(FOX 9) - It was a chaotic and violent night at the Minnesota State Fair as law enforcement responded to half a dozen fights in the final two hours, in addition to a large group trying to break through the main gate.
Authorities said a crowd of around 50 people was upset that they couldn’t get into the fair after gates closed at 8 p.m., so they attempted to breach the entry.
As fair security worked to secure the gate, one employee reported seeing a gun on someone. Deputies then used pepper spray to disperse the crowd. Several moving to other locations and trying to jump the fence to gain access.
At the same time, half a dozen fights were breaking out.
Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said most of the fights originated in the Midway and included known gang members. Two of those fights ended in serious injury, and two suspects were apprehended.
Fletcher said they are investigating whether the attempted breach at the main gate and the fights were connected.
"I would say maybe just the last few years, things have kind of changed at night after 9:30, 10 p.m.," vendor Stacy Barona said.
Barona said late night at the fair always has a different vibe, but this year felt especially unusual as she noticed fewer families.
"I don’t think people felt it was unsafe," she said. "I’m pretty positive it has a lot to do with COVID."
While she’s not worried, FOX 9 spoke with several vendors who are. Over fear of retribution, no one wanted to go on camera, but they said they witnessed theft, fights, and disorderly conduct the last several nights of the fair.
The Minnesota State Fair did not respond to FOX 9’s request for comment.