Author Topic: We've Been Bad......and Now We're In For It!!!!  (Read 5661 times)

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Offline W1RC

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We've Been Bad......and Now We're In For It!!!!
« on: August 06, 2008, 12:25:04 PM »
NEAR-Fest III is now in the the history books and we are beginning to move towards NEAR-Fest IV coming up in October. 

However, the final chapter of NEAR-Fest III has yet to be written.  Hopefully there will be a happy ending but at the time of this writing that remains to be seen.



There were some very serious issues that developed this time that we need to discuss.  Despite the fact that these issues result from actions of only a very small number of individuals they affect us all which is why I am addressing these issues with everyone. 

The issue is fire and safety.  The offenses involve outdoor cooking and smoking.  I hope I now have your attention.

The Fair people are very displeased with the way we conducted ourselves in this regard at NEAR-Fest III.  Suffice it to say that since I negotiate the contracts I am the one who ultimately must answer to them when there's a problem.  I have been summoned to a meeting with the Board next month and I hope that the good relationship we have built up with them conducting two events last year has not suffered.   Quite frankly I have no excuse or mitigation to offer them as there is none.  Everyone who purchased a ticket was advised about "no open fires".  Right now I am trying to lessen the impact of their displeasure with us and hopefully the consequences won't be devastating.

The possibility of fire is the Fair Association's biggest nightmare.  Lapses in caution and common sense are not easily forgiven.  From my discussion with my contact I know they are not very happy and it is possible that there will be no outdoor cooking allowed in the future.  It is also possible that we might even lose the overnight sleep-over.  It's up to the Board of Directors of the Deerfield Fair Association which is something over which I have very little influence and absolutely no control whatsoever.

Some of you have posted or commented about having a visit from Paul, W1PRA, who is in charge of security at NEAR-Fest, as it was almost a humorous encounter and he was being overzealous.  It can be argued that our Sergeant-at-Arms is an entertaining character but when it comes to this hamfest at these fairgrounds I assure you all that he is deadly serious.   We all are!

It is this very lackadaisical attitude and complacency that has resulted in our current situation.  Fire is not a funny thing.  It can go from cooking your dinner or warming your ample butt to setting the entire place ablaze in a matter of seconds.  Remember, the place is full of old wooden buildings, sawdust and pine needles that could easily catch fire from a burning ember or a cigarette butt in a heartbeat.  It happens that fast.  I don't think there would be much left when the fire department arrives to try to put it out.

All the buildings are clearly marked with NO SMOKING signs.  Yet in one of the buildings some people failed to observe them which was evident when the Maintenance Supervisor and I found little piles of cigarette and cigar butts on the floor.  As a result the Fair Association is not going to rent us this building in October (and possibly never again).  For the sins of a few all will suffer the same penalty.  Henceforth, all who attend NEAR-Fest, whether they be attendees or vendors are hereby being put on notice; anyone caught smoking in any of the the buildings posted with NO SMOKING signs will be immediately escorted to the gate and unceremoniously ejected.

With regard to the safety and fires issue we feel that the Fair Association's "no open fires" rule requires more detail and elaboration of what is indeed acceptable conduct in this context and what is not.  There is no current policy other than that.  Paul, I and a few others have drafted up some guidelines to address the issue and I am hoping that the Fair people will give us another chance to enjoy the privilege of camping overnight and cooking meals with our friends. I am sure there will be some grumbling over these but it's better than no camping or cooking (or NEAR-Fest) at all.

When I meet with the Fair Committee I am going to promise them that we will enforce these guidelines very aggressively.  In order to accomplish this effectively two retired firefighters; one who also was trained  as a fire prevention officer have offered to join the Sergeant-at-Arms' team as Fire Wardens to ensure that everyone is exercising proper caution and safety measures with regard to fire.   Any violation will be dealt with immediately and severely.  Both the fire and the violator will be put out.  This will apply to everybody whether they be strangers or old friends.  It can't (and won't) make a difference. 

Furthermore, all attendees are expected to respect any and all requests given them by any NEAR-Fest Staff member without complaint or copping a bad attitude.  This was the case on a couple of occasions at NEAR-Fest III and this is probably the very reason we're in trouble now.  I assure you there will be a good reason for this and not because someone is throwing his weight around. 

The Deerfield Fair Board of Directors trusted me to take care of their grounds and I have let them down the third time out.  Fortunately nothing happened but we were lucky, very lucky.  Quite frankly I wouldn't blame them a bit if they forbade all outdoor cooking period.  I only hope they don't take away our Thursday and Friday overnight privileges which of course would reduce NEAR-Fest to nothing more that a one-day event.

This is a reality check and a serious wake-up call!  Think about it as you ponder what NEAR-Fest IV would be like with no outdoor cooking or no overnight camping. 

73,

MisterMike

Offline W1RC

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Re: We've Been Bad......and Now We're In For It!!!!
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2008, 01:37:29 AM »

Offline ford91exploder

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Re: We've Been Bad......and Now We're In For It!!!!
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2008, 04:12:33 PM »
People just dont seem to realize the fire danger - especially smokers and the smokers were hanging around the sawdust piles near the cow barns hoping no one would notice them I think although one stray butt and everyone would notice them.

How about we hire a couple of Deerfield Police as the fire patrol and arrest those caught smoking as there were quite a few smokers at the last fest.    I really do not want to lose the GREAT Deerfield location.

Also I do not want anything to happen to the Deerfield fairgrounds as 4H is a important family tradition and I've been going to the fair a lot longer than I have been a ham and on the ham side I am almost eligible for QCWA.

Don't worry - we will be giving every vehicle that enters the grounds a handout that will list the new policies we are instituting so everyone will know and (hopefully) understand them.  If there is any doubt or misconception we have three Fire Wardens (two retired and one active firefighters) who have offered to help us get the message out for the benefit for those who din't understand.

These magnificent fairgrounds are very special to us too.  The Fair Association entrusts them to us for two days twice annually and we have promised faithfully to take care of them.  It's a promise we intend to keep!

73,

MrMike