Gallatin County Fair organizers: If severe weather strikes, we have a plan


Gallatin County Fair organizers: we have a plan if severe weather strikes (07/17/13)

BOZEMAN, Mont. - Bozeman native Kristin Dykstra and her daughter Riley Ostwald stroll through the petting zoo.

"We get to see all these amazing animals and see what they are," says Ostwald.

Dykstra tells me she used to show sheep at the fair. This year, her two sons are. "It's even more exciting watching your kids do it," says Dykstra.

Ostwald tells me she likes visiting the animal barns but says she's most excited about the carnival.

"What are you most looking forward to?" I asked. "I would probably say the rides," replied Dykstra.

Rides like the Spider open up in the afternoon but fair organizers say they'll be the first to close if severe weather strikes.

"I'm really nervous," says Fairgrounds Manager Sue Shockley.

Shockley says she heard storms are in the forecast. It wouldn't be the first time a storm hit the fair. Shockley tells me they put in a retention pond. That way the water in the parking lot will have a place to go if the fairgrounds see a lot of rain. But it's wind that will shut down the carnival rides.

"They don't go if the winds are blowing. We would actually go out on the grounds and make sure that all of our vendors know that because there are a lot of tents and canopies set up and they need an opportunity to get those down," Shockley explains.

Folks will also be asked to move into the building if they're outside. If there's an electrical storm Shockley says they'll evacuate their metal grandstand immediately.

"We do have a plan, we just always hope we don't have to use it," Shockley tells me.

Until they do, folks like Dykstra and Ostwald will get in as much time as they can, rides and all.

We're told no refunds will be issued for inclement weather.

The Gallatin County Fair runs through Sunday.

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