ANTIOCH, Calif. (KRON) – An all-out brawl spoiled the Contra Costa County Fair for hundreds of families last weekend. People attending say instead of getting in line for the fun, a bunch of teenagers were getting into fights. 

The fair was shut down early by security Saturday night in Antioch after several fights broke out between groups of juveniles. One man, who asked not to reveal his identity, claims that he was assaulted by someone while reporting the fight to a woman on the security staff.

“One of the friends, they pushed me,” the man recounted. “He said, ‘You want to fight with me?’ She never do nothing. So, who is going to protect us?”

Officials at the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office say they received reports of several fights at the fair around 7:26 p.m., and that was when deputies approached the scene. The juveniles scattered to other locations on the fairgrounds and continued fighting. Deputies were unable to locate any victims. 

“Back in the day, it was fun. We used to go on Sunday because they had a lot of events on that day. Always felt safe. Took the family. Took the kids,” said longtime fair attendee Gil Murillo. 

Murillo says that was when the sheriff’s office provided on-site security, which is no longer the case. However, after the incident over the weekend, he says some folks are hoping fair organizers will bring back the deputies to keep the event safe for families who are there to have a good time.

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“I would hope that there will be some kind of police presence,” he said. “Whether it’s sheriff’s or hired off-duty officers. They know how to manage those types of incidents. I think the public deserves that to make sure they can go to an event that is safe.”

KRON4 also spoke by phone to East County Chapter NAACP President Odessa Lefrancois, who says she is not sure armed deputies are the way to go to secure the fair.

“I think that the sheriff’s department can better utilize their resources in manning the unincorporated areas of Contra Costa County,” she said. “I think the people who put on the county fair need to do a better job policing.”

The Contra Costa County Fairground is state property. Although the event happens in Antioch, which is a city in Contra Costa County, neither Antioch police nor county deputies are responsible for providing security for the event, unless they are contracted to do so. That was not the case this year. 

KRON4 contacted the chief executive officer of the Contra Costa County Fair Board of Directors to see if there are considering amending the private security contract to include official law enforcement next year.

The fair is now implementing a chaperone policy requiring everyone under the age of 18 to be accompanied by a parent or guardian after 5 p.m.