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Dane County Fair Atmosphere Ruined By Brawling Youth

July 17, 2021

For many people, 2020 was a long and frustrating year. The COVID-19 pandemic altered lives, shut down businesses, and caused the cancelations of almost everything that was fun to do. That included the always enjoyable Dane County Fair.

So there was a reason for everyone to broadly smile when passing the Aliant Energy Center to see the massive Ferris Wheel assembled and lighted with flashing and rotating colors. A real slice of how summer should feel was again so visible from the fairgrounds. Once again vaccinated people could feel a sense of normalcy, laugh, and enjoy a corn dog (OK, you really need two!) while seeking out the exhibition hall where area kids displayed their talents.

So it was very truly sad and dispiriting to wake up Saturday morning and learn that about 100 youth brawled in the parking lot that required deputies to step in and respond. Then it was even rougher to hear that both city and town of Madison police were called in for assistance. Multiple physical and verbal altercations started at 7 P.M. between a crowd of minors who gathered in the parking lot. At 9:30 P.M. deputies and fair security began to break up a large crowd of more than 50 people.

The outrageous behavior forced fair officials to move up its closing time for its last two nights and mandated minors be accompanied by adults.

What in the heck is wrong with these brawling chuckleheads? They must surely have understood the needed restrictions over the past year, but then felt the sense of relaxation which comes with society now being able to open up. So to then act in such a low-brow fashion and ruin the atmosphere for all is simply despicable.

I am always interested in the backstory to events so as to better understand how a person gets to the point where they make headlines in the newspaper.  Or on the radio Saturday morning.

I cheer for the national spelling champs and love to read how they prepare for the challenge of spelling words that befuddle even the smartest of adults.   I applaud the person who makes news for finishing college and getting a degree while overcoming health issues. Searching for this type of story is what I did when working in radio news broadcasting, and now what I do when trying to figure out where society is headed.

But I also pay attention when people make for awful headlines. When someone commits a terrible crime it is discovered the one arrested dropped out of high school in their sophomore year. Or how a gun was used in a crime by a teenager who housed the weapon in their parent’s home.

Or how so many who thought fighting in a parking lot at a fair, after a deadly pandemic, was in any way appropriate.

If I were a parent to a young person who acted in such an inexcusable manner there would be a very long conversation at home. And then consequences that would make the recent quarantine seem like a holiday.

Parents really do need to up their game. The lack of parenting is becoming more obvious all the time.

The stilled Ferris Wheel, way too early on Saturday night, with their colorful lights turned off, is proof of what is wrong.

And so it goes.

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