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Director, fairgoers say alertness key to a fun, safe state fair

Rides await passengers Wednesday ahead of the Missouri State Fair's Thursday opening. The fair's director said each ride must pass three separate inspections before it opens to riders. (Garrett Bergquist/KRCG 13)

The man in charge of Missouri's premier agricultural festival on Wednesday said fairgoers should pay attention to heat-related symptoms and their children's whereabouts.

Mark Wolfe said the main safety threat to fairgoers is the August heat. He said water will be sold throughout the state fairgrounds. If the heat overwhelms you, he said you can cool off in any air-conditioned building.

The Missouri State Fair begins at noon on Thursday. By the time the rides open, Wolfe said each of them will have been subjected to three safety inspections. The state fire marshal's office and an independent contractor conduct separate inspections of each ride in addition to inspections by the ride contractor. He said all food trucks must pass a health inspection as well.

Sixteen-year-old Aeris Barton said anytime she gets hot, she steps inside the livestock barn. The Howard County resident is showing a trio of Herefords at the fair. She said if you're around cattle, you should avoid walking close to their feet and always approach them from the front to stay out of their blind spots. Barton said always ask the owner's permission before you pet any animals.

Wolfe said there will be hand washing and sanitizer stations at the barns and arenas so people can wash their hands after being around the animals.

"If you've been up in the swine barn and you touched a pig, you're probably going to wash your hands before you go eat," he said.

If you become separated from your children, Wolfe said to notify fair staff and head to the Highway Patrol zone office just north of the grandstand. He said lost children will be brought there.


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