Safety has been made a priority as the Indiana State Fair opens for its 156th year.
"We're ready. We've got all the usual precautions in place, and we'll be ready to deal with whatever heat comes," Andy Klotz, the fair's PR director, told RTV6's Stacia Matthews.
One thing that fairgoers will notice right away is a breakdown of severe weather procedures inside the fair program, just one part of the fair's newly developed safety plan.
Klotz said everyone working for the fair is well-versed in the new procedures.
"Everybody who's related with the fair, in order to get a worker badge at the fair, whether you're a concessionaire, a sponsor, or a state fair employee, you had to go through this training," Klotz said.
Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman seconded Klotz's confidence.
"The Indiana State Fair, and everyone on staff here, is so much better prepared to handle a natural disaster or a man-made disaster," Skillman said.
All rides at the fair were inspected by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security Thursday. No violations were found.
Jim Greeson, Indiana State Fire Marshal, said the rides will be monitored throughout the duration of the fair.
"If we see something on a ride, or something's reported to us about a ride, we will re-inspect the ride. If we find out there's anything wrong, the ride will be shut down until it's repaired and re-inspected," Greeson said.
In addition to the new safety procedures, the 2012 fair is packed with new attractions, especially for kids and kids at heart.
Visitors to "Cowtown USA," will find cows Bessie and Elsie and farmer Cactus.
At Cowtown USA, "you get to milk a cow by hand the old-fashioned way -- how grandma and grandpa used to do," explained Cactus Farrell.
Kids will also get a chance to make ice cream and cheese and actually have fun doing the laundry.
"These days people don't like to do laundry, so it's a fun way to have your hands-on history and educate kids," Cactus added.
Families might learn how they feel about heights at the Midway's new attraction called Vertigo. The 100-foot-tall ride is making its world debut at the State Fair.
Closer to the ground, fairgoers will find an improved Free Stage.
"There's programming there from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the fair. Previously, we'd have a show there in the early evening and that'd be about it," said Andy Klotz, the PR director with the fair.
And in between ground level and 100 feet, people will enjoy "International Superdogs," which are trained dogs with three shows daily.
Trained exotic animals are over at Bixby's Rainforest Rescue, where the whole family can learn about conservation.
Hoosiers can start enjoying these attractions and more when gates open at 8 Friday morning. And while general admission increased to $10, there are plenty of deals to get cheaper rates, including a 3-day pass. That will bring the cost down to $6 a day.
Copyright Copyright 2012 by
All rights reserved.
This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.