Dogwood Festival organizers, police to keep eye on weather, crowds

Thousands of people are expected to attend, but severe weather could end up putting them in harm's way.
April 24, 2014 8:31:46 PM PDT
The forecast is threatening to put a damper on Fayetteville's Dogwood Festival which begins Friday in Festival Park.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend, but severe weather could end up putting them in harm's way, and festival officials say they have a severe weather plan to keep those attending the festival safe.

As workers put up tables and tents, everyone was talking about the weather forecast.

"If there is just rain, no thunder and lightning, we will go on as planned," said Carrie King, with the Dogwood Festival.

King said if there is a severe weather threat, they'll sound the warning to take shelter through a public address system, text messages, and social media.

"We will work with city emergency, fire and police, and, whatever they tell us, we will absolutely abide by," said King.

Again this year, there will be a large police presence, including 10 surveillance cameras, to help keep the peace.

"We are always worried about the number of people that show up, and making sure that everyone has a good time --  enjoys themselves," said Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock.

Last year, police restricted gang member's access to the festival. This year, however, they are not, but Medlock says that is no invitation for trouble.

"We believe we can secure the event this year, with folks acting appropriately no matter who they are affiliated with," said Medlock. "Whether they are a gang member or a church member, everybody should be doing the right thing this weekend."

The big attraction Friday night will be the Marshall Tucker concert. The band hits the stage around 9 p.m. Festival organizers hope any threat of bad weather will be long gone by then.


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