Sometime volunteer researcher and avid GUARDIAN reader, Clancy, asked us to share the following exchange of messages with Ada Commish Sharon Ullman when he discovered a lack of free water at the fair–thanks to a contractual agreement that prevents the Western Idaho Fair from offering free water to visitors, despite temps pushing 100 degrees!
I just wanted to tell you how nice the fair is so far this year. But the hot weather took a toll on my body and pocketbook. We did take water bottles in with us, but it would be great to have some place to refill them. I found the Republican booth inside with a water cooler as the only place as bottles don’t fit well in the bathroom sinks. We ended up purchasing water from various vendors. The cost range was from a $1.00 to $3.00. It would be nice to see some consistency in pricing as well.
I volunteered at Tour de Fat the previous day and helped the Boise Bike Project run the water station. New Belgium provided cups or people were allowed to fill there own bottles. People were both grateful and surprised to find free water. I realized they operate differently and can do anything they want, but having water can really make or break($$) someone’s day at the fair.
Thank you for contacting me about the water situation (coupled with the high temperatures) at the fair. You are absolutely right – we DO have a problem. Part of the problem is that we have in our vendor contracts that we will not compete with them by distributing free water. That said, I don’t believe it is reasonable for people to suffer from heat strokes when attending this event. I am looking for solutions, such as having sprinklers available at the fairgrounds in which people could cool off. I haven’t yet received a response yet as to whether that would be feasible.
I will push to try to get the policy/contract provision changed for next year’s fair. It’s more difficult to violate terms of agreements that are already in place. Again, I appreciate your perspective, and agree with you that it shouldn’t bankrupt families just to get cold water to drink at the fair! Thank you, again!
To insure more advertising-free Boise Guardian news, please consider financial support.