On fair brawl, Chautauqua Co. Sheriff: “It’s parenting 101”

200+ person brawl in Southern Tier has Erie Co. Fair organizers prepared for anything

Erie County Fair

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB)- Following a massive brawl at the Chautaqua County Fair over the weekend, Erie County Fair organizers told News 4 trouble makers won’t be welcome.

According to Chautauqua County officials, two 12-year-old girls started the brawl at the fair around 9 p.m. Saturday.

At one point, they said there were more than 200 teenagers involved.

Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace said because the teens refused to disperse, the fair was closed early for the night.

“It’s parenting 101. You don’t let kids go to the fair unsupervised at this age and that’s on the parents,” he told News 4.

With the Erie County Fair just more than a week away, law enforcement officials in Hamburg told News 4 while they can’t anticipate problems, they’re ready for anything.

“At any given time there would be 100 thousand people on the grounds here, so the potential for something like that to happen is always there,” said Hamburg Police Chief Greg Wickett.

Sheriff Gerace told News 4 several teenagers recorded Saturday’s brawl on their phones.

“We’ve come to that where it’s more important to post on Instagram or Facebook than it is to be a good citizen,” he said.

And it’s not the first time violence was captured on social media. In February, several people in their early 20s were arrested for participating in a brawl at the Walden-Galleria.

This summer, Italian Fest and Old Home Days were both affected by teenagers fighting or breaking the rules.

With more than a million people expected to attend this year, Erie County Fair organizations are using social media to their advantage.

They’re using an app called “Code Red.” You can download it to your smart phone, and if there’s any safety concern at the fairgrounds, you’ll be notified. That includes fights.

The fair will have dozens of security officers on the grounds at all times. Emergency Manager of the Fairgrounds, Tiger Schmittendorf said he’s not afraid to ask people to leave.

“Our message to anyone who is going to come the Erie County Fair for anything other than enjoying all the great things that we have to offer, you’re not going to be welcomed here,” Schmittendorf said.

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