Raucous crowds form after fair closes early

Fights spark up after fair closes early due to max capacity


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Crowds of frustrated people gathered outside the Jacksonville Fair Saturday night after it did something it's never done before -- closing early after reaching max capacity. Officials with the fair said safety would have been at risk for people inside if any more guests were allowed to enter.

Gayle Hart, with the Jacksonville Fair, said last night’s crowd was the biggest they have ever seen, and at around 10 p.m., an hour before the fair would have closed, they made the decision to close early.

“(We) always have huge crowds, but last night, capacity was in a concentrated area at the carnival,” Hart said. “It's all about safety.”

Congestion from large crowds wasn’t the fair’s only issue.

Outside, after the fair closed, people became rowdy. Numerous videos of fights outside the fair were posted to social media sites.

Hart said she didn't have knowledge of the fights, but said their goal is to keep the fair a safe place for families.

“Like anything else, when you think you're going somewhere and you don't get in, there were some people that were aggravated,” Hart said. “But those people came later in the day, and all I can say is (if) you come earlier, then you can enjoy the fair better.”

Hart said the weather may have played a role in the larger-than-anticipated crowds.

“I have to give weather credit,” Hart said. “We've had some beautiful weather, and yesterday we had beautiful weather. I think that's one reason we had so many people here because the weather was amazing and after the game we let people with a game ticket walk through.”

The fair reopened Sunday morning at 10 a.m. and will close at 10 pm.

If you're trying to avoid the crowds Hart said Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are great days to come. On Tuesday, the fair has a $10 wristband special, so it's a good day to come with your family and save money.

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