Summer means it’s time for state fair celebrations across the US. That means fried food, fun rides, and barns full of cute animals competing for the blue ribbon. If you’re attending a state or county fair, fun might be first thing on your mind, but remember, there are some general responsibilities you have as well.
Not all of us get to see livestock every day, so being around the animals means we want to touch and interact with them. Some animals love this, but it’s always important to ask their owners or handlers before touching them, even if the animal seems friendly. The fair is a high-stress environment and even the sweetest rabbit or gentlest horse might react with fear to a stranger. In Indiana, the 2016 State Fair is placing special emphasis on filling the barns both to improve the experience for exhibitors and make a more impressive showing. That means more animals in less space during show times, which only increases the need that guests get permission before petting or touching animals. (And don’t forget to wash your hands after you pet the critters!)
Get a Map
Getting a map of the fairgrounds isn’t just important as memorabilia. You’ll need to be able to navigate in the event that bad weather pops up or some other event causes the fairgrounds to need to evacuate. After the 2011 Indiana state fair incident where a stage collapsed during a windy rainstorm, emergency weather planning is more important than ever for those in charge of the fair. If they need to come on the loudspeaker and instruct you to take shelter or evacuate, you’ll feel more secure with a map to guide you to a safe place. You and your group can also designate a place on the map as your meeting place in case you get separated.
Use Good Judgment
Whether it’s deciding to eat that fourth deep-fried candy bar or spending all your money trying to win a stuffed animal, there are some times that using bad judgment at the fair is part of the fun. But there are other times you should trust your instinct. If a person, ride, exhibit, or food stall gives you a bad feeling, simply avoid it or them. There are plenty of good times at the fair to be had for everyone of all tastes without doing something you think might be unsafe. If there is evidence to suggest that there’s something going on beyond you simply having a bad feeling, let the fair’s security team know.
The State Fair is a celebration of what makes each state unique. It’s amazing to all come together and celebrate the things we love about our home. Stay respectful and treat others the way you want to be treated to make the most of your time at the fair.
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