The Grass Isn’t Always Greener. . . Why Artificial Turf Can Limit Your Choice of Rides

So, you want to have a fete, complete with amusement rides?  It sounds like a great idea until you discover that an artificial surface can prevent you from having the rides that might make your event a spectacular one.

Many event facilities have artificial turf surfaces which can restrict the types of rides you are permitted to have on their grounds.  Why?  There are a variety of reasons that have to do with the particular surfaces in those venues.

We asked Geoff from Smart Amusements, what issues he faces when putting amusement rides on certain surfaces.
“If the grass is placed over asphalt, it is less likely to experience damage than over sand, where a heavy vehicle may indent the surface.  Vehicles should be run in very slowly and a tandem axle truck needs to be turned on a wide arc.  We would generally only run cars or 4WDs towing a trailer of not more than 2 tonnes loaded over tandem axles, on to (artificial) grass.”
“The exception we have made to this was a school that had the grass laid on to asphalt and then paid for trak mat to be laid on top.  In this situation, we were able to run a semi-trailerised ride on to artificial grass.  This school had $2000 worth of trak mat donated so it is not generally an option for most schools.”
“The main risk is not running over the surface, but pulling apart the seams of what is basically carpet sewn together.”

Artificial turf is a sophisticated sports surface that may be placed over asphalt or over another base for sports.  In addition to damage that may be caused to the surface itself, some artificial turf surfaces have complex drainage systems and bases that may have to be inspected or repaired.  While artificial turf is perfectly designed for competitions, it may not be a stable support system for heavy, cumbersome rides.

Given the concerns that your location may have about putting rides such as merry-go-rounds, Ferris wheels, dodgem cars, or others, on their surface because of damage or instability, you may have to look at different options.  Lighter weight games or booths, such as a dunk tank or a variety of inflatables (e.g. jumping castles, games in inflatable pools) might be a better fit and not expose you to concerns from the facility about damage to their turf.  Find out whether your structures can be weighted if they cannot be pegged into the ground.  In addition, consider games played in groups as an option – whether it is a relay race or a game of football.  Booths such as face painting and fake tattoos are popular and won’t cause a problem for artificial turf locations.

When you are planning your fete, remember to find out about your venue’s surfaces and to take into account the requirements of the facility you are considering.  If they have an artificial turf surface, be prepared to make adjustments to your plans if necessary.  (You may even want to contact the turf manufacturer.)  Artificial turf does have constraints and you may decide to consider locations with a real grass surface, although the keepers of those surfaces will also have expectations for their care.  Always discuss these issues with your venue manager and your suppliers, and you will address issues before they appear, while maintaining a good relationship with your venue operator.