BLACKFOOT — Working as the head maintenance man for the Eastern Idaho State Fair (EISF) may not be the most glamourous job in the world, but it is an important one and a job that Barry Adams has enjoyed for over 20 years.
As a Blackfoot native, Adams grew up enjoying the EISF. These days he sees it from quite a different perspective saying, " As maintenance manager, it's my job to make sure that everything at the fair operates smoothly and there's a lot more to it than people think. The fair couldn't operate without us [the maintenance department]," he exclaimed.
Adams, and the 'assistant grounds superintendent' Bill Dixon, are employed by the fair's maintenance department year round. Then, around fair time, Adams manages a crew of about 12 individuals who are employed by the fair, and also oversees the various school groups and inmates that come in to help the week of the fair. (The EISF donates approximately $10,000 each year to local schools and groups for their work assisting the maintenance department at the fair).
"It's our job to attend to the bathrooms, clean-up if someone gets sick, set up and tear down in between events, we deal with power problems, weather damage...we do it all and have seen it all," he explained. "We have really seen some crazy things at the fair through the years."
Last year the maintenance department scrambled to keep things going after a severe rainstorm dropped seven tenths of an inch of rain on the fair on opening day, closing the carnival, washing out the horse races and damaging booths.
Adams said they also experienced some trouble with the sewer lines last year and that thankfully, repairs were made this year (along with the remodeling of two bathrooms), so there shouldn't be any unpleasant bathroom or sewer problems to contend with at this year's fair. He said the fair crews stay in close contact with one another with radios and cell phones so that when situations come up, they are attended to promptly.
While fair week is extremely busy and often hectic, Adams said he prefers the actual week of the fair over "the week before" and "the week after," saying, "The week before the fair is kind of nerve wracking because we have to make sure everything is 100 percent ready to go, then the week after it's all about cleaning up and tearing down."
The thing Adams said that what he enjoys most about his job, and fair week in particular, is,"that there's something different everyday."
"You never know what's going to happen each day at the fair," he said. "It's always something new."