PASO ROBLES, Calif. – Visitors attending the California Mid-State Fair may want to arrive a few minutes earlier to this year’s fair. On Wednesday, fair goers were greeted with new enhanced security screening at all entrances.
“The fair has, for many years, provided a search of handbags or any item that might carry any other items in it,” said California Mid-State Fair CEO Michael Bradley. “What we did this year is we added a wanding system, which are really just metal detectors to determine if there is any metal items that they’re carrying.”
Bradley notes the added security now puts the fair inline with other similar events around the state and country.
“We’re using the same equipment, for example, that the San Diego County Fair uses, the LA County Fair, the Ohio State Fair, the State Fair of Texas, so it’s well used in the marketplace,” said Bradley.
Yellow-shirted security guards quickly meet visitors upon walking through the gates. Bradley emphasizes security has been well trained with procedures in dealing with the new safety measures.
“They’re trained on the site,” said Bradley. “They’re trained at the location where they’ll be actually staffing and we re-train as we go along. We check each day, make sure that things are going well, make adjustments that are necessary.”
Bradley said there were no major issues to report regarding security on Wednesday’s opening day.
“Went extremely well,” said Bradley. “Day one went great, it really did. I think people are expecting this no matter where they go.”
Fair goers coming into any of the Event Center’s three public gates can expect security officials to use hand wands to search for weapons, such as all pocket knives, which are prohibited.
“When you go on an airplane, you know what you can take on and what you can’t, so the same thing applies here, so if you keep that mind, everything will be great,” said Bradley.
The ban on pocket knives caused a little bit of frustration for at least one fair goer on Thursday.
“I just didn’t know about it and I didn’t think about it,” said Nick Greco, visiting from Sacramento. “It’s a pocket knife that I carry everyday.”
After security discovered Greco’s small pocket knife, he was allowed to keep it, but needed to take it back it his truck.
“I just wish I would have known so I wouldn’t have wasted my time, walk all the way down here, walk all the back and walk all the way back down,” said Greco.
Most visitors on Thursday approved of the added security and felt it was simply a sign of the times.
“It makes me sad that our little town of Paso Robles has to have a security check,” said Paso Robles resident Kathy Blythe. “I get it, I understand it, and I appreciate it, and understand the reason why.”
Scott Minor of Arroyo Grande brought his family to the fair on Thursday and says he didn’t mind the added time to get through the gate.
“I feel safe for my family being here,” said Minor. “I’m glad they’re taking a little extra time to do. It might be a little bit of delay, but it’s good.”
Everyone who comes through the gate is subject to security, no matter who they are, or what they’re doing at the fair. That includes visitors, employees, vendors, entertainers, management, etc. If someone leaves and wishes to come back, they’ll have to go through the screening process again.
The California Mid-State Fair runs July 20-31.
For more information, visit www.midstatefair.com