WOODLAND (CBS13) — For the first time ever, organizers at the Yolo County Fair are investing thousands of dollars in extra security.
They’ve had this plan in the works for months, but after the mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival last month, the need became so much more urgent.
Fair organizers want people to know this is the same fun, family event they’ve been coming to for decades. The first new thing you’re going to notice is potentially longer lines at the entrance because officers are using metal detectors and checking people’s bags before they go in.
Yolo County Fair organizers said times are different now and security is a bigger priority than its ever been.
“What you can do is put in the best presence and if something happens you’ve got it covered,” said Fair CEO Bart Vannucci.
Vannucci said he’s investing more than $18,000 in extra officers this year. In years past he’d hire just five, but this year that number will more than quadruple to 25.
“It’s going to take a little bit to get through lines. We’ve never had to do that before, but kind of concerning where we are at right now, that’s where we are at. That’s the world today,” he said.
Kelly Hutchings has been selling toys at the Yolo County fair for almost a decade. She takes the threat of an attack seriously but won’t let it hold her back.
“I’m a little nervous. But it’s like, what are you going to do? I’m not going to hide,” Hutchings said.
Many appreciate the bigger presence, this year California highway patrol won the bid.
“Having more security can never hurt. It’s a good thing to check people you never know,” said vendor Jesus Gonzalez.
In addition to more officers inside the fair, there will be capital police on horses and bike patrols. Instead of multiple entryways, there are now only two, making it easier for security to keep track of people.
Vannucci wants people to see all this and feel at ease.
“Our whole idea is come in feel comfortable just like any year you’ve always been to the fair. There are people who have been coming to the fair for 60 years,” he said.