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Aug 15, 2011 6:15 PM by Andy Koen

Fair manager says Indiana tragedy has put stage safety in spotlight

The tragedy at the Indiana State Fair over the weekend has event planners in our community double checking the safety of their concert venues. Five people died and over 40 were injured when a stage rigging collapsed prior to a Sugarland concert at the Indiana State Fair Satuday night.

The Colorado State Fair opens in less than two weeks and manager Chris Wiseman says what happened in Indiana puts a spotlight on their concert venues.

"That's probably a fair managers worst nightmares that something like that would happen on your fair grounds," Wiseman said.

The biggest difference he sees between our fair and the Indiana fair are the stages themselves. All of the concert venues here are permanent structures.

Still, Wiseman has asked his staff to double check weight limits of all the stage riggings and never allow any lights or sound equipment to be hung that would compromise safety.

The fair has also weathered its share of thunderstorms and fire fighters say when the clouds roll in, it's best to take cover in a building rather than a tent.

"They're designed to withstand a little better, obviously, and not necessarily attract the lightning," said Woody Percival, Public Information Officer for the Pueblo Fire Department. "I would recommend people go indoors."

Additionally, the fair hires an inspector just to look the carnival rides. The health department and regional building department inspect every food vendor and Percival and the fire department are set up in Triangle Park every day of the fair.

"We're also keeping an eye out for things," Percival said. "We sometimes hear of complaints by the public and we do follow up on those."

The Colorado State Fair opens August 26th. The band Little Big Town kicks off the concert series with a show in the Budweiser Rodeo Arena.

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