Large crowd, tensions run high during Kentucky Kingdom free pass giveaway

Crowd overwhelms Kentucky Kingdom season pass giveaway

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Thousands showed up, but only a few hundred passes were given away. A local company had good intentions when they decided to give out free passes to Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay, but the outcome of the day left a lot of people angry.

The giveaway was started in response to Louisville Metro Parks’ closing their pools because of budget issues.

Monday, people waited for hours on West Broadway after The Mardrian Group construction company offered the passes as a way to give back. They shut down the giveaway around 4 p.m. Monday, after several people in the crowd were not following directions and were yelling and cursing at each other.

"Big commotion, it's not organized," Monique Verner said.

The first person in line came out at 7 a.m. Monday. Melissa Richardson was second.

"I don't want to lose my place in line," Richardson said.

“It’s pitiful,” 10-year-old Juleon Carney said. “You got kids out here and stuff. Parents don’t want their kids and stuff to imagine this stuff.”

Many in line were angry because others were cutting the line. Police set up tape to control the crowd. WAVE 3 News saw one person being taken away on a stretcher to an ambulance.

Once the doors opened at 1 p.m., people who had been waiting in line were given pieces of paper instructing them to pick up their passes by June 29.

Several people left disappointed that they didn’t get one.

Throughout the day, WAVE 3 News witnessed several people almost get into fights, argue and curse at each other. There were many people illegally parked and several nearby businesses impacted by the excess of people.

Evon Smith is the CEO of One West, which is next door. She said she didn’t know about the giveaway until she got to work Monday morning and saw people waiting outside.

“Granted, there was quite a bit of folks that showed up -- probably much more than they expected -- but the original intent was nothing but graciousness,” Smith said.

There were some logistics to work out to keep her business open amidst the chaos, like parking and getting employees in and out of the building. She even tried helping organizers control the situation.

“There was a lot of beautiful intent behind the whole initiative,” Smith said. “There were just a number of people leaning in to help this initiative once we found out this was happening.”

Lucretia’s Kitchen donated five cases of water.

At the request of WAVE 3 News, Louisville Metro Police were contacted via MetroSafe in regards to the growing tensions and excessive amount of people.

WAVE 3 News also learned no restrooms were available to those standing in line, which wrapped around the building and down Dr. WJ Hodge Street.

TMG was asked on scene how they were going to handle the excess of people and just said they would take care of it. They refused to answer any other questions.

Radio station WOLU promoted the giveaway on air throughout the weekend.

“Sometimes it gets a little twisted in terms of how it ends up, but I really know that organization was trying to address the need in the community so I salute them for their efforts,” Bill Price, of WOLU, said.

Right before the doors opened to sign up for passes, WAVE 3 News witnessed several people yelling at each other.

Parents in line complained there was no crowd control, no communication and no restrooms.

“They told us to stand along the line and everything would be fine,” Tamera Sanderson said. “We got here and soon as we were standing here around 12 o clock, most of the people who pulled up in their cars pulled right to the front. They allowed people to cut in line. They gave (passes) out to only the people standing up in front instead of doing what was right.”

Many people were in line for four to six hours before the giveaway began at 1 p.m. An hour later, LMPD officers began informing people further down the line that they would not be receiving any passes.

“We’ve been sitting here three hours and nobody ever came back to tell us we need wristbands or nothing,” Ceandra Logan said. “Everything went wrong.”

Many raised the concern the children with passes would be dropped off at the park unsupervised. In response to those concerns, a Kentucky Kingdom spokesman said in part:

“We do not have a specific policy on requiring supervision. We just have the expectation that all of our guests follow park rules and instructions from our staff. All of our policies can be found on our policies and services page on the website.. This is a program that TMG decided to do. They’re purchasing the passes whole price from us, any credit in detail should go to them.”

Chaos ensues as large crowd shows up for Kentucky Kingdom season pass giveaway

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