It's a pretty sight here in Lubbock, but if not for one group things could get ugly at the South Plains Fair; that group is none other than security. With thousands of people in attendance each night, maintaining order can present a challenge.
Nighttime is the busiest time for the fair and the midway is probably the busiest place. Police officers have eyes everywhere. Starting around seven in the evening, when midway traffic starts picking up, one officer gets on a lift that way he has an aerial view of everything below him. He then radios officers on foot and tells them where security problems lie. That's just one example of how they keep order.
You might not see them when you head into the South Plains Fair, but they're everywhere. However, James Landrum has yet to see a uniformed Lubbock police officer. This is the Landrums' third visit to the fair this year, Thursday night they concentrated on the midway.
Landrum said, "I'm not really worried about anything yet. I guess when it gets darker it changes a little bit."
And as day turns to night, security in the midway gets tighter.
"Obviously that's one of our biggest concerns is the carnival bacause that's where the real large crowd is," said South Plains Fair Manager, Herb Higgs.
Higgs said the midway is one of the most surveyed fair locations. Security tightens in the evening and on weekends, he said that's where and when kids tend to fly off the handle.
"Particularly for the kids, you need to act like mom and dad are watching all the time. It's tempting to get around carnivals and the games and get a little more rambunctious, but you never know when there might be a police officer standing there watching," Higgs warned.
Lost children are one of the biggest problems security officers deal with, but if you do have a lost child, you can go inside the Coliseum to the lost and found for kids to retrieve your child.
Naval Reserve Officers provide security for events inside the Coliseum, and G Boren Services guards secure the fair's perimeter.
Higgs said it's taken a couple days, but everything is now running as smooth as your favorite midway ride.
"You finally get into a pattern of the things that come up and we've not had anything serious that I'm aware of."
Security officers haven't seen anything yet compared to what's coming up closing weekend. Higgs said the last day of the fair has traditionally been the busiest for the South Plains Fair.
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Panhandle-South Plains Fair