SALEM, Va. (WFXR) — The 2021 Salem Fair has come to an end Sunday night, less than two weeks after organizers decided to keep the fair open after a shooting injured two people on opening night.
WFXR News’ Breana Albizu and Kelsey Jean-Baptiste were the first ones on the scene when shots were fired at the fair on June 30.
Then, on Sunday, July 11, WFXR News’ Amanda Lee stopped by to review what changes were made by organizers during this year’s event and what they are anticipating for next year.
Salem Fair Manager, Carey Harveycutter says while they haven’t counted the fair’s overall attendance yet, they’re expecting this year’s crowd to be smaller than in 2019. However, he says fairgoers did spend more money.
“People have disposable income, it’s the first big event of the summer. They have an opportunity to spend some money,” said Harveycutter.
When it comes to changes, the biggest ones came after the shooting that left two people injured on opening day, June 30.
Tybee Stinnett attended the fair a few times, saying, “It wasn’t a shock to me and I wish the gun violence would just stop.”
Since the shooting, fair organizers tightened up on security and police presence.
“We have metal detectors at all the gates to enter. They’re here from the time we open to the time we close. We’re no longer letting anybody in after 10 o’clock,” said Harveycutter.
In addition, kids age 17 and under needed to be accompanied by an adult 25 or older with a valid ID.
“It’s really amazing to be back up here and get the kids out again…They started new procedures by winding everybody, checking bags,” said a fairgoer, Rusty Wilhelm, from Salem. “Things like that are going to happen no matter where you are.”
Harveycutter says organizers will meet over the next few weeks to decide on whether or not they’ll keep the changes for next year’s fair. Not all changes will be focused on security, though.
“We’ll probably have one or two new rides next year. Carnivals couldn’t buy a lot of new rides this year, because they didn’t work last year,” added Harveycutter.
Compared to last year, those who attended say they were glad to be back out and are looking forward to more fun at the Salem Fair in 2022.
Police do have a suspect in custody from the Salem Fair shooting. The boy, whose name has not been released, is facing several charges.
WFXR News contacted the Salem Police Department on Sunday, July 11, but an officer said they are not releasing any new updates.
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