DARKE COUNTY — The Darke County Fair Board, in coordination with various county agencies, are encouraging fairgoers to be safe as they enjoy the 159th annual Great Darke County Fair.
On Thursday morning, Fair Board members Dave Niley and Jim Zumbrink were joined by representatives of Greenville Township Fire and Rescue, the Darke County Sheriff’s Office and the Darke County Emergency Management Agency to ask fair attendees to be alert and be aware at the fairgrounds.
Pedestrian and vehicle traffic near the fairgrounds has been a safety focus for both city and county law enforcement.
“The traffic pattern is a repeat of something we tried to do last year, it was very successful,” said Darke County Sheriff Chief Deputy Mark Whittaker. “It created a safe environment for pedestrians who tried to cross Birt Street and Sweitzer Street at the Gate 1 entrance, which is a walk-in entrance at the fair. We reduced the traffic that exits out and also the traffic that comes in and give clear directions through cones and verticades to the drivers as well as the pedestrians so they can cross there safely so traffic is aware that pedestrians are there for the week of the fair.
“We’re going to continue that this year,” he said. “It’s a minor inconvenience to local citizens but it really weighs out in the safety for pedestrians and people coming to the fair. It’s only for nine days, so I believe its a good way to keep things safe.”
He added, “For everybody coming and going, use your safety belts for driving, pay attention, be alert, be aware as you’re approaching the fair, and as you’re leaving the fair in the evening.”
“We look forward to a safe 159th Great Darke County Fair,” said Whittaker.
Steve Wenning of Greenville Township Rescue also urged fairgoers to provide themselves “ample time” to arrive and leave the fairgrounds.
“There’s plenty of free parking on the south side of the fairgrounds,” he said. “Also, Greenville Transit System is running a shuttle which picks up at the city building and also at the county offices on Wagner Avenue. It’s a dollar a ride. They’ll drop you off at Gate 3 and pick you up at Gate 3.”
Wenning encouraged parents and guardians to take advantage of yellow wristbands for children or special needs persons.
“You can put their name on it as well as a contact number for a person on the grounds. That way if they get separated, they can go up to a police officer, fire official, EMS person, or fair board member, and we’ll know who that person is or how to get ahold of somebody on the grounds,” he said.
Wenning offered thanks to Club 7 Sports in Greenville for sponsoring the yellow wristbands. The wristbands, available free of charge, can be picked up at the entrance gates, the fair’s Gazebo, the EMS building or from the fire department.
Further safety measures for this year’s fair include a new EMS station on the south side of the fairgrounds and electronic message boards, provided by the Ohio Department of Transportation, which will be stationed along State Route 121/Fort Jefferson Avenue.
Erik Martin may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 937-569-4314.