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Tuesday, October 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Spokane fair won’t add metal detectors, bag searches, as state fair will do

UPDATED: Tue., Aug. 27, 2019, 8:47 p.m.

Fairgoers walk along one of the main stretches of the ride area during the Spokane County Interstate Fair's last night on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. Libby Kamrowski/ THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
Fairgoers walk along one of the main stretches of the ride area during the Spokane County Interstate Fair's last night on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. Libby Kamrowski/ THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)

The Spokane County Interstate Fair won’t increase security measures to the same level as the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, but there will be some additional law enforcement presence, officials said.

The Puyallup Herald reported Tuesday that the state fair, which about 1 million people attend over 20 days, will have metal detectors and mandatory bag checks for the first time when it starts this weekend.

Spokane’s fair director Erin Gurtel said officials are talking about introducing similar measures down the road but that security will remain the same for now, apart from additional sheriff’s deputies on patrol.

A team trained in active shooter response will be on site. Although they won’t be patrolling, Washington State Patrol and Spokane police will have booths at the fair.

The event, which sold almost 206,000 tickets last year over 10 days, has ticketed entrances where private security workers sometimes perform random bag checks, Gurtel said.

Unlike the state fair, guns and knives aren’t restricted at the Spokane fair, though skateboards, bikes and animals are. Alcoholic beverages aren’t allowed outside the beer gardens.

Gurtel said people at a booth reserved by 51st state supporters have been informed of the rules for operating and that she does not anticipate any problems. If there is a conflict, she said she is confident security will be able to de-escalate it.

Notable changes outside security include paid parking for $5 throughout the fairgrounds and a high dive show in which performers will jump into 10 feet of water from a 90-foot platform.

Gurtel said she is also excited about performances from Trace Adkins and Foreigner.

“We’re always looking to enhance the fairgoers’ experience,” she said. “We’re just looking forward to a great fair.”

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