PrideFest Milwaukee safety, security top of mind for organizers

Thousands of people are expected at PrideFest Milwaukee throughout the weekend, and organizers are taking steps to keep the event safe and secure.

There are security checks for everyone entering Henry Maier Festival Park. Attendees must walk through a metal detector and, if they have a bag, it gets checked before tickets are scanned.

"With the scanning tools, we’re able to detect if somebody does have something on them that can threaten somebody else or that can be a danger," said Wes Shaver, president and CEO of Milwaukee Pride Inc.

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"When we were going through the stuff, it did make me feel a lot safer to know that they’re checking everybody," said attendee Eleah Jagdfeld.

For other people, like vendors, there is a separate gate for checks – that even includes vehicle checks.


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"It is a time for us to come together and truly be a community," said vendor Lo Villarreal.

The FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security previously warned of increased threats against LGBTQ people from overseas terrorist groups. Officials urged people to be on alert and contact police if needed. Shaver said the event partnered with several security agencies and police to ensure safety for everyone.

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"I think safety for everyone at any event should be a festival organizer's top priority," said Shaver. "Why it’s so important here is because, for a lot of people, coming to PrideFest is the only time of year they get to be themselves."

Shaver told FOX6 they hope for about 12,000 people Friday night and 50,000 for the weekend.