The Florida State Fair shuts down early Friday night because of teens fighting

TAMPA, Fla. - Hundreds enjoyed the state fair throughout the day on Friday, but late into the night some say things turned chaotic. 

"Two times they went by our place disrespecting folks," one food both worker said.


The Hillsborough County Sheriff's office confirms a few fights Friday night.


A man working one of the game booths shot some cell phone video of one of the fights which shows large groups of teenagers gathered around, yelling at each other.


"They were jumping fences that secure the rides," Lt. Frank Losalt with the Sheriff's office said. "Those individuals were ejected. Individuals that may have been fighting, they would have been charged and arrested and transported to jail."


Fair officials said they were already thinking about closing the fair early Friday because of the rainy weather, but finally decided to after the fights broke out.


"We decided it was in the best interest of our fair goers to close a little bit early," Chuck Pesano, Executive Director of the Florida State Fair said.


12 people were arrested, but deputies say not all those arrests were related to the incidents. 


"We're looking for groups of kids that are gathering or individuals that are gathering in case they're trying to start trouble with either the vendors or the other people visiting the fair," Lt. Losalt said.


He walked us around and told us what deputies look for as they patrol. "If we start to see individuals form up into a group, we'll address the group, make our presence known," Lt. Losalt said. "We also utilize undercover personnel out here dressed in plain clothes blending in with the fair that we use as spotters to find pockets of trouble." 


Fair officials stress safety of fair goers is their number one priority.


They all continue working closely with the Sheriff's office to make sure nothing like this happens again during the event that runs until February 17th.

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