The Indiana State Fair management team prepared heavily for safety at the 2012 fair, following the tragic stage collapse in 2011 linked to a fluke thunderstorm. The team implemented these plans when severe weather approached during the fair.
Some believe they overreacted, letting the pendulum swing too far toward procedures, hampering vendors and fair volunteers with unnecessary meetings and regulations. The following incident speaks for itself.
On Friday, August 10, someone was watching the horse show in the outside arena when the man on the microphone interrupted the show to say "There is a rainstorm entering the fairgrounds. It will be over the grounds for about 20 minutes."
The "rain storm" was nothing more than a light mist—I know, I was there. That's carrying things a bit far.
On the other hand there are those who believe that while they may have put good policies in place for handling weather situations, they still overlooked other situations which could put visitors in danger.
Specifically, a sheep exhibitor says that when he pulled up toward the sheep barn to load out his animals about 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 11, there was only one person on the northwest corner of the Pavilion providing any direction at all. It was a mixture of big horse semi -trucks parked on one side, and a few sheep trailers on the other side, with dozens of unsuspecting fairgoers walking throughout the entire area, seemingly unaware trucks were trying to move to a load-out spot. One person at the corner who might have nay ability to control vehicular and pedestrian traffic was in sight, the exhibitor says. He viewed it as an accident waiting to happen. In his opinion, fair officials need to look beyond weather response plans to see if there are other areas where the fairgrounds could be safer for both those visiting and those exhibiting.