Local News

Chapel Hill Town Council Passes Resolution To End Street Fair

Posted April 24, 2006

— The Chapel Hill Town Council unanimously passed a resolution Monday night to permanently take the

Apple Chill Street Fair

off the town's city's events calendar one day after three people were shot following the event's ending.

Earlier Monday, Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy announced that he was going to ask the Council to pass the measure.

"The (Town) Council's first responsibility to the citizens is public safety," Foy said in a written news release issued Monday afternoon. "We cannot continue to be confident that Apple Chill can be conducted in a way that is safe for citizens. I want to end Apple Chill. Tonight, I will ask the Council to give our staff that directive. Yesterday was the last Apple Chill."

The 34-year-old family-oriented event features local and regional craftspeople and music on six stages.

About 235 officers were on hand for the event, which ended at 6 p.m., but they continued to patrol the street in anticipation of "After Chill," which has come together following Apple Chill. "After Chill" is not a town-sponsored event.

In previous years, police responded to fights and traffic problems, which started in 2003 when one man started waving a gun and police broke up at least a dozen fights. In 2004, two people were stabbed at a night club on Franklin Street, and in 2005, rumors of a gang war at the after-party prompted heavy police coverage.

Sunday's shooting occurred at about 8:40 p.m. at 110 W. Franklin St., near Caribou Coffee. Witnesses said they heard shots and that people started running from the scene of the shooting. Nearby businesses also shut down for the night as a result.

Authorities said that one shooting victim was shot in the chest and grazed on the head by a bullet. The other victim was shot in the back. Their injuries were not considered life-threatening.

A short time later, police found a third shooting victim in a vehicle on East Franklin Street, but officials have not said if it was related to the others.

It also was uncertain whether police had apprehended anyone in connection with any of the shootings.

"We had a public process to try and deal with Apple Chill-related issues in the past," Foy said. "It didn't work. We made adjustments; they didn't work. We had 230 officers, that's as much security as we can provide."

Police also reported multiple fights and assaults on officers. Eleven people were arrested, including two for carrying concealed weapons. Eighty-seven traffic citations were also issued, mostly for helmet and seatbelt violations.

"The crowd event, particularly after the festival vendors left the area, was tense and dangerous for visitors, public safety officials, and other employees working the event. We needed every one of the 235 officers," said Chapel Hill Police Chief Gregg Jarvies. "We will be critiquing the event's operational plan and will be forwarding the results of the critique and our recommendations for managing future events to the Town Manager."

Police presence at the town festival was greater than previous years, -- last year only 135 officers were on hand for the event. The only other city event with such a large number of police officers present was last year's Halloween celebration, which had more than 300 officers on duty.

Apple Chill has been nearly canceled in previous years because so many residents complained about traffic and security concerns. About 30,000 people attended the one-day festival.


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