JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – While this year’s Blue Plum Festival appeared to draw more crowds than last year, it also brought with it more incidents of crime.
Johnson City police say incidents involving police more than doubled the number reported during the weekend of last year’s festival.
Paul Vaughn has been coming to the Blue Plum Festival for nearly a decade. Overall, he was satisfied with this year’s festival but is still having a hard time coping with constant changes.
“Yeah, I thought the festival was nice within itself, but I mean it changed a lot. So you know the enjoyment of it wasn’t quite as much as I would like for it to be,” Paul Vaughn said.
Paul did enjoy the heavy presence of Johnson City police officers on hand in Founders Park to monitor crowds.
Blue Plum 2017 was for the most part centered in Founders Park. Johnson City Police say having the festival in this location helped them with monitoring crowds and responding to reported incidents.
“It is much easier for us logistically to work an event like that because it’s just a little more localized,” Sergeant Jim Tallmadge said.
According to Police reports from the past weekend, 8 incidents centered in the downtown area where the Blue Plum Festival took place.
Last year, that number was less than half with two to four incidents estimated during Blue Plum weekend 2016.
Sergeant Tallmadge attributes the small increase in crime statistics to the larger number of people in attendance.
“The more people you have the more incidents you’ll have, and that’s reflected in this. It’s not a significant increase based on the numbers,” Tallmadge said.
Tallmadge says officers worked throughout the weekend ensuring festival goers like Paul Vaughn remain safe and out of harms way.
We asked Blue Plum organizers if they made enough money this weekend to make a significant payment to vendors still owed money from last year’s festival, they told us they should know how much vendors can expect to be paid within the coming weeks.