SALEM, Va. (WFXR) — The rides are installed, the games are a go, and vendors and organizers are ready to take care of hundreds of thousands of people at the 34th annual Salem Fair, the largest fair in Virginia and the largest free gate fair in the U.S.
However, there will also be extra security protocols in order to keep the 2022 Salem Fair safe and enjoyable for all attendees, especially after the shooting that took place during opening night last year, leaving two people injured and a boy facing charges.
According to the director of the Salem Civic Center, Wendy Delano, what happened on June 30, 2021, cannot happen again.
“It’s so important to us that this fair stays a community tradition. People come here because they want to bring their families and their children,” Delano said. “It’s something that has gone on from generation to generation.”
Delano adds that keeping the Salem Fair safe for community members will help attendees to create more memories. In order to do this, organizers plan to ramp up security throughout the fairgrounds.
“We’ve got an outside security consultant we hired this year, as well. We’ve got the police involved, the city police, the State Police; Fire and EMS are on site,” Delano explained. “I mean, pretty much everything that you need to make sure that we’re going to have it handled appropriately and as safely as possible we’ve have in place.”
On top of that, Delano says they are continuing with safety measures that were put in place immediately after last year’s shooting, including the following:
- Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied at all times on the fairgrounds by a parent or guardian over the age of 25 who has a valid ID.
- Everyone will be subject to bag checks and electronic metal detection screening at gate entry.
“We do not want children or teens thinking they can run around willy-nilly,” added Delano.
Delano says fair organizers are not worried about this year’s event because there will be enough law enforcement on the fairgrounds to take care of any situation that arises.
Besides the safety measures, organizers say you should be prepared to see some new attractions at the Salem Fair, such as the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show, Scott’s World of Magic, and the Puppy Pals Stunt Show from “America’s Got Talent.”
According to organizers, the Salem Fair will be held on the grounds of the Salem Civic Center during the following hours, with gates closing at 10 p.m. each night:
- 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Wednesday, June 29 through Friday, July 1
- Noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday, July 2 and Sunday, July 3
- 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Monday, July 4 through Friday, July 8
- Noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday, July 9 and Sunday, July 10
To learn more about the 34th annual Salem Fair — including the 40-plus rides, the dozens of food options, the various shows — follow this link.