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NYS Fair Has Plans In Case Of Inclement Weather

Doug Kerr, flickr

Syracuse, NY (WIBX) – When most people think about the New York State Fair, they envision the delicious food, the massive amount of rides and great musical acts.
But, State Fair Director Dan O’Hara thinks about safety. The fair sees about one million visitors walk through the gates each year. Among them, a couple hundred thousand visit Chevy Court and the State Fair Grandstand to see acts that have included Bruno Mars, Lady Antebellum, Shinedown and Justin Bieber.

With the recent rash of incidents at state fairs and other music venues, there is an added premium placed on visitor safety. Last year, at the Indiana State Fair, a stage collapsed due to high winds. Eight were killed and another 58 were injured.

Earlier this week, visitors to Lollapalooza were evacuated from Chicago’s Grant Park, as high winds, hail and lightening threatened the safety of an estimated 100,000 attendees. Luckily, evacuation procedures worked as planned and everyone was able to return for the end of the three-day extravaganza.

O’Hara says in light of these incidents, the State Fair is constantly looking at other events and coordinates their operations to fit the situation at hand.

“We plan for a variety of situations at the Fair,” O’Hara said. “We monitor the weather, we’re always looking for opportunities to enhance the program. The last several years, it has been very safe and very family friendly. The State Police are there and they do a fantastic job. We do a lot of coordinating.”

Katrina Wiese, flickr

He also says if weather conditions do become an issue, there are plenty of options available to him, his staff and fair goers.

“The good news with technology is you’re able to track weather conditions,” O’Hara said. “We have a system in place where if inclement weather is imminent, we have a protocol that we would implement as part of our emergency preparedness plan.”

This year, the fair features high power acts such as Keith Urban, The Band Perry and Larry the Cable Guy. Fair goers have plenty of chances to see famous acts from several decades, but if there’s a chance things may go awry and people could get hurt, O’Hara says he has plans.

“If an act gets canceled down at the Grandstand, one of our objectives is to try and figure out a way that you could reschedule,” O’Hara said. “The fans want to listen to the music and the artist wants to play. But, if there are some weather conditions that prohibits that, you certainly have to take that safety is of the utmost concern to us.”

But, if a concert can’t be rescheduled, there is always the option of a full refund, though everything will be done to try and prevent a complete cancellation.

The 2012 State Fair is set to begin on August 23rd, and will operate until September 3rd. Tickets for many performing acts are still available at the State Fair Box Office or by clicking here.

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