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Security At Forefront Of State Fair Festivities

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RALEIGH — The 2001 North Carolina State Fair begins its 10-day run on Friday.

Last year, over 800,000 people passed through the gates of the State Fair -- the largest crowd ever. This year, as with any large event, security will be a big issue.

In years past, the biggest fear for many was gaining a few pounds or being talked into riding the Ferris wheel. This year, things are different.

"Safety and security are foremost on our minds especially, in light of the events of Sept. 11," says Mike Blanton of the N.C. Department of Agriculture.

Law enforcement will be increased, with 70 to 120 uniformed officers on the fairgrounds each day of the fair.There also will be an undisclosed number of plain clothes and undercover officers in the crowd.

"A lot of things are being done behind the scenes that will not be visible to the public," says Blanton.

Safety is everyone's job, and this year, some items will not make it past entrance gates. Large pocket knives, sheath knives and firearms are not allowed.

Blanton says that fairgoers can expect more aggressive searches of personal items like backpacks, fanny packs, book bags and diaper bags.


Dan Wilkinson, Reporter
Dan Wilkinson, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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