To All NEAR-Fest Attendees:
NEAR-Fest staff and the Deerfield Fair Association management are very concerned about the improper and unsafe use of cooking and heating appliances at the Fairgrounds, not only by us but by all groups who hold events at Deerfield. Despite the fact that we enforce the "No Open Fires" policy judiciously, there are still situations that we feel may present a risk of starting a fire where it is not intended.
Although people are cooperative and understanding, we feel that current policies do not adequately provide for the measure of safety and assurances that we need to demonstrate to the Fair Association that are conditional to our continued use of the grounds. Because of the extremely vague and uncertain definition of the term "no open fires" we have found it necessary to introduce the following rules.
1. All cooking and heating appliances that burn fuel must be commercially-made, UL/CSA certified, unmodified units mounted on a proper insulated base. Converted "satellite dishes" or other improvised grills or heating appliances will NOT be permitted.
2. All cooking units will have a full cover which must be down at all times when fire is present except when loading or unloading the cooking grill. The use of charcoal lighter fluid is strictly prohibited. Only electric charcoal starters or "self-lighting" charcoal briquets can be used. Using wood as a fuel is not permitted. Charcoal must be thoroughly soaked with water and completely extinguished before disposing of the ashes. Anyone using such devices are strongly advised to have a fire extinguisher available, just in case.
3. No cooking appliances may be operated closer than 15 feet from any building or structure as well as inside tents and under open-sided "gazebos". Cooking or smoking is NOT permitted in any of the buildings, including commercial buildings, barns or under the roof overhang area, where sawdust is present on the ground. Violation of this policy is grounds for getting kicked out of the hamfest without warning along with the additional possibility of receiving a court summons from the Deerfield Police because Hampshire state law prohibits cigarette, cigar or pipe smoking in ANY public building in the state.
Determination of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable with regards to all cooking and heating devices as made by the Sergeant-at-Arms, the Fire Wardens or his staff is final. Failure to comply immediately with instructions by ANY NEAR-Fest Staff member regarding ANY devices that uses fire or electricity will result in the device being disabled (possibly permanently) on-the-spot and offenders asked to leave the grounds ot once without further warning, discussion, appeal or recourse..
We are all responsible for each other. Failure to abide with these requirements will result in the loss of any outdoor cooking privileges (and possibly worse) for everyone.
In this regard it is better to ask for permission than for forgiveness. "I didn't know" is NOT an acceptable excuse.
Thank you for your cooperation.