You have probably heard that there were over 100 cases of e.coli last year that were linked to the State Fair. State Fair and NC officials certainly didn't want anything like that to happen this year, and you can see evidence of that all over the fairgrounds.
North Carolina has a new Senate Bill that instructs the Department of Agriculture to come up with guidelines and a process for petting zoos in the state. A task force has already come up with several guidelines, including required handwashing stations.
You'll see reflections of those requirements in this year's Fair. The State Fair has announced several improvements to avoid a repeat of the e.coli breakout. The most obvious one is the presence of handwashing stations. The one shown here is outside the Jim Graham Building. It has sinks, soap, water, and paper towels, and will do a lot more thorough job than those little things of hand sanitizer that used to be available. (Though it never hurts to keep a little bottle of hand sanitizer and some towelettes in your handbag, or backpack, or whatever.)
The Petting Zoo -- the one with the camel and the lemurs -- has moved down to the bottom of the old midway, near the duck races. Staff members are on hand to make sure kids -- well, everybody -- washes their hands. (They will yell at you to come back if you leave without washing your hands.) There are signs everywhere. In a way it's a nicer spot than the location last year -- it's a little quieter, and if I remember correctly it's in closer proximity to kid's rides than the one last year was.
Feed the goats, pat the camel, and wash your mitts!
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