It was “adult night” at Valley Fair last Thursday, May 25, but apparently some people weren’t acting like adults, as brawls broke out throughout the evening.
Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate said his department had to call in help from Prior Lake, Savage and Carver County to deal with crowds from about 7 p.m. to midnight, as the tension was palpable between “groups out there that didn’t like each other or get along.”
“It absorbed a lot of our resources,” Tate said. “When it comes to spontaneous acts of violence, they’re very hard to predict, they’re very hard to prevent. And you had a few of those flare up at Valleyfair.”
“Adult Night” was billed as “kid-free access to select rides” for people aged 18 and over, with $5 parking. It proved popular, Tate said, with traffic backed up on state Highways 101 and 169. He heard there were 7,000 to 8,000 people there. Valleyfair officials declined to comment, referring questions to police.
“I think it was a bigger crowd than anyone expected was going to show up on a Thursday evening before Memorial weekend,” Tate said. “There were points where it took people two hours to get into the park.”
Valleyfair has metal detectors and security, but the lines to get through those stations and into the park were at times 400 people deep, according to Shakopee police.
Only one person was arrested for disorderly conduct and obstructing police, but that’s only because when the cops arrived, people scattered.
“We got people out of there (who were) causing issues as fast as we could,” Tate said. “We tried to deter as much of this as we could through our presence and escorting people causing trouble off the property.”
Tate wasn’t sure if Valleyfair had ever held an Adult Night before.
“I do plan to talk to them about the future of this or any future 18+ events,” he said.
Tate said Valleyfair — which attracts 1.1 million people annually — is a safe park; he has season tickets and takes his children there “all the time.”
“It was not a normal evening there by any stretch of the imagination. It concerns me enough that we’ll follow up with Valleyfair on the future of this kind of promotion.”