Vistors weigh in on safety concerns at Salem Fair


Safety is a big topic of discussion Friday following an altercation at the Salem Fair Thursday night.

Police responded to a fight at the fire and video of the incident was posted to social media. Many people claim they heard gunfire, but police say no shots were fired and that it was simply fireworks.

A spokesperson from the city said he didn’t want to give an interview about this topic but he did say they have a diverse approach to security that they don’t want to reveal.

While some people are concerned after Thursday night’s incident others say it’s no big deal and it didn’t keep them from coming today.

“One time I did see pretty much a big brawl. You know people scrambling, getting out of the way, pulling kids away,” said Craig Harris.

Harris says he noticed fights the first time he went to the Salem Faire about 10 years ago. And the next year he says he saw people harassing the police.

“After what I saw, when the police have no control when the crowd is taunting them. What chance do I stand? So I don’t go back.”

Harris says he wasn’t surprised when he heard what happened Thursday.

“Personally, I believe that there probably were gunshots and I would imagine that the police and the fair want to keep that under wraps. The fair just opened, if you expect to get 350,000 people here, fights and gunshots don’t really encourage the crowd,” said Harris.

Despite rumors that quickly spread on social media, a spokesperson for the city says no shots were fired, and only one juvenile was charged for fighting.

“It’s just little kids, they probably don’t know any better, they’re immature,” said fairgoer Alexis Brinkley.

For others like Brinkley, the commotion wasn’t enough to keep them away from fair Friday.

“It wouldn’t scare me from coming back because I’m here today. I still want to enjoy the outing, the scenery, get on rides and enjoy the good foods,” Brinkley said.

Brinkley says she’s gone to the fair every year since she was little. And she’s comfortable knowing the police are patrolling.

“People should come out and have a good time regardless of what happened because the police are here to help us and make us feel safe,” Brinkley said.

There was a police presence Friday that many fairgoers said they found comforting.

The Salem Fair is free to get in and bags aren’t checked at the gate. At the Virginia State Fair in Doswell, just outside of Richmond. Weapons are prohibited and they have the ability to do personal and bag checks at the ticket gates.

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