Hauntfest draws in thousands of people, extra police on hand

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dozens of Dayton Police officers were on hand Saturday night at Hauntfest in the Oregon District. Thousands of people are expected to fill the street throughout the night.

Volunteers have been checking people in since 7 o’clock. The streets are filling up–also filling up is this box full of props and weapons confiscated from people. Every year, officials say some items are not welcome because they want to make sure the event is as safe as possible.

“There’s never been an issue,” Hauntfest Co-Chair Bob Ewald said. “It’s safe.”

For Bob Ewald–who’s been putting on Hauntfest for the last 7 years–safety is always a top priority.

“People talk who live in the burbs and don’t want to come downtown,” Ewald said. “It couldn’t be safer here.”

15,000 people are expected to walk through tonight and they’ll be greeted with added security, dozens of police officers and about 150 volunteers. Ewald says alcohol is usually the root of most issues.

“About the only thing that ever happens is you get someone that is overly drunk,” Ewald said. “And with the weather tonight you’re going to get a lot of risky costumes. And sometimes the guys fell it’s okay to approach the women and that’s what we try to avoid.”

“With the weather being perfect we’re expected a lot of people,” Oregon Express Owner Joe Bavaro said. “Any where from 15 to 18,000 people.”

For a crowd that size, it takes months of planning, but in the end it means big bucks for the Oregon District. With this year’s weather, Ewald is hopeful they can raise a record amount of money.

“The last time the weather was like this, we had over 18,000 people,” Ewald said. “So we ordered extra beer, extra volunteers.”



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