The Edmond Sun

July 5, 2013

LibertyFest leaders plan to review safety rules

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — LibertyFest leadership will meet to review safety-related policies and procedures, the festival president said Friday. The call for review comes after the accidental death of an 8-year-old boy who fell from a flatbed trailer as the float he was riding on was almost to the parade staging area about 11 a.m. Thursday. Police are ruling Aidan Hooper’s death accidental.

Robby Allen, president of the 2013 LibertyFest, said the festival oversight committee will meet at a yet-to-be determined date and an item on the agenda will be a review of parade rules and procedures. Festival presidents serve one-year terms.

Following the accident, which occurred as the ATA Karate & Life Skills Training Center float was nearing the parade route exit point, leaders met informally to discuss the tragic accident, Allen said. The festival completed its 41st annual event, and nothing other than a few scrapes or bruises has happened before, he said.

“It’s new ground for us,” Allen said of the accident.

Organizers estimate more than 125,000 guests attend the various events associated with Edmond’s Independence Day festival, which is produced by more than 500 volunteers. It is estimated that more than 50,000 spectators line the 1.5-mile parade route from the University of Central Oklahoma campus, through downtown and back toward UCO along East Second Street.

All parade entries are subject to the approval of the LibertyFest Parade Committee, according to the parade entry form. There were more than 100 entries for the 2013 parade, a number that has been fairly consistent the past few years, Allen said.

In addition to the committee, the parade also has support from a safety engineer and fire marshal, who reserve the right to inspect all towing packages, entries or floats for any fire or safety hazard.

Entries stage north of East Second Street off Baumann Street on the southeast side of the University of Central Oklahoma campus. They include bands, floats, marching groups, antique and classic cars, clowns, round-up clubs and Shriners.

The entry form covers issues including insurance requirements for vehicles and floats, prohibition of alcohol and drugs and a myriad of safety measures such as participant demeanor, restrictions on movement during the parade, a ban on cell phone use by operators of parade entries, helmet requirements and heat-related safety.

Festival organizers meet regularly throughout the year as they plan for the parade, Allen said. | 341-2121, ext. 108