NORWICH – Planning the annual Chenango County Fair isn’t only about organizing entertainment, livestock shows, bringing in vendors and contracting with Coleman Brothers to provide amusements. According to Fair Board President Mary Weidman, it also includes working with city, county and state agencies to ensure the safety of those who attend.
“It takes all year to coordinate the fair,” said Weidman. “We collaborate with all our local officials. We want it to be safe and secure for children and families.”
City Code Enforcement Officer Jason Lawrence plays an important role in this process. As both code enforcement and fire marshall, Lawrence does a daily walk-through. He checks for the presence of fire extinguishers in every booth, makes sure propane and beverage gas tanks are secured and verifies that fire lanes are kept clear.
The on-duty shift from the Norwich Fire Department often accompanies Lawrence on these walk-throughs. This gives the firemen an opportunity to become familiar with the layout of booths and attractions at the fairgrounds so that they can respond more quickly if there is ever a problem.
“It takes up a lot of time, but the safety of people attending the fair is the major issue,” said Lawrence.
While the presence of Lawrence and members of the fire department is very visible, many inspections take place at the grounds before the fair opens to the public – like the health inspections conducted by the Chenango County Department of Public Health.