After challenges last year, Olmsted County Fair Board sees safety success
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – In 2021, the Olmsted County fair ended an hour and a half earlier than originally planned due to kids and teens harassing other fair goers and starting fights.
“I was nervous. If we were to have more issues again this year with all the steps we took working together, I don’t know what the next answer would have been,” Olmsted County Fair president Scott Schneider said.
“The company that operates the fair had even told us that unless things get under control, they weren’t willing to come back,” Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office Capt. James Schueller said.
So, the board started planning even earlier for this year’s fair, teaming up with the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office and the Rochester Police Department.
“We spent a lot of time looking at what we could do to make the nights better after dark and stop the people that were disruptive to the fair. We came up with a plan to work together in conjunction and try to change that behavior,” Schneider said.
Also new this year, the board recruited organizers with C.E.R.T. to patrol and work the gates.
“They really proved their worth pretty quickly to law enforcement and to fair goers I think,” Capt. Schueller said.
“Just a huge success. They worked hard. They did great. Today, they’re going to stop by and get their paychecks,” Schneider said.
Organizers say the collaboration was a success with no arrests or warrants.
“Every morning we’d come in and get that report and say when there’s nothing to report, that’s the best case scenario we could hope for. It was a nice change from last year to say the least,” Capt. Schueller said.
The board also raised $2,000 in donations that public safety team members could use to buy kids food to reward their good behavior.
“They give them a voucher to buy something and try to create a relationship and make the kids feel welcome here,” Schneider said.
The fair board and public safety team say they are glad to see fair goers had a fun and safe time.
“The number one goal was the safety of everyone there. We wanted it to be a safe event,” Capt. Schueller said.
This was also a record-breaking year for number of attendees. More than 200,000 people stopped by the fair this year.
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