BENTON COUNTY, Ore. — The stage is nearly set for the 99th annual Benton County Fair.
Benton County fair managers say they’ve been setting up the site, cleaning and preparing for the vendors to show up for about three weeks now.
Monday, the larger vendors came in, spending all day setting up everything from tents, to games, and of course, all of the rides.
“Getting the stuff positioned and where you want it–the big stuff, tents–and then we start filling in around it,” said Fair Manager Lonny Wunder.
That takes a lot of work. Every pole, screw, and cover needs to be in the right place.
“They’ve got to be staked down properly because it gets kind of windy out here now and then, so we got to make sure they’re secure so they don’t blow away and it’s safe for everybody,” said David Stueve, All Star Tents & Party Rental Owner.
For food vendors, set-up is key to their success.
“You have a lot of equipment that has to come. For BBQ, it’s the smoke ovens, it is the trailer, it is ladders, it is banners,” said Pat Kloch with Bubba’s Smoky Mountain Cuisine.
Above all, it’s sanitation.
“Inside the trailer is a hand wash station. There’s also big tubs in there to wash all the equipment, the disinfectants,” Kloch said.
Then there are the rides–everything from the big thrill-seeking ones trailered in on big rigs to the smaller carousel. There’s no room for error.
“They’re made to move like this. They’re made to be torn down and set up every time so everything has its place and in its place. Rides are very safe,” Wunder said.
Of course there’s also the games to worry about. For the crews working to set up the fair, repetition makes it easy.
“We do it every week. By this time we’ve pretty much got it down. It’s just put it up take it down,” said Marva Love, Funtastic Games Manager.
Employees say seeing the kids’ reactions to all the rides and games makes every second of setting up well worth it.
“Most of them walk away with a smile on their face, and that’s what counts,” Love said.
The Benton County Fair opens this Wednesday at noon, which is also Kids Day, meaning all children 12 and younger get in free.