PUYALLUP, Wash. - Preparations are underway for the Washington State Fair, which begins Friday morning in Puyallup.
Ahead of opening day, vendors are setting up tents and thousands of employees are getting ready to go to work.
Washington State Fair spokesperson Karen LaFlamme said background checks are required for some of the 7,500 employees who will work at this year's fair.
"We want to make sure all the kids are safe, and we make sure anyone who has direct contact with children goes through a background check," said LaFlamme.
Just last week in Monroe, police arrested a 38-year-old employee of Butler Amusements at the Evergreen State Fair. Snohomish County officials say the man was arrested on an outstanding warrant for forgery out of St. Joseph County, Indiana, but they had been investigating him for possession of suspected child pornography after receiving a tip from Microsoft.
Evergreen State Fair pays for background checks on all locally hired Butler Amusements employees. They instituted this policy after an incident last year, when Snohomish County Sheriff's deputies discovered that a woman working at the "kiddie land" portion of the fair was awaiting trial on child molestation charges.
"Keeping our fairgoers safe is our top priority," said Tom Teigen, Snohomish County Parks director. "We conduct background checks on all our employees, as does Butler Amusements. At this time, we have no evidence that this employee engaged in any illegal activity while working at this year's fair."