On Friday, the ride area of the International Rice Festival was closed because of incidents involving juveniles, police say.
In a statement released Friday evening, Crowley Chief of Police Jimmy Broussard stated that while they do not like having to end festival fun, safety must come first.
They say the cause of the closure of the ride area was because of a "chaotic situation" where fighting escalated where it became an extreme safety issue for bystanders and officers.
"It is never an easy decision to affect the enjoyment of others at a gathering like a festival when there are so many visitors. But safety must always be the paramount focus."
Officers from other agencies were involved in the fighting control he adds. After the fight escalated, the decision was made to dispersed crowds from the ride area.
"Incidents happened Friday night involving a number of juveniles that was causing a chaotic situation in the ride area of the International Rice Festival. Officers from not only our department but other neighboring agencies assisting us were attempting to control the situation but the fighting escalated to a point where it became an extreme safety issue for other bystanders as well as officers and amusement personnel. The decision was made at that point to close the ride area early to disperse the crowds," Broussard added.
The chief says that he hopes the festival can continue as normal with a more family oriented atmosphere on Saturday.
"It is never an easy decision, especially in this case when it is one of the first festivals since Covid and many people were looking forward to some semblance of normalcy. I agonized over the decision, but in the end, the safety of everyone gathered was my first and paramount priority. The people visiting our fair city and their safety is my responsibility as Chief. It is my hope that we may resume in a more family oriented atmosphere on Saturday so we may all enjoy one of the first festivals of the year," he said.
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