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Jasper County Tribune

Third time’s the charm for Baxter’s Kids Safety Fest

Baxter Hometown Pride and the Baxter Chamber of Commerce finally held their first year of Kids Safety Fest after it had been rained out on two separate occasions.

The safety fest was held from 2 to 4 p.m. on July 3 at the Baxter Community Building. It featured a host of safety tips and safety gear for children to safely ride bicycles among others like meeting the chief of police and assistant chief of the fire department among others in public safety.

Baxter Police Chief John Hicks said the Safety Fest was an event designed to teach children about how to safely ride their bikes around the town. Tips such as how to signal when you are turning or what to do at stop signs were shared with the kids. Hicks also said they wanted to give out safety equipment.

“Any ounce of prevention that we can give a child is certainly well worth the investment of the time and the money,” Hicks said.

The Baxter Fire Department had trucks that the children could climb in and see how they operate with the help of a member of the fire department. They also were free to ask any questions they might have.

“It’s gone pretty well. This is the third time we have tried to do it because we got rained out the first two times, for this time of day it’s gone pretty well,” assistant chief of the Baxter Fire Department Nathan Popenhagen.

Popenhagen talked about how the kids wanted to see the trucks and how he would answer questions the kids had. He also spoke about the importance of familiarizing kids with fire fighters and other emergency responders.

“It makes them feel comfortable, they are not scared if something happens. They aren’t scared of the fire department or the ambulance,” Popenhagen said.

Even though the event had to move times and dates twice because of rain, it was well attended by community members.

“For it being in the middle of the week and in the middle of the day, very last minute I think it’ s been a great turn out,” Mayor of Baxter Gennypher Popenhagen said.

Hicks added, “We have just about given away all of our helmets. We started today with 52 of them and we are down to probably about 10 so we made a pretty good impact on the community today.”

Moving forward, the organizers of the safety fest hope to make it an annual event for the community.

“Yeah, I think it would be fun, hopefully they will have better weather and can do some of the stuff outside, but yeah, I think it’s fun,” Alyssa Plunkett said.

Contact Dustin Teays at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or

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