N.C. State Fairgoers Can Expect Extra Security This Year
Posted September 20, 2001 2:05 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — The single largest event in the state of North Carolina will be impacted by terrorism. The show will go on at the North Carolina State Fair, but with a lot more security.
As chief of the State Fairgrounds Police, Matt Cleary has patrolled this North Carolina landmark for 10 years. From a law enforcement standpoint, he says this year's State Fair will be different.
"More of a presence of overall enforcement, more uniforms on the ground, they'll be moving around more instead of being stationary. There's going to be more mobility on the property," says Cleary.
Last year, 850,000 people attended the 10 days of the State Fair. With that many people in one place, everyone involved decided more security is a must this year.
"All these gates are going to be manned by Raleigh police and State Fair gatemen, so they know what to do and what to look for," says Cleary.
"We're going to be much more aggressively searching bags that people are bringing to the fair. That will include napsacks, may even include diaper bags -- any sort of carry bags that people have will be subject to search," says Mike Blanton of the N.C. Dept. of Agriculture.
Knives will have to be checked at the gate. The state is still trying to figure out how to handle a custom knife maker who is signed on for a booth at the fair.
Since it all started in 1853, only war, a flu outbreak and financial problems have forced the cancellation of the State Fair. The staff says they had no intention of letting terrorism stop this year's event.
Like so many other things, in these times, the North Carolina State Fair will carry on. It will require more police presence and a little more patience from the public.
This year's State Fair runs Oct. 12 - 21.