Security preps for Lexington Barbecue Festival

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LEXINGTON, N.C. -- Police, emergency workers and city officials tested a new security plan Thursday which includes roping off areas with metal gates at this year's barbecue festival.

The goal is to have better crowd control by creating two to three gated sections.

Gates will also line sidewalks, creating a path for emergency workers to quickly get to someone who needs help.

The city began working on a plan this summer to prevent a repeat of what happened last year.  Close to 200,000 people packed the streets, causing some pushing, shoving and one person had a panic attack.

"People were a little claustrophobic," said City Manager Alan Carson. "They couldn't breathe because of the crowds."

In September, the city also passed the extraordinary special events ordinance -- banning items that can be used as weapons from the event like chains, crowbars, sharp objects and glass.

"We don't want anybody to feel threatened or unsafe in this area," Carson said. "We want them to have a good time."

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