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Security measures at this year's North Florida Fair

Posted at 5:48 PM, Nov 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-05 17:48:28-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — As we head into another busy weekend in Leon County, thousands are expected to be in attendance at the North Florida Fair.

Organizers says safety is at the top of their mind.
The Manager of the North Florida Fair said the security team is fully staffed and all their bases are covered to ensure people are safe and have a good time.

"I just want them to come out and have a good time and a good safe time. Have a really enjoyable time with their family," said Mark Harvey.

Manager of the North Florida Fair Mark Harvey is hoping to see 130,000 people this year, which is slightly higher than the record attendance they saw last year of 126,000.

Even with the influx of people, Harvey says his team is fully staffed and ready for anything. "We have guards at all the entry gates. We have multiple levels of security. I hire local police officers, local law enforcement officers, to come patrol the grounds, as well as our own private security staff."

Eric Patterson is one of the security staff at the fairgrounds. He checks everyone and their vehicles that are coming through the entry gates.
Having worked concerts and other large gatherings before, Patterson is familiar with what to look for.

"We just stay here and we make sure that all the vendor stuff is safe. Make sure that we don't have anybody coming in the gates that's not permitted or not allowed to. Just to keep all patrons and all concession people safe here at the fair," says Patterson.

Willie Mitchell is the owner of up all night security services - a private security firm. This is their second year working at the fairgrounds.

He said his security officers are patrolling the grounds to ensure everyone's safety. "We're looking out for any kind of you know disturbances, any kind of you know someone may be sneaking in the fair, hasn't paid, things like that."

Along with patrolling the grounds, Mitchell said they're also prepared to help children who have been separated from their parents. "We're looking out for that you know we get lost kids we take them to the information booth, get in touch with their parents so they can get reunited, and everything keeps going."

Harvey encourages people to be aware of their surroundings and tell any security member if they see something suspicious. "Lots of officers, both private security as well as law enforcement officers that are walking around. All they have to do is say something to them, they'll get on the radio, and we handle it quickly."

Harvey is happy to add that there were no incidents on the grounds last year and he's hoping for the same outcome again this year.