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Tight-knit crew strives to keep Oklahoma State Fair sparkling clean

Each day of the Oklahoma State Fair, about 173 temporary workers clear tons of waste from the fairgrounds in Oklahoma City.
by Juliana Keeping Modified: September 16, 2012 at 8:41 pm •  Published: September 17, 2012

A main goal is to keep the bathrooms clean, including the portable toilets. Those can only be pumped once a day, at midnight, but a cart rigged with a spray system helps spruce them up throughout the day.

“It really matters to me, people walking away saying ‘This is the cleanest fair I've ever seen,'” Davis said.

Tiffany Sams is new to the cleaning crew.

“I'm liking it,” she said. “I wish I could enjoy it (the fair) but I'd rather have the money.”

Sunday, she was tasked with cleaning the area around the petting zoo and mobile home displays. She said she's paid about $7.25 an hour.

“I listen to music and I interact with people — that's what really gets me through the day,” Sams said.

Tony Alexander has come back for a fifth time this year. The work is straightforward, the lifelong Oklahoma City resident said, driving a golf cart behind animal barns and the occasional steer or sheep. Alexander stops to deliver supplies and keys to other workers in the area. Then he checks the bathroom in Barn 4.

The people he works with make the job worthwhile.

“For 11 days we're like a family,” Davis said.

by Juliana Keeping
Enterprise Reporter
Juliana Keeping is on the enterprise reporting team for The Oklahoman and Keeping joined the staff of The Oklahoman in 2012. Prior to that time, she worked in the Chicago media at the SouthtownStar, winning a Peter Lisagor Award...
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