A number of Hudson Valley residents are sharing stories and concerns regarding the safety, or lack thereof, at a community carnival event in Poughkeepsie over the weekend. Carelessness, trauma, lack of concern. Those are just some of the common themes in a community-based Facebook group post after locals visited the event and shared their similar experiences.

Carnival Rides Gone Wrong

Several families had concerning stories to share after attending this particular local carnival that was held from Thursday, June 2nd to Sunday, June 5th in Poughkeepsie.

Nikki Hung, a Poughkeepsie mom, commented that she went opening night, Thursday, at 6 pm, and found some of the rides were still being set up at the time.

As we walked around and tried to see what was available for my daughter to ride, most of the rides didn’t even have operators on them and it was almost 7pm. They did strap the kids in, seeing as there wasn’t that many kids yet. But my daughter grew very frustrated because many of the rides were not even ready/manned when we got there.

The original post in a Hudson Valley Moms Facebook group sparked a great deal of conversation, and concerns, from other community members who attended this same event.  Many of the comments had to do with the kiddie rollercoaster, with multiple people sharing that the rollercoaster was stuck with kids on it and had to be manually put back on the track or pushed to get it going.

Michelle Ventura for Canva
Michelle Ventura for Canva
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Another Poughkeepsie mom, who would prefer to remain anonymous, echoed issues with the concerns about staff attentiveness to riders.  She was there Saturday night and had to intervene and tell a ride operator to stop a ride because her daughter was screaming to get off, and also observed issues with the coaster:

Another operator had to close a ride to put the roller coaster back on the track

One other Hudson Valley family is sharing their story after a traumatic incident involving their five-year-old son. A local mom and lifelong Hudson Valley resident who would prefer to keep her identity private shared the scary details of a situation that could have ended a lot worse for her small child, and several others that were on a particular ride over the weekend.

When the family of three visited the carnival with their five-year-old son on Sunday, he was excited to get on his first ride of the day, the kiddie rollercoaster.  What happened next has sparked a lot of outrage from locals about ride operator safety:

These careless machine operators just started the children's rollercoaster without securing multiple children.  My son was still in the process of climbing in the cart when he started the ride.  Needless to say, we are both traumatized.  Myself and another mother were screaming for him to stop the ride and he laughed at us.

In speaking directly with the concerned Dutchess County mom, she shared that her son, along with multiple other children, were not securely strapped into the ride prior to it being started up, and no safety checks were done prior to the ride beginning.

'Two other kids got on and the bar wasn't down when the operator started the ride, and the cart my son got into, the bar was in the locked position so he couldn't even get in properly.' She explained that she told the operator to unlock the bar so her son could get into the ride and the bar could be secured, but her request was ignored and the ride began.

As of Tuesday morning, this mom had contacted the amusement company directly with her concerns about the incident involving her son and received some extremely concerning information as a response.  Apparently, the operator that was on the rollercoaster that day was not an employee of the company, but reported to be someone filling in for the person who 'typically runs that ride.' She was then informed that a particular person, though not employed, had been 'let go.'

She also contacted the event coordinator directly to report her concerns, urging them not to contract with the same company in the future to prevent any future incidents, citing the amusement company's carelessness and lack of safety standards. Event coordinators have been receptive to her outreach and contacted her for an in-person follow-up meeting this week.

On Tuesday June 7th I reached out to Holy Trinity Church for comment regarding the incident.  On Thursday June 9th I received an email from the Parish indicating that the Chair of the Organizing Committee was Franco Giangrasso.  Simultaneously, I received a statement from Joseph Zwilling, Director of Communications, Archdiocese of New York, stating that the parish took immediate action to the complaint:

Fortunately, no one was injured, the parish took the complaint seriously, and acted responsibly by having  the situation immediately remedied.

 

Joseph also indicated that the local mom who brought the situation to their attention had her money refunded.

Our outreach for comment from the carnival company has not yet been returned.  This story is still developing.

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