Even though the fun is in full swing, there is a serious side to the Georgia National Fair.
Stephen Shimp, Director of Public Safety at the Fairgrounds, says at any given time 50 to 60 armed officers help patrol the property and keep everyone safe.
Communications Director Michele Treptow says over the last 23 years, more and more people have come out to enjoy the activities.
"All aspects of the fair have grown, and to that end, our number one goal is to ensure everyone's safety," she says.
That's a collaborative effort, Treptow says. "We have a great partnership that our security chief has worked out with 15-plus agencies. And these are agencies on the local, state, and federal level."
Captain Heath Dykes with the Perry Police Department has spent 19 years working security at the fair.
"We want people to come out here and enjoy and not have to worry about anything happening," he says.
To ensure that, they station armed officers at each gate, patrol the fairgrounds on foot, and even have security monitoring the parking lots.
At the command headquarters, near the clock tower, other emergency officials are on standby.
"We have EMS personnel on site here," says Dykes. "We have first responders with the Houston County Fire Department on site here. They are answering calls as they come in."
With 11 days of fair festivities to come, officials say all staff and security will work to make everyone's experience memorable and safe.
Security officials offered several tips if you're bringing young children to the fair.
They say to take a picture of them when you arrive, so if they wander off, you can show officers exactly what they look like and were wearing.
Also, it's best to let your entire group know if you're separated to meet up at the clock tower since it's easy to locate.
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