SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KSPR) - The Ozark Empire Fair is here, and if you’re planning on taking your family to the party, you can plan on seeing some large crowds.
The fairgrounds is a large venue, and it could be easy for a child to get lost. Police officers say if you’re bringing your family, it would be a good idea to pick out a meeting place. The Springfield Police Department even has a substation there, which could be a good meeting spot.
“I’m constantly doing head checks,” said mother Rachel Adams.
She says it’s her family’s first year at the Ozark Empire Fair.
“I usually try to avoid crowds because it stresses me out,” she laughed.
But you could tell by looking at them, Rachel has a good strategy for keeping track of all five of her kids. They were all in matching green tie dye shirts.
Adams said, “We had matching shirts because we just went to a family reunion. And so, I decided that we’re all going to wear the shirts, because they’re bright colored and you can easily spot them. They’re unique enough that I can spot them, even when I’m not right on top of them.”
She says that’s important because her husband will be manning their wood turning booth while she’s out with the kids.
Adams said, “I’m hoping with the bright shirts it will be easy to tell that they’re mine, and if they do get separated, they can spot me.”
You never think that you’re going to get separated from your kid. But Officer Chris Laughlin says it could happen to anyone, and you have to be prepared for the worst.
“We kind of treat the fair as it’s own little city, or own little entity,” he explained.
Officer Chris Laughlin says it’s very easy for both kids and parents to get distracted at the fair.
“Every year, I’d say we get a handful of them a year, in which kids will wander off,” he said.
He says if you do lose track of your kid, tell a police officer or security guard as soon as possible, so they can get the word out and secure the gates.
“It’s kind of all hands on deck at that point in time, if there’s a report of a missing child, we try to get out a clothing description, obviously, and physical characteristics, and age,” said Laughlin.
Laughlin says before you come to the fair, take a picture of your children just in case you do get separated. That way you’ll have a recent photo that includes the clothing that your kid is wearing at the fair. Laughlin says if your child isn’t old enough to have their own cell phone, but they know how to operate one, consider lending them mom or dad’s cell, if both parents are at the fair together.