LEXINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — The 39th Annual Lexington Barbecue Festival is just days away, and the event held, in the Barbecue Capital of North Carolina, is set to welcome over one hundred thousand barbecue enthusiasts this Saturday.
With a multitude of food vendors, games, live music, and more, it promises to be a remarkable event. However, as the festival is expected to draw large crowds, safety is an essential concern.
Safety planning for this event began as early as November of the previous year, shortly after the conclusion of the last festival.
Public Safety Officials in Lexington have been collaborating closely with neighboring agencies, such as the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, EMS, and the Thomasville and Salisbury Police Departments, to build upon the successes of previous years while addressing areas for improvement.
Lexington Police Chief Robby Rummage emphasized the significance of this event for the city, stating, “It’s an exciting event, and we love hosting it here in our wonderful city.” Chief Rummage added, “Our officers are strategically located. We’ve got very sophisticated plans where we can keep an eye on things and have a very good communication system with the 911 center.”
Rummage shared some essential advice for festival-goers, urging them to stay aware of their surroundings, report suspicious behavior, and stay informed about road closures and pedestrian traffic. These precautions are the result of years of experience.
“The crowd control at some of the staged events is what we’ve learned from in the past, which is why festival organizers have been gracious enough to move some of the main entertainment to our amphitheater,” added Chief Rummage.
The Lexington Fire Department also plays a pivotal role in ensuring safety during the festival. J.D. Everhart of the Lexington Fire Department explained that, in addition to providing medical assistance, they are vigilant about potential fire hazards, given the multitude of barbecue vendors.
With the cooperation of favorable weather and planning, they hope to keep festival-goers focused on enjoying barbecue and entertainment rather than safety concerns.
“For folks to come up and really enjoy their time at the festival and not have to think about safety, that’s for us to worry about, and we’d like for all the participants to just come and enjoy the festival,” noted Everhart.
As the festival approaches, attendees should be aware that starting Friday afternoon at 5:00 PM and continuing until Sunday morning, both directions of Main Street and Center Street will be closed for the festivities.
If you’re seeking alternative transportation options, the North Carolina Department of Transportation has organized special train stops for the festival, with more information available at thebarbecuefestival.com.