As the summer winds down and the leaves begin to change, it is once again time for the annual Bellville Street Fair; the yearly event brings an estimated thousands of additional patrons to downtown Bellville’s streets, and with the influx comes a host of issues for both fairgoers and village police.
The sheer number of extra people on the street are a cause a bit of a safety concern explains Bellville Police Chief Ron Willey. The department must regulate the vehicular traffic flow coming in and out of the village in addition a substantial pedestrian increase.
Along with the increase in people downtown, comes added parking difficulties for those visiting the fair.
“Parking is at a premium,” stated Willey. “There will be just a few places where you can pay to park during the fair. The American Legion will again offer a shuttle service to and from their parking lot. Handicapped parking will be in the Village Hall lot and possibly Mechanics Bank.” Street parking will also be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Drivers need to be sure to stay away from parking to close to intersections as they will be towed,” said Willey. “We often do not have time to make announcements to fair guests to have cars removed, so to avoid the problem all together people should refrain from parking at them.”
Visitors also should not park on private property to avoid having their vehicle towed, which has been a problem in the past explains Willey. To compound the towed vehicle problem, patrons have to face the difficulty of locating their automobile following its removal.
“Unfortunately, we do not have a local impound yard,” Willey said. “So towed vehicles will most likely have to be retrieved in Mansfield, which makes for some very unhappy people.”
Additionally, the police chief offers a few more safety tips to ensure this year’s Bellville Street Fair is enjoyable experience.
“Thieves know there will be a lot of vehicles parked in the area,” said Willey. “People should also keep their purses and hand bags with them and avoid setting them down in public areas. Folks should also not leave anything of value in parked cars and be aware of their surroundings.”
The Bellville Street Fair kicks off Sept. 13 with the village truck and tractor pull at 12 p.m. at the Bellville/Jefferson Township Fire Department.
Reach Jones on Twitter @Bellville_Jones or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org