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State fair officials say they're ready for bad weather

Fri, 04 May 2012 09:24:18 CDT
By: IPR's Sean Crawford

A deadly accident at the Indiana State Fair last year got the attention of those who put on Illinois' event.   Illinois State Fair Director Amy Bliefnick says the fair's severe weather procedures have worked well. She points to when a storm moved through the area during the first Saturday of the fair last summer. She says they were able to clear the grounds and get people to safety in a matter of minutes. Still, a stage falling in Indiana that killed 7 concertgoers and injured nearly 60 others can't be ignored. Nor can a tent collapse during a recent storm in St. Louis that left one dead and several hurt....


"We're instituting a couple of extra meetings on preparedness right before the fair. So our tent vendors and fairgoers and tram operators know what to do in case of a severe weather issue. So what it's given us the opportunity to do is be more prepared if something like that would happen with weather here in Illinois."

Bliefnick says her goal is to make sure there is clear communication and no one is missed. Fair officials watch weather closely and get regular updates from the National Weather Service. When severe weather occurs, the area in front of the grandstand stage is off limits.

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