Health department encourages guests to stay healthy at the fair


DARKE COUNTY – It’s Fair week, and the Darke County Health Department is getting prepared to perform food and camping inspections as well as help educate the public in keeping them safe and healthy during the Great Darke County Fair.

While guests are at the Fair enjoying funnel cakes, elephant ears and lemonade, the Darke County health inspectors are working diligently behind the scenes to ensure guests’ safety while attending the event. They inspect all of the food and drink concessions. Last year there were 153 food facilities and the health inspectors completed 177 inspections and more than 72 consultations during the nine-day event. Consultations included answering questions, checking temperatures and monitoring equipment.

Temporary food operations must meet particular criteria in addition to having a license to operate. All temporary operations must have a way to wash their hands, clean and sanitize dishes, and keep food at the appropriate temperature. They must also obtain food from approved sources and dispose of waste properly.

Mobile food operations shall be licensed by any Ohio county health department prior to operating. Mobiles must obtain water from an approved source. They must also properly dispose their waste water into approved drains or into a blue belly waste container if they do not have a holding tank. An approved backflow prevention device shall be connected to the food grade water hose or built into the plumbing of the unit to protect the water used by the mobile. Mobiles are required to have hot and cold running water. All mobile operations must have a way to wash their hands, clean and sanitize dishes, and keep food at the appropriate temperature. They must also obtain food from approved sources.

Campers are reminded that their gray water must be properly disposed of in a blue belly, holding tank or sanitary sewer system. The health department will perform inspections to assure there is no dumping of gray water onto the grounds. A total of 649 inspections were performed last year. Those who have additional camping concerns while out at the fair should feel free to contact the health department or the fair board.

While having fun at the fair, the health department would like to remind guests to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. There also are three rest tent locations that have cooling fans or air conditioning units. Second National Bank’s rest tent can be located at the south side of Ned’s Chicken stand, and the Greenville National rest tent is located by the Coliseum at the ramp side. The Red Cross building is at the north end of the Grandstand, which is air conditioned. Also, Wayne Health Care has a rest tent located by the Ohio Center, which has an area for nursing mothers and a diaper changing area.

One of the best things about the Fair is looking at the animals. Guests are reminded to use hand sanitizing stations found at the entrances and exits of the animal barns. Sanitizers may not eliminate all germs so guests should be sure to wash their hands frequently with soap and water. The health department does not recommend eating or drinking in the animal barns.

Guests are encouraged to take a moment to stop by the Darke Countians for Wildlife Conservation Tent and visit the health department’s display on mosquito surveillance and control and other various information. The Darke County Health Department hopes everyone enjoys their time at the Darke County Fair.

Those with questions may call the health department at 937-548-4196 ext. 209.