State Fair Board Says State Fair Will Be Safe

By Rachel Martin

May 24, 2012 Updated May 24, 2012 at 4:53 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Indiana State Fair Board members say this year’s state fair will be the safest in the country.

With everyone's mind on the tragic stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair last August, the organization's Board made a stop in Fort Wayne Wednesday night. It's part of a state-wide tour where Board members talk with communities about what to expect for this year's fair.

Everyone remembers the horrifying videos of the stage falling on people attending the Sugarland concert last year, but Board members assured that won't happen this year.

“We have taken every bit of professional advice that we have gotten from the two investigating bodies that came up with reports, and we have immediately implemented a lot of those recommendations,” said Andy Klotz, Public Relations Director for the Indiana State Fair. “In fact, our emergency management person has said we are 95 percent to completing everything they’ve recommended we do.”

Klotz says it wasn't the stage that harmed people, but the canopy used for lighting during concerts. He says the canopy will not be used at all this year, even though events will still take place on the stage.

“The stage itself is a cement slab and nothing happened to the stage. It was the temporary rigging structure and canopy over the stage that was used for the concerts in previous years. That is what fell, and that is no longer an issue for us because we’re not doing concerts there this year.”

All major concerts have been moved to Banker’s Life Fieldhouse (formerly Conseco Fieldhouse) in downtown Indianapolis, although a number of events will be held at the Hoosier Lottery Grand Stand every day of the fair. With these changes, Klotz says it will be the safest fair in the country.

“We just have total confidence in everything we have to offer this year in terms of customer and worker safety and we don't see that being an issue at all,” he said. “We are truly prepared for pretty much anything you can have expectations of happening.

A two-year renovation of the 73-year-old Pepsi Coliseum is scheduled to begin in Oct. Klotz says after the renovation, people can expect to see major entertainment acts return to the fairgrounds for the State Fair.

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