INDIANAPOLIS — A year ago, chaos broke out at the Marion County Fair.
According to IMPD, it started when police escorted three people away from the fairgrounds. They had each been arrested for various charges, including disorderly conduct, intimidation and criminal trespassing.
While they were being escorted, over a hundred people charged at the admission gate, forcing their way onto the fairgrounds. Police say several fights broke out, and shots were fired. In the aftermath, five people were arrested, and two people were hurt.
Now, by increasing security and tightening the rules, the Marion County Fair wants to ensure that never happens again.
“We’re working with a private security firm, we’ve installed metal detectors, we’ve eliminated a lot of traffic on the fairgrounds, to make it safe and secure,” said Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, one of the fair’s board members. “IMPD will have a presence at the fairgrounds as well.”
Fencing and lines have also been added to the entrance of the fairgrounds, to make it more secure.
“It’s sort of a mousetrap,” said Shabazz. “You have to work your way through it.”
In addition, anyone under the age of 18 cannot enter the fair without a parent or guardian present.
“We are not your babysitters,” said Shabazz. “What would happen before is that parents would stop by, they would drop off their kids and come back later, and leave the kids running around unsupervised.”
The end goal is to ensure that the Marion County Fair is safe, secure — and, most of all — fun for everyone.
“It won’t look like a police state or anything,” said Shabazz. “It’ll look like the regular fair, you’ll still be able to go on rides, see vendors, get food, the whole nine yards … but we will step up security, and hopefully, everyone will feel safe and come on out.”
This year’s Marion County Fair starts Friday and runs through July 4. For more information on the fair, click here.