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EPD Releases Fall Fest Safety List Centered on Families, Reuniting Lost Children

West Side Nut Club Fall Festival guests order food from booths Tuesday afternoon. Thousands will come through the festival on West Franklin Street in Evansville, and the more than 120 non-profit organizations will earn much of their budget through the year selling food.
File Photo
West Side Nut Club Fall Festival afternoon guests order food from booths in 2022. Thousands will come through the festival on West Franklin Street in Evansville. According to the EPD, it is common for children and families to become separated, but can quickly be reunited with the help of police and volunteers.

West Side Nut Club’s Fall Festival begins today; Evansville Police Department is reminding parents to plan in case they are separated from their children, and lock their cars when parking for the festival

The Evansville Police Department (EPD) has released safety suggestions for families who plan to attend the West Side Nut Club Fall Festival, which begins today.

Most safety tips will help parents plan for their festival experience, and avoid children separating from parents — and assist in reuniting if they do.

“I think it's really important that people kind of have an idea of some safety tips in mind before they go down to the Fall Festival,” said Sgt. Anna Gray with the EPD. She said they released the list because families becoming separated is pretty common.

“That seems to happen multiple times throughout the day and evening,” she said. “And I think people sometimes forget to have a plan before they go … especially when you're talking about young kids.”

Gray suggests pointing festival volunteers and uniformed officers out to children, as people that can help if they’re separated.

Parents should also take photos of their children as they arrive, so they can show photos to officers if they’re separated and recall their clothing for description.

Gray said it usually only takes about 15 minutes to reunite a family, because of their network of police, EMTs and volunteers.

See more tips from the EPD regarding families, below.

Gray said the second most common issue they experience are misdemeanor thefts from car break-ins. The victims are individuals parking and walking into the festival.

She said they try to patrol the perimeter of the festival, but sometimes people park several blocks away.

“They don't necessarily want to carry a lot of their belongings to the Fall Festival. So they'll leave wallets, maybe just take the cash out, or purses (and leave) expensive items, valuable items in their car, and then they forget to lock their vehicle.”

She said sometimes folks from out of time will visit and forget where they parked, because it’s often evening when they return to their vehicles.

She suggests taking photos of a landmark to help you find your way back, and wear bright clothing for visibility on streets as night falls.

Evansville Police Department Fall Fest Safety Tips

Child Safety
Before you arrive at the Festival, talk with your child about the large crowd that will be there. Tell them that there will be numerous Police Officers and Officials that your child can safely approach if they become separated from you.

After you arrive at the Fall Festival, point out first responders who are in uniform and where they are set up. Tell them they can go to anyone wearing a uniform for help. Also point out Nut Club members to your child and the distinctive straw hats with the various bands (bolos) around their hats. Tell them they can also seek out these Nut Club Members for help.

Upon arriving at the Fall Festival, take a picture on your cell phone of your child/children so that you know for sure what they are wearing. It can also be shown to officers if your child becomes lost. The clothing color and style will be helpful for officials actively looking for your child.

If you do become separated from your child, do not panic. Seek out the closest first responders or Nut Club Member for assistance.

Make sure you as a parent are constantly aware of your childrens' whereabouts.

Children are easily distracted at the Fall Festival, with all its sights, sounds and smells, and is a prime spot to be easily distracted, even for adults.

It is always best for parents of younger children to hold that child’s hand when walking in or around the Fall Festival, for numerous safety reasons.

For your children who are older and/or adults in your group, have a pre-determined meeting spot if you or anyone else in your group becomes separated.

If you feel your child is old enough to wander around without you, it is best if they pair up with a sibling or friend of similar age. Have them check in with you by calling or texting, every 15-30 minutes to update their location to you. Have a pre-determined time and location of departure in order to meet at that location when you are leaving the festival.

Parents, it recommended that you not allow any child younger than high school age to walk around in the games/rides area on Friday or Saturday nights without adult supervision. This becomes a VERY congested area.

Write down parent or guardian information, including a working phone number and place it in a child's pocket, shoe or sock. You can also write your number on a rubber bracelet with a sharpie. Tell your child to give that information to a police officer, Nut Club member, or a food booth volunteer if he/she gets lost.

General Safety
Remember where you parked. Find a land marker, building or something familiar near the parking spot so that you are not wandering around after dark looking for the vehicle. Taking a picture of your parking spot is also very helpful.

Lock your vehicle! If you absolutely must leave valuables inside vehicle, keep them out of sight. Store items in the trunk, glove box or stashed away out of plain view.

If you see something suspicious, find a police officer nearby or call 911 and report the activity.

When walking to or from the Fall Festival after sunset, wear reflective or bright colored clothing. Traffic on the side streets can become very congested, walk on the sidewalks and check your surroundings before crossing the street.

Stay hydrated! It is easy to get dehydrated on hot days especially if you plan to walk around for several hours.

Items prohibited at Fall Festival boundaries
1. Animals/Pets of any type – service animals are allowed
2. Glass Bottles/Jars/Containers
3. Squirt Guns of any type/Water Balloons
4. Bicycles/Scooters/Skateboards/Roller-Blades
5. Drones
6. Fireworks
7. Halloween masks

*Remember, if you see something, say something! Report suspicious persons and activity to police.

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