Ozark Empire Fair prepares to open gates - FOX 5 KRBK is Springfield MO source for News and Weather

Ozark Empire Fair prepares to open gates

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Wednesday, the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds were quiet. However, Thursday afternoon, that will all change as thousands of people are expected to come through the fairgrounds' gates to celebrate opening day of the fair.

Before that can happen, there is a lot of work that goes into preparing for the big day. Fair employees have been planning year-round to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.

Wednesday the rides were tested to make sure they were working right and up to code. The fair even hosted a run through with first responders to make sure they all know the procedures if there happens to be an emergency at the fairgrounds.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department also hosted food safety classes at the fairgrounds to ensure that all vendors are fully equipped and ready to safely sell food to the crowds.

"We will focus on making sure they keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. We are going to make sure they cook the foods at the right temperature they need to be cooked and hold them at the right temperature. Before they get to the point where they are cooking it while its in the cooler, we want to make sure they can maintain a cold temperature so the food is safe," said Eric Marcol, a public health inspector with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

Despite the long hours and all the work that goes into preparing for this big event, those that work at the fair said its all worth it. 

"We've got all levels here- police, fire, state fire Marshall, my staff's got many levels of training, we have emergency management, sky lab, our own security folks, weather monitors, wind monitors, lightening monitors, it goes on and on. But I just always enjoy the families making memories and having a good times," said Aaron Owen, the general manager at the fairgrounds.

The fair emphasized that safety is their top priority, adding that they will continue to have daily team meetings to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

The fair opens July 26 at 4 p.m. and will run through August 4th. 

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