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Aug 3, 2015 10:53 AM

Tradition of camping in barns with show animals ends for Cheshire County Fair


SWANZEY - A tradition came to end this year at the Cheshire County Fair due to a long-established fire code that was enforced this year.

It was the first fairground in the state to enforce the code when the festival ended on Sunday.

“I cannot tell you how upset all of our exhibitors are that they cannot sleep with their animals anymore,” Jori Johnson, the general manager of the fairgrounds, said to the Union Leader. “... They are upset for several reasons, but mostly they are afraid for their animal’s safety.”

Johnson also said the federal fire code had been a growing concern over recent years given the practice of caretakers camping out with their animals at fairs like this all across New Hampshire.

Norm Skantze, the fire chief of Swanzey, was concerned about the dry wood, crowded conditions and lack of sprinkler system in the barns, according to the paper.

While many people are disappointed at the need to pay for camp grounds near by, or being unable to help animals if they need it in the middle of the night, some owners are not disturbed.

“I come down to show cows, not to sleep,” said Dave Dahl of Swanzey.

“In the end we hate to see these traditions go, but we are about safety,” Johnson told the Union Leader. “We’re just not willing to risk a human’s life.”


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