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Looking into safety at Mower County Fair safety after incidents in Freeborn County

"We have had practices in place for many years," John Mueller, director of the Fair Board, said, "and we'll continue to employ those practices for the safety of our guests and our folks that come visit us at the fair."

Posted: Aug 6, 2018 9:02 PM
Updated: Aug 7, 2018 6:44 AM

MOWER COUNTY, Minn. - Two abduction attempts in Freeborn County, one at the fairgrounds and one in Albert Lea, are serving as a serious reminder for both adults and kids to stay alert. 

The Mower County Free Fair starts Tueday. The Fair Board tells KIMT 90,000 people typically come to the Mower County Fair. Sometimes big crowds can lead to big safety concerns.

Those in charge at the fair say they're going to keep doing what they've always done. People who visit, like Terry Mattson, are making sure to pay attention.

"Things have gotten scarier," Mattson said. "You really gotta be more cautious."

Mattson has been coming to the Mower County Fairgrounds for years, and now brings her grandkids.

She always makes sure to have an eye and hand on them at all times, especially after hearing about the attempted child abduction at the Freeborn County Fair over the weekend

"That's terrifying, it's absolutely terrifying because it can happen so quickly," Mattson said, "and we forget as we're having fun at the fair and the kids are running to go on rides how easy it would be to lose one, or have somebody grab one."

Thankfully, the Mower County Fair Board has procedures.

"We have had practices in place for many years," John Mueller, director of the Fair Board, said, "and we'll continue to employ those practices for the safety of our guests and our folks that come visit us at the fair."

The Fair Board works with the Sheriff's Office to ensure safety. One of their precautions is to routinely train all security personnel. Another is having all fair staff practice a lockdown drill. That's to make sure they're able to secure the fairgrounds and take care of whatever the issue may be.

"We hope it never happens," Sgt. Investigator Steve Sandvik, with the Mower County Sheriff's Office, said. "We try to make sure our personnel and the public is aware that if they see something that's out of place, to say something. Say something immediately. We'd rather learn that something is nothing, than have something that is something not be reported immediately."

Mattson thinks there are never enough eyes.

"You really need to watch your kids," Mattson said.

The Sheriff's Office tells KIMT they're not planning to add extra enforcement.

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