NBEx vows to improve safety measures following violence at exhibition, executive director

    Fairgrounds for the NBEx at night, located at the New Brunswick Provincial Exhibition Centre. (Submitted: Trevor Jones)

    After incidents of violence at the New Brunswick Provincial Exhibition on Sept. 8, executive director Jeff McCarthy ensures that there will be enhanced safety procedures in the future.

    The 197th annual NBEx took place in Fredericton from Sept. 4 to 10, including entertainment such as animals, country showcases, music, horse shows and more. Despite safety precautions, the event also had several fights break out.

    “Having security and police officers on-site during the event wasn’t enough of a deterrent for the behaviours of these teenagers when it comes to the skirmishes that occurred,” said McCarthy.

    According to a statement made by the Fredericton Police, they received 10 to 15 separate calls of service made from the NBEx, which resulted in two arrests.

    McCarthy said organizers are determined to create a safer, family-friendly event in the future. He has a few possible measures that he plans to implement for next year’s event. McCarthy is prepared to add a zero-tolerance policy that would see individuals who were asked to leave the event not be permitted to come back on the property at any time.

    “There are a number of options available to us,” said McCarthy on future protective measures. “We’re contemplating bag checks at the gates and potentially even stricter admissions policies relative to youth.”

    One such policy would include the idea of the exhibition not admitting youth under the age of 16 if they are not accompanied by a parent or guardian.

    Coming into his first NBEx as executive director, McCarthy didn’t make any changes to security measures that past management had in place.

    “I now know that extra precautions are required, because this type of behaviour last weekend at the exhibition has been going on for a number of years.”

    He believes that the exhibition was still a success despite the violence and that this was a transition year. He would like to increase agricultural programming as well as more animals and events such as barrel racing and show jumping in the near future.

    Along with this, McCarthy vows that future NBEx events will attempt to eliminate any incidents of violence.

    “They can rest assured that we will be returning to a much safer event, free of these types of occurrences and that they can feel safe bringing their families to the NBEx,” said McCarthy. “NBEx takes the events of this past exhibition very seriously and that it’s our wish that a few bad apples don’t ruin things for everyone.”