Organizers hope Legionnaires’ outbreak won’t affect planned events

State - Regional

BUNCOMBE CO., N.C. (WSPA) – The outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease at a North Carolina event center has some organizers worried it could impact the attendance at their scheduled events.

More than 100 cases of the lung infection were reported after the North Carolina Mountain State Fair, which was held at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center in Fletcher.

The Autumn Rails Train Show is one of dozens of events held at the WNC Agricultural Center, where the outbreak started.

“We’re certainly concerned,” event organizer Chuck Place said. “In fact, there was concern that we would be able to have a show at all.”

Place told 7 News he’s now worried confusion could affect attendance.

“If people are not aware of it, they think that the events are all shut off here and they’re not,” he said.

Gaffney native Danny Higgins goes to the train show every year and said, even after hearing about the outbreak, he wasn’t concerned.

“This day and time, anything can happen anywhere at any time,” Higgins said. “I think, usually, most event places I go to, if something happens, they’re very good about getting on the situation and getting it clear.”

Health officials believe a possible source for the outbreak could be linked to a hot tub display that was inside the Davis Event Center.

That’s right across the parking lot from the expo building, where the train show is being held this weekend.

“This building has gotten a clean bill of health,” Place said.

Place hopes that information will encourage people to still come out this weekend.

“We’re here. We’re operating. We’re all healthy… We hope,” he said.

A gun and knife show that was scheduled to be held inside the Davis Event Center this weekend was cancelled due to the findings.

7 News reached out to the organizers of the North Carolina Championship Walking Horse Show, which is also taking place this weekend. They told us they are in close contact with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and have taken extra safety precautions.

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