Unaccompanied minors will not be permitted to enter the California State Fair on certain nights – CBS Sacramento

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The California State Fair is now just over a month away after being canceled the past two years due to COVID-19, and with youth violence on the rise in Sacramento, there will be changes. This year.

The State Fair is a Sacramento summertime tradition for many kids, but Cal Expo has also run into trouble in recent years with youngsters involved in violent attacks, gang fights and even shootings.

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This year, not all teenagers will be welcome.

“Public safety is paramount to us,” said state fair CEO Rick Pickering.

Pickering said for the first time, unaccompanied minors will not be permitted on certain nights.

“When you walk in the door after 6 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, if you’re underage, there must be someone 21 and over saying, ‘I’m in charge of this group of kids. ‘ ” he said.

So why does Cal Expo prohibit children from coming without an adult on weekend evenings?

“Those are our biggest days, our biggest attendance and the issues we’ve had with some young people have been mostly in the evenings,” Pickering said.

Joshua Hamilton, 17, grew up going to the state fair and says he and his friends shouldn’t be banned just because other teenagers acted out.

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“I feel like I shouldn’t have to go with mom or dad,” he said. “I’m old enough to go alone.”

“It’s a ridiculous rule and I think it shouldn’t be enforced,” said community activist Berry Accius.

Accius said he fears teenagers will lose a safe place to hang out this summer.

“I think an alternative could have been to hire youth advocates to be on the ground and enforce and support law enforcement,” he said.

“If minors wish to go out without adult supervision, they can certainly do so Monday through Thursday,” Pickering said.

Another novelty this year: only transparent bags will be authorized on the fairgrounds. These are extra safety efforts to make the fair fun for all ages.

“So the safest place you can be in July is the California State Fair,” Pickering said.

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The youth ban will not affect children who tend livestock or work for fair trade vendors.

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