We're heading full throttle into the fair and festival season in the Courierarea. While we look forward to the fun each festival provides, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and state police are reminding us to be alert for safety concerns when attending these events.

The department says people should be aware of surroundings and know where to go if shelter is needed because of an unexpected thunderstorm.

They also say don't board a ride if broken parts are visible, if there are signs of improper maintenance or if it is being run by an inattentive operator. Every ride should have a prominently displayed permit issued by Homeland Security.

The department also recommends using sunscreen, sunglasses and to drink plenty of water on hot days.

That warning is especially important during the weekend of Madison Regatta racing. One or two days in the sun can create serious health issues if precautions are not taken.

For those attending the 4-H Fair or State Fair the Indiana State Board of Animal Health recommends washing hands or using hand sanitizer after touching animals, and not to consume food inside of the barns.

Following a few simple guidelines will make your fair and festival experiences more enjoyable.