Indiana State Fair Remembers Victims of Sugarland Stage Collapse 1 Year Later
The Indiana State Fair came to a standstill Monday night to honor the victims of a deadly stage collapse one year ago that prompted sweeping overhauls of the fair's emergency plan and new regulations for temporary stages.
The fair shut down all activities from 8:46 p.m. to 8:50 p.m. to commemorate the seven people killed and dozens injured Aug. 13, 2011, when strong winds sent stage rigging crashing onto a crowd of fans awaiting a concert by country duo Sugarland.
"Today's my alive day," said Crystalyn Huegen, 37, who was injured when the rigging toppled. She said wanted to attend the event for "closure" and spent hours earlier in the day at the fairgrounds handing out flowers and talking to others who were also at the concert.
Amusement rides and shuttle buses stopped at 8:30 p.m., and concessions turned off all music as about 300 people gathered at a memorial to the victims outside the grandstand. Fair goers were asked to pause and remove their hats for a moment of silence, and the names of the seven people killed were read over a loud speaker.
Sugarland was named in a lawsuit in November by survivors and family members of the deceased. According to the plaintiffs' attorney, Sugarland’s contract gave the performers final say on whether the show should be canceled due to weather.
The band filed a response Feb. 16 to the suit, saying that state fair officials and Mid-America Sound Corp., the company who built the stage rigging, were ultimately the ones responsible.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.