WRAL.com at the State Fair

Fair: Look, don't touch the animals

Posted October 11, 2012
Updated October 12, 2012

— At the agricultural showcase that is the North Carolina State Fair, there are many opportunities to see the work of those who raise plants and animals in the state. But this year, even more than before, the message is: Hands off!

After more than two dozen cases of E. coli bacterial infection connected to last year's fair, organizers made some changes that they hope will keep fair-goers safe and send them home with only happy memories.

Hunter Tallent, a Charlotte toddler who was hospitalized after visiting the livestock building last year is doing just fine, his grandfather, John Tallent told WRAL News. State Fair Your guide to the NC State Fair

"He's an active 3-year-old. Almost a year later, if you didn't know he had E. coli and was in the ICU, you'd never know that he was sick," John Tallent said.

There was never a doubt for Jennifer Clark that she'd bring her family to opening day Thursday.

Hand-washing station at State Fair State Fair: Hands off the animals, wash often

"We trust what they're doing here at the fair is going to take care of us, and they're not going to put us in danger, so we came out," she said.

The Clark family didn't think twice about visiting the petting zoo or even the livestock building. 

Hand-washing stations throughout the fairgrounds are more apparent – better lit and with bigger signs – to encourage even more fair visitors to use the sanitizer, soap and water provided. Some animal exhibits and food vendors have been relocated to put more space between them, and visitors will find new routes through animal buildings that limit the contact that people can have. 


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  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Oct 12, 2012

    Maybe they should use those disposable gloves for the children and people to use. Even using the disposable gloves, you still should wash your hands.

  • shortcake53 Oct 12, 2012

    We usually do the Fair, but this year cant get excited about it. So much money, so many people, so much walking. We are going to do one of the Pumpkin Farms instead. The whole family loves the grounds, the hayride, the stuff for kids to do, and picking out our pumpkin at the end. Just a nicer atmosphere. (And no, I dont own one of them, this is not an advertisement!)

  • outhousecat Oct 12, 2012

    OMG!! COOTIES on the farm animals!! What shall we do?

    Oh, I know. Ban everybody from touching the source of the food on their dinner plates. Cause until they're medium well, they're not safe to handle.

  • davido Oct 12, 2012

    My son remarked that while there was an endless recording about hand washing playing outside the fair (we went last night), there were NO hand sanitizers outside the portable toilet area.

  • federalsales2 Oct 12, 2012

    The fair has turned into a side show, what started the fair years ago is gone forever unless Steve would bring it back.

  • beef Oct 12, 2012

    I agree - fair food is disgusting. I am by no means a health nazi or food snob, but dropping a twinkie in year-old fryer oil? I'll pass.

  • twatkinsntp Oct 12, 2012

    The Fair that we have now is the worst. Gone are the tractors and no one can touch the animals.....it is not an agricultural fair....it is nothing more than a place to get C$%P for food and a way to spend money that most of us can't afford. All they have now are games and crowds.....the Ag Commisioner should be ashamed of himself......this fair is GARBAGE!

  • beef Oct 12, 2012

    Our sterile society is creating more problems than it solves. It has been shown that kids who are in contact with farm animals from an early age have far fewer allergies. The ubiquitous use of hand sanitizers is fine for cancer patients and others with compromised immune systems, but baring an emergency such as a flu epidemic, the rest of us would be better off bucking up and having a tummy ache every now and then.

  • worldclasscoach Oct 12, 2012

    Why not just ban animals all together, I mean come on, how about risk of injury from rides, let's ban the rides too, this is just ridiculous one of the only reasons we went to the fair, not even going this year.

  • northatlanticstorm Oct 12, 2012

    "We trust what they're doing here at the fair is going to take care of us, and they're not going to put us in danger, so we came out."

    It's good sense, though perhaps not common sense, to wash your hands when you are in a crowded area, even more so after being around, petting, or handling animals. When i was a kid, my mom would break out the baby wipes or direct us to the nearest restroom to wash up after leaving the petting zoo and anytime before we'd eat at the fair (and anywhere else). Please, take care of yourself and your own kids, assess your own actions, and don't expect others to protect you from your own behavior.