Sunday, August 14, 2011

Where Milk Comes From

I got to the Fairgrounds before eight this morning to take part in the State Fair "Plein Air Day" for artists. I got there just in time to see the dairy farmers as they completed their morning routine caring for their cows. At the time, this little Brown Swiss was the only cow being milked.

In fact, the dairy cattle were just being brought into the grounds for their portion of the competition and their owners had been at work for hours getting their charges in place and making them comfortable. A lot of others were being bathed and groomed. 

Only after those tasks had been completed would the humans take some time to themselves. The welfare of the animals comes first.

And even little Hope can take time for some shut-eye before starting her big day in the children's display.

Earlier this evening, as I began working on this post, a severe thunderstorm entered the area, pushing ahead of it wind gusts reported to be 50-76 miles per hour. We'd been expecting storms later, but this one hit surprisingly quick. The rain did not start until about fifteen minutes after the gusts.

A warm and happy day at the Fair turned to tragedy as one of those wind gusts tore the canopy from the top of the grandstand stage, lifted the entire stage rigging which then collapsed forward onto the crowd below, gathered tonight for an appearance by the country music group Sugarland.

People had just begun evacuating the area a few minutes before the scaffolding collapsed, bringing down speakers, the lighting system and a large video screen onto the people at the front of the stage. At this time over forty people have been reported injured, while four people are confirmed to have been killed.

Before emergency crews arrived, members of the audience rushed to the stage, many of them working as one as they attempted to lift the wreckage off the people trapped below. Others who were medical personnel in their work life stepped in to assist the injured, as other audience members followed their instructions.

My condolences to the families of the people lost and to those injured.  


dive said...

Oh, what terrible news. That video is horrifying. I join you in sending condolences to those affected by the disaster. In the face of that it is reassuring to know that rather than flee, the audience risked their own safety to help others.

Speedway said...

In a few short minutes, a happy occasion was turned by a random act of the weather. I suppose if we need a reminder to not take our pleasant lives for granted, this was one of those times.

In the pictures, one can see pairs of upraised arms working to hold up the rigging. Thankfully, there were people who chose to not run away and, along with the many security personnel already on the grounds, were able to quickly aid the injured. People are, after all, mostly good and helpful.

lin said...

I was so worried you might be near. Watched the Indy coverage until I fell asleep. Horrible.

Speedway said...

Thanks for your concern. I was at home.

People are busy playing Monday morning quarterback, assigning blame to the Fair officials, saying they should've gotten people out earlier. But that would've meant 12,000 people trying to get through the exits and out into the fair crowd. If people had been hurt doing that, the ISF would be getting blamed as well.

Sugarland has cancelled their appearance scheduled for tonight at the Iowa State Fair. Given the circumstances, that is both appropriate and necessary.