Passing the test: how fair operators get hired

(Source: Thomas Malphrus/WCIV)

By Stacy

LADSON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Before the lights start flashing and even before the rides are locked in place, someone gets hired to run it all.

"We have 67 rides here so we need enough to man each ride. Some rides are one with a break person, some are six," said Amusements of America manager Rob Vivona.

At least 200 employees run the fair, he said, and every one gets a background check from a company called Search Systems based in California.

"We want good people here because we want to make sure everyone is safe and happy when they come to the fair," he said.

Long-time company employees made up about 65 percent of Amusements of America's staff, Vivona said. The company hired the rest of the employees from the local area.

"People need jobs and they're willing to work for us, then we're helping the community," Vivona said.

But he said Amusements of America did not accept applicants who had a sex offender status, a felony on their records or a failed drug test.

Vivona said they judged applicants with misdemeanor crimes on a case-by-case basis.

"People make mistakes. As long as it's not a serious mistake, we'll give them a chance," he said.

The fair opens Thursday at 3 p.m. Admission for everyone over the age of 12 is $8, kids ages 6 to 12 are $5 and all kids under 6 are free. The fair runs through Nov. 10.