June Fete Fair canceled for first time in over 100 years for 'safety and security' concerns

Security concerns at carnivals across the region has forced the cancelation of a family-friendly fair in Montgomery County after 111 years.

Officials in Upper Moreland Township have denied a permit application for this year's June Fete Fair.

"Your typical carnival, like we all went to when we were kids," said Stacey Harp. Her family’s Huntington Valley home is feet away from the fairground, off Edge Hill Road. The event was supposed to run from June 7 to June 9th.

Usually, this time of year, the family looks forward to the arrival of horses and carnival rides. But not this year.

Upper Moreland Township says in a statement, "Out of an abundance of caution, (we) decided to deny the permit application for the June Fete Fair and Pony Show." The reason, the statement says, "based on safety and security issues that arose at numerous local events."

In recent weeks, FOX 29 has reported on the cancelation of similar carnivals in towns like Broomall, Pennsylvania and Wilmington, Delaware because of fights, assaults and gun violence.

"Honestly, I am not surprised, living so close. We have seen it getting rougher and rougher every year," said Harp.

Only canceled in prior years because of COVID and World War II, the family-friendly event has been a Montgomery County staple since 1913. Last year the fair raised more than $100,000 for Jefferson Abington Health Foundation's Women’s Board.

But despite event organizers plan to cut evening hours, utilize metal detectors and remove carnival rides, the Township still denied the permit. For families like the Harps, losing another community event over security issues seems to be the sign of the times.

"There is nothing for kids to do, but, the bottom line is I want kids to be safe and I don’t want anybody to get hurt or the township blamed for something they can’t control," said Harp.

The fairground sits on a 41 acre piece of land that’s expected to be sold to the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust for natural preservation. Under the agreement of the sale, the Fair would have the right to use the property for future events.

Whether that will happen remains to be seen.