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Weekend Guests At Six Flags Great America Say Crowds, Closed Rides, Huge Fight Involving 20 People Ruined Their Experience

GURNEE, Ill. (CBS) -- Crowds and chaos – that is how many people described their visit to Six Flags Great America as it reopened to full capacity this weekend.

Many were unhappy with what they said were long lines, a lack of staff, and a fight involving more than a dozen young people.

As CBS2's Meredith Barack reported, no one was hurt during the fight. But it did lead to several young people being taken into custody.

It also caused many visitors to express their displeasure as the park reopened this past weekend.

"Six Flags is a place where you bring your family and you go to have good time and relax," said Gurnee police Detective Shawn Gaylor.

But for some visitors on Sunday, it was anything but relaxing.

A Facebook post from the Lake and McHenry County Scanner page garnered more than 1,000 comments. Many people were unhappy with the crowds, long lines, a lack of staff, closed rides, and the fighting.

One woman said lines were so long it took three hours to ride three rides - with the park severely understaffed.

On top of that, another woman said half the rides were closed.

Gurnee Mayor Thomas Hood said when you put tens of thousands of people together - especially post-pandemic - things like that are bound to happen.

"It was busy though, and I think for all of us to adjust, because I haven't been accustomed to being around that many people myself," Hood said.

Many were concerned about safety following a large fight.

Police radio transmissions reported on social media that a brawl broke out near the front gates and near the Superman Ultimate Flight coaster, between about 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Sunday night.

"They realized that there was a group of about 20 people actively fighting," Gaylor said.

Officers broke up the fight, and Detective Gaylor said because Gurnee police are assigned to the park daily, they we're able to respond quickly before anyone was hurt.

They did take several minors into custody, but are still looking into what caused the fight and who is responsible.

There were other fights in addition, officials said. The Lake County Sherriff's Office gave this statement to CBS 2:

Our office responded to Gurnee's request for assistance due to multiple fights breaking out in Six Flags both inside and in the parking lot. There were reports of large 10-20 person fights occurring.

Our agency worked with Six Flags security and Gurnee PD to help disperse fights and escort agitators out of the park. Gurnee PD made numerous arrests as physical altercations continued to pop up around the park.

In the meantime, Gaylor has a message for future visitors.

"If you're going to have your children at the park, make sure that they're chaperoned and then act accordingly so that everybody can get along and enjoy their time at Six Flags," she said. "We're there to be a part of the community and we're there to protect the grounds of Six Flags, and to be a part of that experience in a positive way.

The theme park issued a statement on the incident:

The safety of our guests is always our highest priority and we have zero tolerance for any unlawful behavior. This was an isolated incident and Gurnee police, along with our own public safety officers, responded promptly. We continually adjust our security measures to maintain guest safety and well-being.

Beyond that statement, a representative for Six Flags woulddn't comment on any of the issues about which guests were upset.

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