Safety changes coming to SEMO District Fair

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – Beginning September 10, Arena Park will host the 167th SEMO District Fair, but for the first time, fairgoers will have to pass through metal detectors before entering the fairgrounds.

Cape Girardeau Police Department Public Information Officer Cpl. Ryan Droege said that while the goal of the fair is to have fun, the top priority is keeping everyone safe.

“It’s just an extra layer of safety, of really checking everyone out and making sure no one is bringing in anything that they shouldn’t have,” he said. “The fair board has put out the ruling. There will be no weapons allowed. They’re wanting to enforce their rule and keep everyone as safe as possible.”  

Though those involved don’t necessarily expect a catastrophic event to happen, fair director Pete Poe said there is no harm in being prepared for the worst. 

“We do have an incident plan that will kick in if an incident does happen,” he said. “We have plenty of security on the grounds, both uniform and plain clothes. Cape Girardeau PD, County Sheriff’s Department, Highway Patrol, juvenile officers, they’re all involved.”

Access to the entrances will change, as well. Gate 7, the entrance by the tennis and pickleball courts, will only be open to vehicle traffic. Those who park in this area will have to walk to the entrance at East Rodney Drive and Hawthorne Road.

Droege said the fewer the number of entry and exit points, the easier the area is to secure.  

“A good security protocol that you can implement in a crowded location such as this is limiting the number of entrances and exits,” he said. “That helps funnel people into areas that we can better control and monitor. It just gives us a better handle on the situation.”

The fair will run through September 17. It will feature musical acts, agriculture shows, carnival rides, a demolition derby, and more.

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