WARSAW — Kosciusko County’s Fairgrounds is officially smoke-free, but officials hope to enforce the policy more so during the upcoming annual 4-H Fair.
Heidi Blake, director of the Kosciusko County Tobacco Free Coalition, attended Monday’s meeting of the county fair board and sought to see if there was more that could be done to enforce the no smoking policy.
While the fair board voted to make the fairgrounds smoke free last year, the board has not established a written policy on the matter. Blake said more fair boards are adopting written policies and offered to pass along examples of those policies.
Blake and others said it appeared most of those violating the policy last year appeared to be people who were operating the carnival rides and food booths. In one case, a woman associated with the Home and Family Arts building said she repeatedly saw a food vendor smoking adjacent to a carnival ride and a no smoking sign. Eventually, she said, the woman moved the sign.
Fair board members said they would talk with vendors and carnival ride management to remind them of the policy, but said enforcing the policy on fair attendees is more difficult. One board member said the notion of removing somebody from the fairgrounds for smoking seemed to be an overly stiff option.
Blake raised the idea of posting more signs and the board was receptive to the idea.
Blake said she has noticed adherence to the policy seemed to catch on last year. She said a few years ago, she and others worked to pick up and remove cigarette butts from the midway area and estimated they found 7,000 butts.
“From my observation, smoking around the midway was down last year,” Blake said. “Overall, I think the feedback was really good.”
The week-long fair begins July 7 with the annual parade and opening ceremonies.
The parade route has changed this year because of construction on part of East Market Street west of the fairgrounds. The parade will begin in the parking lot of the Warsaw Police Department north of Owen’s supermarket, and head south on McKinley Street, turn west on Market Street to Bronson Street which leads into the fairgrounds. Parade start time is 4 p.m.
The opening ceremony at 6 p.m. will be at the Horse Arena.