LOWELLVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – There are security concerns anywhere large crowds gather these days and with thousands of people attending the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Festival in Lowellville, police are bringing in reinforcements.
Organizers of this weekend’s festival estimated that about 5,000 people would show up Friday night, even though Lowellville’s population is less than 1,200.
Officers say the fun needs to stay safe and they are mindful of attacks like the one that occurred on Thursday in Nice, France.
“We’re always vigilant for something like that, but down here we’ve never had trouble and we’d like to keep it that way,” said Capt. Don Coppola with the Lowellville Police Department.
The Mt. Carmel Club pays for a large security force including a full staff from Lowellville and officers from Coitsville, Poland, New Middletown and Campbell.
“They all work well together. They really help us make sure we keep this place safe,” said Mt. Carmel Society President Rocco Nolfi.
At the festival last year, a man set off a homemade cannon a few blocks away. The blast sent three people to the hospital.
This year, the officers’ main focus is crowd control and staying more alert.
“Make sure nobody gets hit by a car or a train,” Coppola said.
While organizers are aware that big crowds can be a target, they’re confident the festival won’t have any trouble.
“I’ve been coming here for 28 years now and I don’t remember anything major,” Nolfi said. “I’m not going to let it scare me. We’ve been doing this for 120 years and we’re not slowing down now.”
Saturday will be the biggest night of the festival with a fireworks show. Even more officers will be in Lowellville for that event.