The Park District of Forest Park will attempt some new security measures to keep a lid on crowd control for its free “Fall Fest” happening all day Saturday, Sept. 7.
“We took some of the money left over from [cancelling] the fireworks, and we’ll be offering this free festival for the first time,” said parks director Larry Piekarz. Piekarz told the park board he met with Police Chief Jim Ryan and Fire Chief Steve Glinke to get suggestions about how to keep an orderly crowd after Forest Park cancelled both the Independence Day fireworks display in July and SummerFest in June.
Keeping control of a single entrance and exit point was a strategy suggested to the park district. Piekarz told the board orange plastic “snow fencing” would ring the perimeter of the park, with only one entrance and exit to the event.
A park bus will patrol the perimeter if older or disabled people require help getting to the entrance from their parking spots, Piekarz said.
Piekarz told the board Fall Fest was an experiment to see whether controlling the entrance and exit points of a public event could act as a crowd-calming device. He floated the idea of charging a suggested $3 donation for admission to the event, but the board was not enthused about this idea.