Harvest Homecoming fights cause ride shut down, safety concerns

Harvest Homecoming fights cause ride shut down, safety concerns

NEW ALBANY, In. (WAVE) - An incident involving teenagers at the Harvest Homecoming festival caused a temporary shutdown in the ride area on Saturday night.

According to Chief Bailey of the New Albany Police Department, two teenagers were arrested for disorderly conduct at the festival near the ride area. The chaos continued with other teens, the police had to shut down the rides in response.

There were no injuries or weapons found after the incident.

As crews packed up what's left of 2019's Harvest Homecoming Monday afternoon, the fight is sticking with people who attended like John Fogel of New Albany.

“It was just really crazy,” Fogel said. “People were really disappointed for what happened.”

Attendees with unused tickets were able to use them Sunday instead.

"Sometimes as things go wrong, as they will sometimes, then we gotta find a way to make that safer,” Fogel said.

On behalf of the festival, Courtney Lewis with the City of New Albany released the following statement:

“The safety of everyone who attends Harvest Homecoming is our #1 priority. We work closely with the City of New Albany & the New Albany Police Department to ensure that this is our top priority. NAPD responded appropriately to an incident between two young individuals who got into an altercation in the rides area. Those two individuals were arrested on Saturday Night. After that a decision was made to close the rides for the evening in the best interest of everyone’s safety. This year’s Harvest Homecoming had a record attendance, downtown businesses had record sales, festival vendors had a great weekend, and local non-profits were able to raise funds that will directly benefit our community for the year to come. We will have no further comment on this incident.”

“It’s my understanding that the response was swift and measured, and appropriate for what took place,” City Council Member Al Knable said. "And they shut it down very quickly. When you bring masses of people together like that sometimes there can be flash points.”

The council doesn’t really play into decisions regarding future festivals and Knable isn’t sure if parental supervision and new curfew times will be addressed.

“My hope is that, and I’m sure this is going to happen, that over the next several days the New Albany Police Department is going to meet with Harvest Homecoming and city officials to kind of debrief on what happened," Knable said. "To see what, if anything, what kind of proactive measures we can be taking next year to minimize the chance of something like this happening again.”

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