ST. PAUL, Minn. - It's no big surprise the great Minnesota get together is known for its rides, but the focus on one ride in particular over the past two days has been at much higher levels.
For the second straight day, the ride Stratosphere got stuck. The first time was Thursday for about 40 minutes with dozens of people riding as high up as 100 feet.
Because it was too windy Thursday night, the ride shut itself down twice bringing the riders to the ground.
And then Friday the ride got stuck again with people up there for about an hour.
Despite that, the Minnesota State Fair's ride inspector tried to calm any fears.
"Is it safe? Absolutely it's safe. It's doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing. If it faults, it faults out and says hey, I got a problem," said Joe Bixler with International Leisure Consulting.
Today's problem is unknown, but Bixler suspects it's electrical.
But Stratosphere's "snafus" go beyond the Minnesota State Fair. Bixler says earlier in the month at the Wisconsin State Fair the same ride had mechanical problems six times with people getting stranded for only a few minutes at a time. Those problems had to do with loss of power.
And while Bixler is confident they'll fix this current problem, he's not so sure there won't be others.
"Is it going to stop? Most likely. It's a smart ride. Maybe the winds are going to blow. Maybe I'm going to have another fault. But it's protecting the customers," he said when a fault happens.
Bixler stands behind the ride, despite the fact he says they are still on a "learning curve" when it comes to the ride which was manufactured in Holland.
"And things are popping up on it and we're not quite sure what that fault is," he said.
For some riders, that means thanks but no thanks.
"I don't think we'll get on it now," said Chris O'Connell.
He brought his two children and wife to the fair and they were hoping to ride the Stratosphere Friday but it was shut down.
"It would be a great view, but I don't know if you want to be stuck up there for a while," said O'Connell.
But for others, the ride's problems are not keeping them from looking toward the sky.
"To me that's gorgeous," said 21-year old Alex Natwick while looking up at the ride. "Everything has a risk. I enjoy the thrill."
Unlike Wisconsin, the State of Minnesota does not have its own inspector who checks rides; instead it requires places like the state fair to hire one to inspect their rides annually.
But the fair insists it goes well beyond that mandate by having an electrician inspect the rides, along with their own inspector who looks over the rides before the fair even starts. The fair also requires the owners of each ride to inspect their rides each morning and then send their report to administration for review.
"Bottom line everyone is looking out to make sure the rides are safe," said Bixler.
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