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Dane County Fair shortens hours after fights in parking lot

Dane County Fair shortens hours after fights in parking lot

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The Dane County Fair moved up its closing time for its last two nights and mandated minors be accompanied by adults after multiple fights broke out in the fair’s parking lot Friday night, officials said.

The new closing time for the fair taking place at the Alliant Energy Center was set three and a half hours earlier than originally scheduled — at 7:30 p.m. instead of 11 p.m. — for Saturday and Sunday.

Dane County Sheriff’s spokesperson Elise Schaffer said deputies responded to multiple physical and verbal altercations between a crowd of minors gathered in the Alliant Center parking lot starting about 7 p.m. Friday. At 9:30 p.m., deputies and fair security began to break up a crowd of more than 50 people, Lt. Ira Simpson of the Sheriff’s Office said. Both city and town of Madison police were called in for assistance.

The fights resulted in no arrests and no serious injures, though a deputy was struck in the face, Schaffer said.

The fair, which opens its gates at 9 a.m., began Thursday and runs through Sunday.

Alliant Center spokesperson JT Cestkowski said the decision to change the fair hours and require those under 18 be accompanied by an adult came after consultation with the Sheriff’s Office and Alliant Center administrators.

“The Alliant Energy Center is taking appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the public,” Cestkowski said. “The Alliant Energy Center has been proud to host the fair and provide the community with a safe and secure venue.”

The fair, which was forced online last summer because of the pandemic, includes animal showings, a carnival, magic shows, parades, scavenger hunts and a wide array of food vendors.

The fair will wrap up Sunday with an all-day party on the main stage, featuring eating contests, live music and traditional Latino dance performances beginning at noon, Dane County Fair spokesperson Karen Endres said.


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