(Posted Oct. 6, 2023)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The annual Madison County Safety Expo, hosted by the Madison County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), has a new date and a new theme.
This year’s expo, subtitled “Safemare on Elm,” is set for Oct. 15, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., at the Madison County Fairgrounds, 205 Elm St., London. Visitors are highly encouraged to wear Halloween costumes to this family-friendly event that puts the spotlight on local first responders and safety education.
In the past, the expo took place in August. Organizers moved the date to October for several reasons.
“August tends to be very hot, plus National Night Out, back-to-school activities, and other events are going on at that time,” said Holly Langham, EMA deputy director. “Also, at last year’s expo, we set out fire fighter, EMS, and police costumes for the kids to try on. We ended up with a long line, so we thought why not do a trick-or-treat theme this year and have kids come in their favorite costumes so they don’t have to wait in line.”
By going with this theme, the expo is providing a safe place for youngsters to trick-or-treat during the daytime, Langham added.
The EMA has ordered 1,000 pumpkin-themed trick-or-treat bags to pass out to children for collection of candy and other goodies. A pumpkin-shaped bounce house and a pumpkin pitch bean bag toss are planned. The EMA will have a family photo op area, featuring a giant pumpkin prop, fall-themed background, and straw bales.
In addition to the Halloween fun, the expo includes a variety of safety demonstrations, displays, and activities outside on the grounds and inside the Eby Arena. Area first responders will display their vehicles in the touch-a-truck area. A CareFlight helicopter will land at 1 p.m.
The Ohio EMA will have a tornado safety house on site. The Jefferson Township Fire Department is bringing back its obstacle course. The London Fire Department’s mascot, “Sparky,” will stroll the grounds and pose for photos. The Ohio Highway Patrol’s West Jefferson post will offer bike safety tips and car seat checks. And the list goes on with information, displays, and activities about safe sleep, farm and tractor safety, water and boat safety, dog safety, and more.
The Friends of Madison County Parks & Trails is hosting a bike rodeo, another popular feature of the expo. Participants will have the chance to practice and develop bicycling skills. Children will receive free bike helmets, courtesy of Madison Health and the Ohio AAP’s “Put a Lid on It” program.
As for food, every child will receive a ticket good for one slice of pizza from Cappy’s Pizza. Pepsi has donated all of the pop for the event.
The entire event is free and open to the public. Last year, more than 600 people attended. For more information, call the EMA at (740) 852-4200.