Sheriff: Enjoy the Washington Parish Fair, but follow safety tips
Published 1:00 pm Tuesday, October 19, 2021
With the Washington Parish Free Fair officially opening Wednesday, Oct. 20, Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal cautions parish residents and visitors to be cautious as they enjoy the fair.
Seal offers the following suggestions for safety:
- First and foremost, know where your children are at all times. Prepare a written note with the child’s name, the parent’s name, the parent’s cell phone number, the parent’s address and any other necessary information. Place that information in the child’s pocket or other location so that law enforcement officials can quickly identify a lost child and locate a parent or other responsible adult. Each year, several children become separated from their parents. Most children have no identification on them and some are too young to give addresses and phone numbers. Always know what your child is wearing so you can give that information to officers.
Teach your young child your name. When asked the name of their mother or father, some young children simply say “Mommy” or “Daddy.” Try to make certain your child knows your name.
- Always designate a meeting point at the fair in the event you are separated from your children or others who accompany you to the fair. Suggestions are the train near the rodeo arena or the clock near the stage.
- Advise children who may become lost to seek out a uniformed officer who will take them to the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office (WPSO) command center near the entrance to the midway or the Franklinton Police Department (FPD) command center near the main entrance. Children will be able to remain at the command center until claimed by parents.
- Groups are safer than being alone. Try to move around the fairgrounds with others instead of alone. This is especially important for children and teen-agers who may not have parental or adult supervision. Large crowds often attract predators. Don’t give a predator the opportunity to make you a victim.
- If someone you don’t know offers you something to eat or drink, or any other item, refuse it. There is always the possibility that the food or drink has been tampered with and that the item may be illegal drugs.
- Do not bring alcohol or illegal drugs to the fair. If you are caught with either, you will be arrested. The WPSO has zero tolerance for such behavior. If you see someone with alcohol or illegal drugs, report them to the nearest uniformed officer.
- Do not bring a firearm to the fair. The WPSO has zero tolerance for such behavior and you will go to jail if you have a firearm.
- Fighting will not be tolerated on the fairgrounds. If you have a disagreement, settle it responsibly. Fighting will earn you a trip to the parish jail.
- Stay in well-lighted areas at night and do not wander into adjacent woods.
- Keep cash and credit cards secure. Don’t lose them and make sure they are not visible when you walk around.
- This year’s fair is unique in that it is the first fair held with COVID awareness being an issue. Bring a mask with you and use it when appropriate to do so. Insofar as possible, maintain social distancing from others who are not part of your group. Most of all, use common sense in all you do, whether or not it is COVID-related.
- Two law enforcement command centers will be located on the fairgrounds. The WPSO command center will be located across from the train engine near the entrance to the midway. The FPD command center will be located near the front entrance to the fairgrounds, across from the old armory.
- Officers will be available at each command center and will be roaming throughout the fairgrounds during the fair to assist anyone. Advise your children to go directly to any uniformed officer if they have any type of problem.
Seal reminds all fair visitors that the fair is a family event to be enjoyed by everyone. “I wish everyone a safe and happy fair experience,” he said. “Enjoy the fair, enjoy your family and friends, enjoy the exhibits and the rodeo, enjoy the variety of free acts on the stage, enjoy the unique fair food and enjoy the privilege of gathering as citizens of a free nation for a few days of fun and relaxation. See you at the fair!”
The fair will end Sunday, Oct. 24. For more information, visit the official website at www.thefreefair.com.