Officials emphasize Freedom Fair safety

Staff writerJune 28, 2013 

Freedom Fair officials have become more security-conscious after the Boston Marathon bombings and are asking for the public’s help at next week’s event.

“Keep an eye out for anything that looks suspicious,” said Doug Miller of the Tacoma Events Commission. “Help us by being attentive.”

The jet-powered car Smoke-N-Thunder, which normally fires up its engine at Freedom Fair, will remain silent this year, Miller said. Officials were concerned that the noise and flame could alarm the public in the wake of the Boston bombings in April.

More than 100 Tacoma police officers will be on duty at Freedom Fair, most in uniform but some in plain clothes, spokeswoman Loretta Cool said. The numbers do not reflect a policy change from years past, she said.

Alcohol and fireworks are prohibited at Freedom Fair, and officers might ask to check backpacks and other containers. Those who refuse a search may be asked to leave, Cool said.

“You can’t have any fireworks down there,” she said. “We have zero tolerance. If we see fireworks, you’re going to get cited and they will be confiscated. There will be no warnings. The fine is $257.”

And that goes for anywhere in the city.

“There is no such thing as ‘safe and sane’ fireworks,” Cool said. “Not even sparklers. Anything you have to light is considered fireworks, and it’s illegal.”

With huge crowds expected along the waterfront, children might be separated from parents and chaperones. Before attending the event, parents should instruct children to immediately seek out a police officer if they become lost, Cool advises. And parents should do the same if they lose a child.

Tacoma fire personnel will be on hand to provide first aid.

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