New security measures at Brat Fest

MADISON (WKOW) -- We're just a few days away from Madison's biggest Memorial Day weekend tradition: Brat Fest. 

Organizers are expecting big crowds with nice weather, so they're taking extra safety precautions after some issues last year.

Large fights broke out at Brat Fest in 2017, closing the carnival area down early. This year, those who coordinate the event have added to their security plan. 

"We've fenced in our carnival area and we also scan for metal. I think we're one of the only carnivals, or festivals, that do that. Our hours are limited in the carnival area," said Tim Metcalfe, organizer of Brat Fest. 

Dane County Sheriff's Office will have extra deputies patrolling in the evening hours and the carnival will close at 7 p.m. It was open until 9 in previous years.The event comes a week after disturbances at Fitchburg Days last weekend, so sheriff's officials are ready to respond if needed. 

"I think there's always a concern during these events where large crowds gather, especially with a lot of recent events that have happened, not only here locally but also across the country, so we don't expect anything bad to happen but we are prepared if something does happen," said spokesperson Elise Shaffer. 

On this 35th year, Metcalfe just hopes Brat Fest's biggest mission prevails. 

"It's really a great thing to come out and support Brat Fest, support these charities, and support the people that are doing great things within our community," Metcalfe told 27 News. 

3,200 volunteers work Brat Fest to raise money for 130 charities in Dane County. The event has raised $1.75 million since it began at Metcalfe's grocery store decades ago. 

Brat Fest starts Friday morning with Take Your Brat to Work Day. The event runs through Monday. 

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