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Sheriff’s office: Enjoy the fair, be safe

Sheriff’s office: Enjoy the fair, be safe

Sheriff’s office: Enjoy the fair, be safe

Cpl. Greg Collins, right, Sgt. Rey Ro...

With thousands heading to the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair this week, traffic is expected to be quite heavy.

If drivers follow directions and pay attention to traffic signs, getting to the fair will be much easier as well as safer, Bulloch County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Jared Akins said.

In the past, cars have lined up each night for miles along Fair Road as people headed to the fair. With expanded lanes and a plan in place to make access to the fairgrounds run smoothly, the wait isn't nearly as long now, but there is still some frustration when people become impatient and don't follow directions.

Drivers heading south should watch for the orange barrels, and use the left or turn lanes to get to the fairgrounds parking lot, Akins said. Those in the right lane will continue traveling south.

Northbound drivers approaching the fairgrounds will have only one option — the right lane, he said. They will be able to make a right turn into the fairgrounds parking area or keep traveling north. Lanes in both directions will be stopped periodically to allow drivers coming from the opposite direction to take turns.

Lighted signs provided by the Georgia Department of Transportation will help drivers find the right way, Akins said.

Traffic will be heavier at peak times when people get off work or out of school, and Friday and Saturday nights are traditionally the busiest nights of the fair, he said.

Paying attention, keeping to a slower speed and obeying Bulloch County sheriff's deputies directing traffic will help make getting to the parking area easier and safer for the deputies, he said.

"Directing traffic is dangerous, especially at night," Akins said.

While deputies will have lights and reflective vests, it can still be daunting to face long lines of impatient — and sometimes impaired — drivers, he said.

Another issue of concern is when people park across Georgia Highway 67 and try to cross the busy road to get to the fair.

"That is private property, and drivers parking there could get towed, but the biggest danger is when people cross the road, especially at night," Akins said.

Avoiding parking in that area will help prevent accidents and pedestrians being struck by drivers.

Statesboro Kiwanis Club members and volunteers will handle parking once drivers enter the parking lot, but deputies will patrol the lot as well, to deter crime, Akins said.

Two shifts of deputies will handle security and traffic detail each night of the fair. While deputies outside the grounds help ensure drivers get into the parking lot safely and will be on the watch for people trying to break into cars, other deputies and investigators will be inside the gates, making sure the annual fair is a safe family environment.

While Kiwanis Club members and deputies maintain a strong presence throughout the fairgrounds, sometimes there are "intoxicated people and minor fights" that require law enforcement intervention, he said. Neither situation is tolerated, nor is any sort of disorderly conduct.

"It is usually not bad at all," he said.

Deputies also keep an eye out for small children who may get lost. Children who cannot find their parents or adult guardians will be taken to the Kiwanis information booth until an adult can be located.

It is "always a good idea for parents to keep an eye on" their children during the fair, he said. Deputies also have the child identification trailer on-site so parents can register their children's information in case they ever do get lost.

Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.


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