Mayor Warren proposing new policy at Lilac Festival

Mayor Warren is calling for a new age policy at the Lilac Festival following fights (WHAM photo)

Following a number of fights which resulted in seven young adults being arrested over the weekend, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren is calling for changes to the Lilac Festival's attendance policy.

"We want them to come, enjoy the music, enjoy the lilacs, enjoy the festival like everyone else," said Mayor Warren Monday morning. "But if their parents want them to do that, they need to bring them and stay with them."

Rochester police arrested a total of 10 people and broke up a number of fights inside and outside of the festival. They said the reason for the fighting was unsupervised minors. Because of that, Mayor Warren wants to see every kid under the age of 18 be accompanied by a parent.

Mayor Warren also wants to know why the group Pathways to Peace, which has a relationship with at-risk youth, was not at the festival. A spokesperson for her office told 13WHAM the festival had contacted Pathways to Peace in past years, adding the festival has expressed interest in bringing the group back.

Mayor Warren said she wanted to implement the policy as soon as possible. That policy, though, needs a lot of details ironed out before it can take effect, said Monroe County Director of Parks Larry Staub.

"What legal research do they have to back it up?" asked Staub. "What would be the implementation plan for something like that? Who would we I.D.?"

A number of videos of the fights were posted and viewed tens of thousands of times on social media. Staub said they show that staffing was not the problem.

"What I saw was some kids starting to wheelhouse with each other, and security was right there on top of it," said Staub. "That's how it's supposed to work."

Festival Producer Jeff Springut said the event had a record-setting day on Saturday, with 125,000 people attending. He and others are crediting the amount of Rochester police, Monroe County Sheriff's and hired security there for keeping things from getting out of hand. Staub said people who wanted to come out and enjoy the festival were able to do so.

Police said there is no reason for anyone to feel unsafe at the Lilac Festival.

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