, games and food to fairs and festivals in about 140 communities in 20 states as well as four Canadian provinces. This year, Huston said, he will bring 18 to 18 midway rides to Plymouth, “whatever fits in the street.” Currently, the company has more than 200 midway rides in the inventory. The food trucks offer fair classics from French fries to funnel cake sundaes. 

“There's always something for everyone,” Huston said, “but safety is always our number one priority.”