SC fair officials work to avoid a disaster like in Indiana

By Stephen Hooker - email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - People in Indiana are still in shock over their state fair's disaster, and you may wonder what precautions are going on for our own state fair in mid-October.

"We were all struck by the tragedy and loss of life," said SC State Fair General Manager Gary Goodman. "It's something that you prepare for all the time and when it happens it's something that sort of shakes your foundation."

Goodman is bound and determined to have just another fun and safe fair come October. "We made a conscious decision about 20 years ago that we would air on the side of caution that our patrons' safety was paramount in our grandstand shows," he said.

"Unfortunately, besides the tragedy, it's something you've got to take a look at from a learning experience to take a self exam as to what you're doing," Goodman added.
There are some similarities like big crowds and their safety, but also differences too. Our grandstand stage roof can be lowered to resist toppling in high winds.

The grandstand itself is pretty sound, and will allow wind to pass right through it. But if there's bad weather, you still don't want to be there because of lightning.
City code officials say the fair's metal buildings are designed to withstand hurricane force winds over 90 miles per hour.

With all thee safety features. The first line of defense is a still a warning to take shelter in time. "We're on top of it, and we will make a decision in a heartbeat if it means any jeopardizing of our fair's safety," said Goodman.

Gary says they have emergency preparedness planning all the time, every year. With that in mind, we might all take comfort in another great fair.

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