At TFWNY, we love the fair. It’s the one time Western New Yorkers can enjoy food, fun and festivities in the fresh, summer air. We make it our job to work with fair officials in all nine counties of our region to consider smoke-free county fair policies and ensure that the fair air stays as fresh and clean as possible.
Fried dough, funnel cakes and bbq chicken were the only smells in the air at the recent Orleans County 4H Fair in Albion, NY. That’s because for the first time ever, the event was 100 percent tobacco free.
According to Robert Batt, 4H Educator at the Orleans County Cooperative Extension and Fair Director, the 4H youth are the ones who really pushed for smoke-free air at the fair. “They were concerned with the health issues of secondhand smoke, as well as safety issues,” he said. “Those hay bales near the animal barns would ignite immediately if someone threw a lit cigarette butt near them.”
Congratulations and many thanks to Robert Batt and fair officials for working with our Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming (Tobacco-Free GLOW) team on passing this policy. We hope this will be a model for county fairs in the other eight counties of Western New York.
Down in Allegany county, our Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany (Tobacco-Free CCA) team focused primarily on smoke-free housing at their fair display booth. Ken Dahlgren and Jonathan Chaffee worked with Reality Check youth to create a smoke-free apartment building showing fairgoers how tobacco smoke from one apartment can spread to others. The booth also included information on tobacco marketing and how it lures our teenagers to become new daily smokers and prevents current smokers from trying to quit. The information was so well displayed that officials awarded the Tobacco-Free CCA booth a second place ribbon.
The 986, 542 folks who attended the Erie County Fair last week had a smoke-free dining area to enjoy their favorite fair eats this in. That’s because Community Engagement Specialist Jenna Brinkworth worked with fair officials to create smoke free table tents and placed them accordingly near the food vendors at the end of the mile-long midway. One couple, feasting on fried bologna and Buffalo Chicken Wing Grilled Cheese sandwiches, were happy that secondhand smoke did not ruin the bliss of devouring their fair faves (in moderation, of course).
We’re already getting excited for next year’s fair season. We’ll continue to work with officials in all nine counties of Western New York to create a healthy, family-friendly environments at all fairs.