South Florida Garlic festival tightens security ahead of event next year to prevent repeat of Gilroy shooting
The food festival that will be celebrating its 21st anniversary in February next year has hired additional security to make sure nothing untoward takes place at the festival.
LAKE WORTH BEACH, FLORIDA: The South Florida Garlic Fest is working towards creating a safe haven for its garlic enthusiasts. Recently, the Gilroy Garlic Festival was struck with a tragedy after a 19-year-old gunman conducted a mass shooting that left three dead and a dozen injured.
The food festival, that will be celebrating its 21st anniversary in February next year has hired additional security to make sure nothing untoward takes place at the festival. "Security should always be the #1 priority of any festival producer," Nancy Stewart-Franczak, CFEE, Festival Management Group who is working on the award-winning festival told MEA World Wide.
"In addition to our local Palm Beach Sheriff’s Department Officers, we also hire a team of highly skilled and certified private security personnel," she said. Stewart-Franczak also added that they had already increased the security of all of their events prior to this tragedy and continue to re-evaluate each year. "All entrances/exits and the perimeters of our events have been our main focus and we have strict enforcement to prohibit guns, knives, backpacks and the like in the festival," she said.
Like the Gilroy Festival, South Florida Garlic Fest also uses baggage checks and wanding at places of entry. "In addition, we have staff that is FEMA certified by U.S. Department of Homeland Security and we implemented an Incident Command System three years ago (Standardized command, control & coordination emergency response crisis plan)," she said. She added that they also ask the staff, volunteers and patrons to stay vigilant and report any suspicious activities immediately to staff, LEO, and or security.
On Sunday evening, a gunman identified as Santino William Legan, had slipped into the festival in Gilroy's Christmas Hill Park in California after cutting through the fence, Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee had said. Legan had then begun shooting at random killing a 6-year-old boy, a 13-year-old girl, and a 25-year-old college graduate. He also wounded many at the Park, many of whom were shot in their limbs. A second person was also a suspect in the shootings, however, the police have not determined his existence or his role. Legan was killed by the police officers in the shootout that followed.
Authorities continue to seek tips from the public as the investigation progresses.