Sunday, July 27 2014 5:57 PM EDT2014-07-27 21:57:03 GMT
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Springfield Township is ready to amp up security for its 76th annual Strawberry Festival. Township leaders say after problems took over the festival in past years, they are now changing how they operate.
In preparation for an upcoming festival that's had a history of crime, Springfield Township leaders are ready to increase security. Festival organizers say there have been problems with rambunctious teens starting fights, and people getting dropped off to the fair drunk, even though no alcohol is allowed. Now there will be extra security measures in place.
"I'm excited that they really care, and that they are amped up if something were to happen. However, I really don't feel all the security is really necessary," said resident Crystal Burditt.
But festival organizers say past fights at the festival do make these measures necessary.
"We've had some problems in the past, and we want to make it a safe place for all the families and everyone to come out and enjoy the festival," said Gary Leasure, president of the Community Homecoming operation.
Those extra security measures include:
- A 6-foot fence with 12-foot panels around the perimeter of the festival, costing $2,750
- A paid entry gate costing $2-$3 to disperse any stray wanderers
- More deputies patrolling the area
"We will pick up on Wednesday and Thursday. We are going to add two to three, and then on Saturday and Sunday there will be around five or six more deputies brought on," said Leasure.
Deputies will be inside the festival and outside the fence making sure no one jumps over it. The additional security has made more work for the festival organizers.
"Putting the fence up this year has made it a little bit harder because we have never done that in the past so there was a lot of fence. So we had to get to set it up, and the great boys from the Springfield High School soccer team helped us do that," said Leasure.
Everything else is set to go including 20 rides ready for people to enjoy, and 80 flats of strawberries stocked. Parking is free and the festival is open until Sunday.
"We hope that things will run a lot smoother," said Leasure.
The money gained from the entrance fee and rides will be donated back to the community.