Wayne County Fair increases safety and security measures

WOOSTER – A bustling crowd of visitors from Wayne and neighboring counties is a hallmark of any county fair, but it comes with a risk. It is easy to lose a child among the hordes of people.

To help locate missing children, the Wayne County Fair will display murals at every entrance for parents to photograph their children.

These photos can be shown to any law enforcement officer or fair administrator to locate a missing child.

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“They’re painted in such a way that it’s a fun keepsake that you can take a picture of in front of,” said Matt Martin, manager of Wayne County Fair. “At the same time, the way it’s painted, it shows the height of the kids, it shows the clothes they’re wearing, so we know exactly what we’re looking for.”

Sometimes parents don’t remember the specific colors or types of clothes their children are wearing because it is a stressful time for everyone involved, he said.

The murals allow relatives and law enforcement officials to have an easily accessible description of the missing person.

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Treat the problem before it starts

While there is no specific data regarding missing people or children at the Wayne County Fair, Martin said the murals are just a safety net for something that always happens.

At worst, a photo of the child will identify him. At best, it’s another photo for the scrapbook.

The murals are the result of a partnership between the fairground, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, and Wayne County Employment and Family Services.

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For several years, the three have placed similar art at just three doors – one, five, and six. But this year, they hope to install murals on every door.

“Children have always been separated from their parents,” Martin said. “We always hope this is never a very bad situation.”

To help with the search and basic fair safety, sheriff’s deputies patrol the grounds alongside fairground staff like Martin.

“They keep us safe throughout the fair, and we have increased our roving agents this year,” he said.

Because these murals are used for security purposes, Martin stressed that it is free and encouraged to take photos in front of them.

Contact Bryce by email at bbuyakie@gannett.com

On Twitter: @Bryce_Buyakie

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Susan W. Lloyd

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