Safety is at the forefront of the Darke County Fair


By Meladi Brewer

GREENVILLE — Safety is at the forefront of the Darke County Fair.

Celebrating 167 years, The Darke County Fair will open on Friday, Aug. 18 and run through next week Saturday, Aug. 26.

“There are many things to do at the Darke County Fair, and the focus of the committee we represent and are a part of is the Safety Committee,” Darke County Sheriff Mark Whittaker said.

He introduced the group, and welcomed everyone to the Fair. He said they place a high degree of focus on safety, as The Great DC Fair is “one of the largest county fairs in the state of Ohio.”

“We want to make sure everybody who comes: vendors, citizens, visitors have a fun, safe, family experience at the fair,” Whittaker said.

The committee founded 19 years ago, has a main job of improving the safety at the fair. This year, the concert starring Whiskey Myers will be held on Saturday instead of the usual Sunday night. Sheriff Whittaker said Saturday’s are usually a busy time, so they will be working hard to ensure the large crowds are accounted for and are safe while at the fair.

“We are anticipating a sell out crown – we hope,” Sheriff Whittaker said.

He said the usually busy Saturday night could see a 6,000 person increase in fair goers that night due to the concert crowd. The committee has spent hours preparing to ensure the fair will be safe for those who attend, so “they can have their fun, they can watch the concert, ride the rides, and watch the 4-H members in their shows without having to worry about their safety”.

“I think one thing for everyone to realize is we want to make sure everyone coming out to the fair is a positive experience,” Brian Hathaway, president & CEO of Spirit Medical said.

He continues to stress hydration safety, as temperatures later in the week are supposed to increase. He said it is important to begin hydration before coming to the fair, and there are different spots throughout to get water when needed.

“We want to make sure that is really a push, and if you do experience any problems, issues, concerns, make sure to reach out, and we will have someone there to take care of you,” Hathaway said.

Spirit Medical has two places on the fairground: one north and one south. These stations are for the EMS services, as they will be on call for any fair visitor who may need their assistance. If for any reason there is an issue medically, criminally, etc., Sheriff Whittaker said the best way to get a hold of anyone is to still call 911.

Anyone who calls 911 from the fairgrounds will be dispatched to the dispatcher on location who will be able to contact trained fair officers to come and assist.

“Obviously it’s not like a town where you say come to 112 East Main or whatever it is. It is usually come over here to the dragon roller coaster or the waffle stand, and it is imperative for all of us to know where they are at,” Sheriff Whittaker said.

He said the officers on duty have been trained over the years to know the layout of the fair to best help respond and assist.

“911 is your primary number to call if you have a problem just like always,” Sheriff Whittaker said. “If you have any questions, the DC Sheriff’s building has been in the same place it always has been for decades at the north end of the grandstand.”

He said Spirit Ambulance will also have a station there. He stressed that visitors can approach any deputy in the special detail uniforms.

“They are bright yellow, so you can’t miss them. It says Sheriff on them, so any citizens can approach a deputy, firefighter, EMS, and ask for assistance or help and it will be arranged for them,” Sheriff Whitaker said.

The committee closed by addressing animal safety as well. A large attraction are the animals at the fair, and besides staying hydrated, they wanted to ensure everyone understood that animals are unpredictable.

“A lot of people like to come to the livestock shows, and with livestock, they are animals. We need to be safe,” Sheriff Whittaker said.

He said visitors need to reminded that there are safety issues regarding animals. When walking behind an animal, make sure to leave space. Also when approaching an animal, ask the animal owner or exhibitor before doing so, as “that animal might not be suitable for petting.”

“These are safety things that folks that maybe don’t live on farms may not think about, so just a reminder of livestock safety,” Sheriff Whittaker said.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].

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