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CoCo County Fair opens with new chaperone requirements for minors

Contra Costa county fair opens with chaperone requirements
Contra Costa county fair opens with chaperone requirements 02:42

ANTIOCH -- In a sign that summer is near, one of the first county fairs of the season is up and running in the East Bay.

The Contra Costa County Fair is back open for its 88th year. While it has all the traditional activities, one thing is different: A new policy to make sure anyone under 18 has a chaperone.

This policy was put into place last year on the last day of the fair after several fights broke out. The fair board made it official in the off season to continue enforcing the policy for all four days of the event. Any attendee 18 or under must be accompanied by a chaperone who's at least 25 years old.

Bethany Collins is a chaperone. She brought her 12-year-old son and a couple of his friends and says it's nothing like it was last year.

"We were here last year and there were a lot of fights and it got kind of sketchy towards the night so I didn't really feel safe," Collins said.

Collins recalled seeing one of those fights.

"We were over in the smaller kid area and I don't know what happened but it was a big swarm of people and they were knocking over the railing and the ride," she said.

Joe Brengle is the CEO of the Contra Costa County Fair. Brengle says the fair isn't seeing the large after-school crowd but something had to be done to keep this fair an enjoyable experience for everyone.

"We were seeing a lot of teenagers basically just getting dropped off and had nothing to do but cause some problems so we wanted it to feel safe for everybody coming to the fair," he said.

The chaperone policy is getting mixed reviews among the teens at the fair.

"I feel like the fair is a place where kids go to have fun away from their parents and I feel that the chaperone policy kind of takes away from that, you know?" Jaimison Krause said.

"I think it's a good way of protecting everyone in the park," Danny Allan said. "I feel like we've had a lot of dangerous incidents at the park so, now that we have this new rule, it's going to keep it safer and more fun for everyone else."

Most of the families love the new policy and hope it's here to stay. Collins says she's been impressed with how the staff is enforcing the policy.

"We've actually been stopped a couple of times by security just making sure those kids are with me just to make sure everything's good," she said.

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