Berkley Days is back with heightened security after fights in 2023

Posted at 12:01 AM, May 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-11 00:01:55-04

BERKLEY, Mich. (WXYZ) — After being shut down in the midst of the fun last year due to safety concerns, Berkley Days is back this weekend for it’s 98th year.

The carnival is a Berkely tradition with roughly 10,000 people expected throughout the weekend. Fights among a group of teens last year led to a number of safety changes aimed at making sure the event remains a family friendly tradition.

"This is my first time at Berkley Days, but I love carnivals," parent Tiara Yakini said of Southfield. “It’s great. That ride right there though? Super scary."

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“I want to come here all the time in the summer," 10-year-old Niara Yakini said. "I love to go to amusement parks.”

"We always come here. We always have a lot of fun," parent Heather Todd of Oak Park said. "If we tried to skip it, I'd be in a lot of trouble!”

"It’s kind of like a tradition,” her 8-year-old daughter Lyla Todd said.

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It's a tradition that’s been ongoing in Berkley for 98 years. However, last year, the event was shut down early on Saturday night after numerous fights broke out among teenagers. It was not reopened for the last day on Sunday.

“There were claims of weapons, firearm shots last year. That did not happen,” Lt. Andrew Hadfield with the Berkley Public Safety Department said. "Most of the fights that happened in the past were just beefs with kids from their school or other schools.”

Lt. Andrew Hadfield with the Berkley Public Safety Department

Having a safe atmosphere was important for Berkely Days Association Chair Denise Downen. The event is also a fundraiser for local charities, so changes were made to keep the tradition alive.

“It's always been a safe space where kids can run around and do things on their own and it makes them feel independent,” Downen said. "It's been going on for 98 years now, so this is something the residents look forward to every year.”

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For the first time, bracelets are required to enter with a $3 admission fee. No bags are allowed and fencing surrounds the area. There’s also extra patrols from officers and hired security, with just two points of entry.

"It makes you feel safer definitely, having a checkpoint,” Tiara Yakini said.

“My daughter was actually here last year when some not so good stuff happened, so I was a little worried about this year," Heather Todd said. "But I feel a lot better the way they have it set up this year.”

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Decades of memories with more memories still to come. Spring is finally here, and Berkley Days is back.

“I think we always love to have an event come back and feel safe," Hadfield said. "The kids are so excited this time of year and we want to put on a good show for them.”

You can find a schedule of events for Berkely Days on its website.