More cameras coming for Ribfest security in Naperville
Ribfest in Naperville will take place this year under the watchful eye of three more surveillance cameras after the city council voted to heighten security at the popular four-day fest.
The new cameras will be trained on Ribfest crowds in addition to three cameras police already have been using to monitor activity at the annual Fourth of July weekend bash, Chief Robert Marshall said Tuesday.
"These are cameras that will help us monitor the crowds as well as identify potential problems where police assistance could be needed," Marshall said.
The city is adding $29,490 to a security camera contract with Pace Systems of Naperville to pay for the new devices, which will help keep track of crowds that typically total 100,000 people over four days.
An agreement with Naperville Park District, which owns Knoch Park where Ribfest takes place, will allow the city to place antennas for the additional cameras on the district's new central maintenance facility on Martin Avenue. The cameras will be installed and removed each year and could be used for large events other than Ribfest.
Marshall said police don't plan to disclose the exact location of any of the six cameras within the park. While crime is rare during the event, the presence of additional cameras could help investigators if wrongdoing is reported.
"It helps us be proactive," Marshall said.
Ribfest organizers with the Exchange Club of Naperville said they are coordinating all security precautions through Naperville police for the 30th annual festival, which runs June 30 through July 3.
Organizers also work to keep the atmosphere a safe and festive one by prohibiting people from bringing in weapons, drugs, alcohol, food, beverages (other than sealed, non-flavored water bottles and baby formula), large umbrellas, glass containers, signs, tables, recording equipment, and, jokingly, "zombies, bad attitudes and intergalactic aliens."
This year's Ribfest highlights include 12 traveling rib vendors competing for best ribs and best sauce, a Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest that's a qualifier for the national competition on July 4 in Coney Island, New York, a carnival, fireworks show, kids area, business expo and concerts by Toby Keith, the B-52s, Shinedown and the Wallflowers.