LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky State Fair officials said Monday they are making changes beginning Wednesday, to keep the family-friendly event safe.
The changes come after Saturday’s chaotic moments when, police said, teens caused panic with firecrackers, and someone saying a shot was fired.
It moved Fair officials to meet with police and implement new procedures to reassure families that safety at the annual event is a top priority.
Starting Wednesday, fairgoers under 18 entering after 6 p.m. must be accompanied by a parent or guardian 21 years of age or older, and that guardian must show an ID at the gate. Organizers also are adding increased lighting and law enforcement during peak hours.
“I thought that was horrible,” fairgoer Cheryl Lamm said of Saturday night’s incident. “That was scary.”
Multiple videos of the incident surfaced after police said the teens with firecrackers started the chaos, and false reports were made about an active shooter.
Some in the crowd told WAVE 3 News that police told them to get down. Many people complained about the rowdy teen crowd, while others didn’t like the police reaction. Some teens and adults were cited. Others, like 18-year-old Joshua Probus, were arrested, accused of fighting in the crowd of several hundred people, and resisting arrest.
“It was an embarrassment to our community, plain and simple,” fairgoer Mike Lamm said.
Kentucky Venues President and CEO David Beck agreed, saying he won’t have it.
“I tell you, if something’s not safe, we will shut it down,” Beck said. “If we have an incident or we think there’s something we won’t be able to manage, we will close the gates.”
Beck said his family has been involved in the fair for 40 years. The new supervision rules for teens are welcomed, but some fairgoers said there’s only so much fair officials can do.
“In today’s society, there’s nothing 100 percent fool-proof to keep that from happening,” Mike Lamm said. “But the fair’s doing everything they can.”
Mom Michelle Proctor said she understands kids are going to do things they shouldn’t sometimes, but she thinks parents also played a part by allowing kids to run around without supervision.
Police said of the seven teens cited in the incident Saturday, none had parental supervision. Proctor said she felt safe after noticing a police presence on the property Monday.
“Everywhere we’ve gone, we’ve seen police officers,” she said.