Security policies issued for 2017 Heart O' Texas Fair & Rodeo

Channel 6 News Reporter Jasmin Caldwell reports.

WACO - This weekend, thousands of fairgoers will attend the Heart O' Texas Fair and Rodeo in Waco, causing some to question how tight security will be in light of the Las Vegas shooting.

Security policies were issued Monday afternoon to ensure a safe and fun experience for all those in attendance, according to a statement released by the Extraco Events Center in Waco. 

The event staff will work closely with the Waco Police Department and police departments from surrounding areas, the McLennan County Sheriff's Office, and local fire departments to plan the security measures for the festival.

“Enhanced security procedures are becoming more common at events across the country. The safety of each guest who enters the Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo is our top priority,” stated President/Chief Executive Officer Wes Allison. “We have a comprehensive security plan to enhance the safety of our fans, rodeo contestants, artists, livestock exhibitors, vendors and employees on our grounds.” 

The Waco Police said that Central Texas' past will help with its future.
 
"Any time you have an event like what happened in Las Vegas, it always heightens our sense of security," Waco Police Officer Patrick Swanton said. "We are fortunate in the Waco area, because having President Bush live here for so many years we got pretty good at being able to conduct high risk events, and high risk operations."

All fairgoers entering the festival will be subject to a metal detection wand and bag check to ensure the safety of those attending the 2017 Heart O' Texas Fair & Rodeo. Guns, knives, swords, scissors, and other sharp metal objects will not be allowed. 

However, pocket knives will be permitted if the length of the blade and handle combined does not exceed the length of the carrier's hand measured from the tip of the middle finger to heel of the hand. 

No liquids -- alcoholic or non-alcoholic -- will be allowed into the venue besides baby formula or items deemed necessary by security at the gate, the release proclaimed. 

“Our main goal is to ensure our guests have an enjoyable time while here and return home safely,” Allison said. 

Wade Bowen, Kyle Park, Zane Williams, Michael Ray, and the Josh Abbott Band are all expected to perform during the 10-day event.

The Josh Abbott Band was also one of the musical acts who performed at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas. The band is scheduled to perform at the Heart O' Texas Fair & Rodeo after first playing in College Station later this week.  

About 200,000 people are expected to come to this year's fair. Police, firefighters, and EMT's will be present in the crowd, and plain-clothed security officers will also be blending in.

The Heart O' Texas Fair & Rodeo will celebrate its 65th Anniversary in 2017. The fair will be held from Oct. 5 to Oct. 14 at the Extraco Events Center in Waco.

For more information about the 2017 Heart O' Texas Fair & Rodeo, click here.

© 2017 KCEN-TV


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