The Annual Cops N’ Kids Picnic, which is always a popular activity every June, has been canceled because the grounds of Claiborne West Park are too saturated to accommodate vendors, equipment and vehicles. The event is expected to return in June of 2017. Photo by Tommy Mann Jr.

By Tommy Mann Jr. – For The Record

One of the most popular children’s events of summer has been canceled for 2016.

The 22nd Annual Cops N Kids Picnic, which was originally set to be held on Friday, June 10, at Claiborne West Park, has been canceled due to recent weather events which have left the park grounds too saturated.

“We were reviewing the park earlier (Tuesday) and the grounds are just too wet still,” said Orange County Sheriff Keith Merritt. “Without a doubt, we would do more damage than good with all of the equipment we have to bring in and the vendors and their equipment.”

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office sponsors the event every year, but, according to Merritt, this is the first time during his terms as Sheriff that he has been forced to cancel the event.

“We thought about rescheduling the event, but we contacted the weather service to see what the forecast is for the next couple of weeks and it doesn’t really look any better,” he added. “There’s a lot of rain in the forecast next week and some the week after.”

When asked about the option of another location, Merritt said it was temporarily considered.

“There really is no other location we could make plans to use in such a short time,” Merritt continued. “We will look at having a backup plan next year to consider an alternate location, but Claiborne West Park really suits our needs the best and is the best place to have this event every year.”

Merritt said safety of all guests, especially the children, was a big concern.

“The pond at the park is overflowing from all of the rain we’ve had, and that’s a concern,” Merritt explained. “Another problem is everything is so wet, that snakes and other wildlife are on the move. We just can’t take that chance.”

Merritt expects to bring the event back in 2017 and offer the public another fun event.