Safety a top priority as gates open at Vermont State Fair

Local News

The Vermont State Fair — a Rutland tradition dating back more than 170 years — is now open for its 2019 run.

Whether you prefer spinning the wheels of a BMX bike or a kiddie car during a junior demolition derby, there are plenty of things to see and do at the fairgrounds.

You’ll also see plenty of safety and security personnel, something that hasn’t changed in the wake of El Paso, Dayton and other mass shootings.

“We’ve always had good security here; we never seem to have problems,” gate staffer Brent Garrow said. “We have Rutland City Police on the premises. We have private security, and we have our own in-house security, so we have mamy forms, day and night.”

Several areas of the fairgrounds are newly-renovated this year. The one that might make the biggest difference for guests is the first- aid building — one of the oldest buildings on the property.

Donations to the fair have allowed for a complete overhaul, inside and out. It’s more comfortable, including partitions so that anyone who needs to use a cot for a while can have some privacy.

“We’ve got an ADA bathroom that is accessible,” Wendi Fitzgerald from Chittenden First Response and District X EMS said. “We have a ramp out front making everything ADA-friendly.”

But the building improvements don’t mean much unless there are EMS personnel at the ready.

“We have crews on standby, transporting agencies,” Fitzgerald said. “We provide everything from BLS to ALS services brought to you by volunteers; today happens to be Poultney Rescue Squad.”

Donations have also helped fair organizers create a new horseback riding arena and a refurbished horse barn.

“And we had a donation of a miniature circus that is very, very interesting,” Garrow said. “I’d encourage anybody to come and see that.”

The Vermont State Fair continues on Route 7 in Rutland through Saturday.

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