Strawberry Festival in Holland kicks off with tightened security - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Strawberry Festival in Holland kicks off with tightened security

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The 76th Annual Strawberry Festival is underway in Holland right now, but there are a lot of changes when it comes to security.

As you might remember, last year, chaos broke out forcing police to end the festival early. This year, for the first time ever, guests will have to pay to get in.

The entry fee is $3, but it's just one small part of the revamp festival organizers have been working on all year.

In addition, there is fencing around that entire grounds to keep a better handle on the crowd. 

There will also be more than 15 police officers on location Friday and Saturday night, when crowds are at their largest.

Police worked with organizers to make the changes after someone set off a firework, sparking chaos last year.

"Even though it was a firework, people thought it was a gun,” says Strawberry festival guest Jamie Keller. “That just doesn't make people feel safe."

"If you don't make it safe for people, people don't want to come,” says organizer Gary Leasure. “We want you to come out here and enjoy. I want it real safe here for you. I want it to feel like you’re in your own home."

Four people have already been kicked out of the festival this week for misbehaving.

The Strawberry Festival opens Thursday at 4pm. Families are invited out to enjoy fresh-picked strawberries, shortcake and carnival rides.

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