Officials Using Tighter Security for Fairs - WSET.com - ABC13

Officials Using Tighter Security for Fairs

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Reporter: David Tate

Salem, VA - Less than two weeks to go and the 25th annual Salem Fair will be underway. Virginia's largest free fair is celebrating its silver anniversary.

Ever since massive brawling broke out at a Roanoke fair last month, security is on a lot of people's minds. The fight at Roanoke's Drew Expo was one of roughly 30 brawls involving more than 400 people that plagued that fair this year.

"You are always concerned when something happens someplace else in close proximity," said Carey Harveycutter, director of facilities.

As Harveycutter takes on the Roanoke Valley Horse Show, the fair isn't far from his mind. In all, he guesses he will spend more than $70,000 to ensure what happened in Roanoke won't happen in Salem.

"It's how you react to them and how you plan them. We have a fully fenced lot, there are only three entrances through which you can come onto our grounds, so there's going to police or security of some sort that is going to see everyone who comes in here," said Haverycutter.

Even though that would be a record investment, Harveycutter says it is not because of what happened in Roanoke but more an evolving reaction to an evolving public.

"You gotta hit it when you see it. If you've got problems then you get in the middle of it and take care of it. Our police have a no tolerance policy. You get into a fight you will be removed," he said.

The Roanoke Civic Center is considering changes to the Drew Expo security issue, which ranges from ideas to surround the fair with a fence to canceling the fair all together.

In all, the promoter paid $4,200 for security. Police officials say there will be a demand to the promoter for increased security if the Drew Expo is planning to return.

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