FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio — Changes are being made at some big events happening this weekend in northeast Ohio. Recent violence at parades across the country has local officials rethinking their safety measures so they are prepared for anything.
Fairview Park's annual Summerfest is now underway at Bohlken Park. For 30 years, it has provided a safe place for the community to come and enjoy great food, live music, carnival rides and more. Fairview Park's Police Chief Paul Shepard wants to keep it that way.
"When you think of Fairview Park, you think community, and nothing exemplifies our community more than Summerfest and the parade," said Chief Shepard.
Following recent tragedies at large community parades in Wisconsin and Highland Park, Illinois, officials across Northeast Ohio are being proactive to keep everyone safe at big events.
"We're planning for the 'what ifs,'" said Lake County Sheriff Frank Leonbruno.
At this year's Lake County fair running through July 31, Leonbruno says you'll notice more law enforcement on hand this weekend.
"We believe we have sufficient planning and sufficient staffing to be prepared for problems should they occur at the fair," said Leonbruno.
Fairview Park's Summerfest parade will kick off at 6 p.m. Friday and will start at Gilles-Sweet Elementary School. It's the same as years past, but when the parade begins, you'll notice a few changes to the route.
"It's important for us to do everything we can to make it as safe for the people who are for both watching the parade and marching in it," Shepard said.
The parade will have the same beginning and ending as previous years. Instead of traveling down the busy Lorain Road, marchers will head down residential streets like Westwood Ave.
The following streets will be closed for the parade:
• West 222 Street – from Gilles-Sweet School east to West 220 Street at 5:30 p.m.
• West 220 Street – from West 222 Street north to Westwood Avenue at 5:30 p.m.
• Westwood Avenue – from West 220 Street east to West 210 Street at about 6:00 p.m.
• West 210 Street – from Lorain Road north to Bohlken Park at about 6:15 p.m.
No cars will be allowed to park on the parade route during the parade.
Additional street closings during the parade include:
• West 220 Street – from Lorain Road north to Westwood Avenue. (Traffic will be detoured off Westwood Avenue at West 226 Street for southbound traffic and at Higley Road for northbound traffic.)
• Spencer Road – closed at Westwood Avenue
• All side streets (W. 219, 217, 215, 214, 212, 211) will be closed at Westwood Avenue
• West 210 Street – from Westwood Avenue north to Center Ridge Road
• Glenbar Drive – closed at Center Ridge Road. Residents will have local access at this location.
It is anticipated that the road closures will last one hour. The parade barricades will be removed immediately as the parade moves through. The new route will be a little longer than normal, but it also offers many benefits.
"Now people who are viewing it will be able to see it on both sides. The marchers will be able to take up the whole street without having to worry about oncoming traffic or other traffic," said Chief Shepard.
The goal of these changes is to make sure everyone enjoys this beautiful summer weekend in Northeast Ohio safely.
"We believe it's going to be a safe and enjoyable fair," said Sheriff Leonbruno.
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