(Posted Aug. 15, 2018)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
With each passing year, attendance at the Madison County Safety Expo goes up. Organizers are hoping the trend continues this year as the free, family-friendly event celebrates its 17th anniversary.
“We had 950 people attend last year and about 400 of those were kids. We give out goodie bags to all of the kids. The first year we gave out 100; this year, we have 450 ready to go,” said Debbie Sims, director of the Madison County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), which sponsors the event in conjunction with public safety agencies from around the county.
Set for 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Madison County Fairgrounds, the expo provides a fun, interactive way to learn about a wide range of safety topics.
Among the features are K9 demonstrations, an inflatable archery station, Touch-A-Truck displays, the state EMA’s safe room display, fire safety demonstrations, and COSI Science Spots.
The Columbus Zoo will be on hand with live animals. A Med Flight helicopter will fly in at 11:30 a.m. Care Flight will land at 12:30 p.m.
The Friends of Madison County Parks and Trails, with assistance from law enforcement representatives, will run a bike rodeo. Children are invited to ride bikes through the different stations to learn about bicycle safety. Children who don’t already have a bike helmet will receive one.
First responders will take part in a blessing of the badges at 10 a.m. in the Eby Arena. The tradition started with the first expo, initiated in the aftermath of the 9-11 tragedy.
Health and emergency response agencies will provide information on seatbelt safety, mental health, peer pressure, bullying and many other topics.
The day also includes bouncy houses, balloon sculptures, face painting and caricatures.
Additionally, visitors can enjoy hamburgers, hot dogs, bratwursts, chips, pop, and an ice cream social.
“The whole day is just a great way for the community to bond with first responders,” Sims said.
Everything at the expo is free, from admission to food. The event will go on, rain or shine.
Visitors are asked to use the Garfield Avenue entrance to the fairgrounds. For more information about the event, call Madison County EMA at (740) 852-4200.