Security top of mind for Lexington's Roots and Heritage Festival this weekend

Short Street Garage
Posted at 7:16 PM, Sep 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-09 19:17:03-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — More than 30 years strong, the Roots and Heritage Festival returns to Lexington this weekend. The festival is known regionally as one of the best displays of culture and education. After hitting a pandemic pause, this year’s event is expected to draw even larger crowds than years past.

“The festival is an opportunity for all people to come together, but we're celebrating African American culture,” explained Devine Carama, festival performer and director of ONE Lexington.

Carama described the festival as a family reunion stretching from Short Street to Fourth Street.

Alongside the excitement are conversations on security, due to the anticipated volume of festival-goers and a recent string of violence in the city.

“We’re just asking everyone to be vigilant while they’re here, but also to have a good time," said Lt. Donnell Gordon with Lexington Police. "If you do see something, and you get that gut feeling that something’s not right, just let us know and we’ll try to take care of it for you.”

Police officers will station themselves at street entrances. You’ll also find them weaving through crowds and engaging with attendees.

“We’ll have our emergency care units down here, the fire department will also be assisting, so there will be a lot of people down here just to make sure everyone is safe,” confirmed Gordon.

Even those without a badge are stepping up for security. ONE Lexington is calling on anti-violence advocates to attend the Roots and Heritage Festival.

“We know that coming out of the pandemic with so many conflicts going on in the city, we just want to be a presence there,” said Carama.

His team will be dressed in orange, engaging with and monitoring the crowd. He hopes their presence is noticed by the youth in particular.

“A lot of people feel like the older generation isn’t in tune with them, and we want to let them know that we’re here for you, we want to be a resource, so we are calling on community members to come out and be a presence as the sun goes down and we get into the later hours,” said Carama.

For Lexington Police, community involvement can make all the difference when it comes to security.

“Our main thing is just to make sure we provide that security, but it’s not just us, it's a community event, which means if we’re gonna stay safe, everyone needs to be involved with making this a safe event,” said Gordon.