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A Message from Marla Calico - IAFE Statement on Security at Fairs

Tue, July 30, 2019 6:15 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

The tragic shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival is sad news for all of us. The festival was, at one time, a member of IAFE. We, along with our friends from the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) are sending prayers and sympathy to all involved. The volunteers and supporters will be hit especially hard by this senseless act of violence.

With permission, we are sharing the following from Steve Schmader, President & CEO of the IFEA:

It is with great sadness and sympathies that we let you all know of yesterday's mass shooting during the final day of the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California. At this time there are an estimated 12 people injured and 4 fatalities (including the suspect) after a gunman randomly opened fire on those attending the event. A second suspect is still being investigated. As has become unacceptably too common in our country and around the world, we send our deepest sympathies, prayers and support to all those affected - directly and indirectly - by this horrific incident, through friends, families and loved ones.

While no different in terms of the tragedy and loss, this scenario is the first at what we would categorize as a 'typical' small(er) town festival/celebration, that a large majority of our industry fits into. It is a category that we would all like to believe is a bit safer and at less risk than the potential larger target events, in bigger cities, with higher media focus surrounding them. It opens up many new and very real considerations that we must now work with our global risk management experts to re-examine and re-address, so that we may maintain the safe havens that we hope all of our events will be for our attendees, volunteers and all stakeholders.

We are in the midst of the peak of fair season, so it is even more critical that all members review emergency plans, security assessments and risk mitigation strategies. This news story from NBC highlights the vulnerabilities our fairs and events face. The new IAFE website, www.fairsandexpos.com, has resources in the library, as well as at www.fairsandexpos.com/event-security (under the MyIAFE tab), which provides invaluable resources from the US Department of Homeland Security.

The IAFE works closely with allied organizations such as the IFEA, IAAPA, IAVM, and OABA to learn and share information that is essential to all in the events sector and we will update our members as we identify resources that will help us all provide a safe environment for our guests.


Marla Calico
President & CEO
International Association of Fairs & Expositions

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