Punching the Clock: Making sure itís all fun and games

As youíre enjoying your favorite amusement rides, indulging that craving for cotton candy and funnel cake or watching some spectacle from the grandstand, there is one thing youíre probably not worrying about: Safety. But thatís OK, because there are plenty of other people doing the worrying for you.

Before the Chenango County Fair opened on Tuesday afternoon, inspectors from a variety of state and local agencies had already made multiple rounds of the fairgroundsí 35 acres, making sure that every vendor and exhibitor had their Iís dotted and Tís crossed. I know, because I tagged along with a few of them.

On Tuesday morning, just a few hours before the fair was scheduled to open to the public, I met up with Jason Lawrence, code enforcement officer and fire marshall extroardinaire, Norwich Fire Chief Tracy Chawgo and Firefighters Terry Kuhn and Bob Barnes. Together, we made one last sweep of the fairgrounds.

I followed their lead as, starting near Gate 2 (which I had always mistakenly believed was the main gate), we checked each vendor tent.

ďAnything that doesnít look right, probably isnít,Ē Tracy told me, as we checked fire ratings on the tents themselves, made sure each tent stake was capped and even kicked a few tent poles. We checked for combustibles, too.

The rain had caused some set up delays, so when someone wasnít ready for their inspection, Jason made note so heíd be reminded to come back. Of course, any problems we found were noted as well.

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