Bandanna ban? Enjoy that summer festival, but know the rules before you go

If you’re a suburban festival fan, you likely know the drill: Bring your sunscreen but leave beer-filled coolers at home.

This year, however, you might find a few surprises among the entry rules. That includes a bandanna ban — when used as a face covering — at one local fest.

Festivals often have a few rules to help keep crowds safe. Most of the guidance is predictable: no weapons and no outside food, drinks or coolers. Some ban backpacks, pets, grills or tables.

Lake in the Hills recently took the rare step of banning face coverings at its upcoming Rockin’ Rotary Rib Fest, which begins July 11. The move came after a spring carnival in town shut down early due to fights breaking out. Village officials noted several involved in the brawls were wearing face coverings.

Face coverings are banned at this year’s Rockin’ Rotary Rib Fest in Lake in the Hills, which runs July 11-14.
Ryan Rayburn for the Daily Herald, 2022

“We can’t ignore that we are seeing a trend locally and nationally of individuals with ill intent using face coverings to hide or disguise their identities,” Lake in the Hills police public information officer Amanda Schmitt said in a written statement.

Lake in the Hills is believed to be the first suburb to ban face coverings at a summer festival.

In North Carolina, state lawmakers Thursday overrode a gubernatorial veto to pass restrictions on wearing face coverings in public spaces. The law allows police and property owners to ask mask-wearers to temporarily remove their masks to verify their identity. It also increases penalties for crimes committed while wearing a mask.

Many summer festivals have rules about what items can be brought in to the festival area. Some of the more popular banned items include coolers, outside food or drink, weapons, grills and tables. Most festivals outline what items are prohibited under the FAQ section of their websites.

Lake in the Hills Village President Ryan Bogdanowski said fest-goers will be allowed to wear medical masks for health reasons. But decorative masks, including Halloween masks or bandannas, are not allowed.

“We’re just trying to have a safe event,” he said.

While other communities do not outright ban face coverings, police note they can raise suspicion.

“Behavior that is unusual or abnormal compared to the general attendees is definitely going to garner our attention,” Naperville police Cmdr. Rick Krakow said.

Sometimes, that added attention is as simple as engaging the person.

Mundelein Police Chief Jason Seeley recalls an instance where police took note of an individual wearing a full face mask, long sleeves and pants at an event on an “extremely hot summer day.” After a quick conversation, officers learned the individual had a medical condition that required protection from UV rays.

Seeley said just approaching individuals can be enough of a deterrent to those who intending to cause trouble. Those who have a legitimate explanation likely will not object to a couple of questions if done respectfully and professionally, he added.

“If an individual has bad intentions, simply acknowledging them and letting them know they are no longer inconspicuous can be a deterrent in itself,” he said.

Both Krakow and Seeley encouraged festival goers to report any unusual activity they may notice.

“We rely on the community to be another set of eyes and ears for us,” Krakow said. “Be aware of your surroundings. If you see something, say something.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source link


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *