Is The Fair Safe?


Gregory Vine

2020 is remembered for a lot of distinct things, but the Frederick Fair and Mount Airy remember it because of the death of a 59 man year old who was beaten to death by two teenagers at the Frederick fair. On Sept. 20, 2019 John Marvin Weed Jr. was beaten to death by two 15 and 16 year old brothers. He received multiple punches to the head from the brothers over a dollar. The brothers asked weed for a dollar and when weed declined words were exchanged and they proceeded to follow weed around until weed was prepared to fight them. At that point the 15 year old came running and hit Weed with enough force that he was unconscious almost immediately. Weed never woke up and died the next day at Shock Trauma in Baltimore.

During the altercation you have to ask “where was security? Is the fair safe?” According to the Frederick News Post, “Weed’s niece and her fiance reportedly searched in vain for about six to eight minutes for a police officer, security official or a fair employee to deter a group of young people harassing them at the fair.” If it takes 6-8 minutes to find someone to help you, can you really feel safe? There have already been multiple fights that need police to get involved. Is the fair really secure and safe? Because of this the Weed family is suing both the county, the city and the Great Frederick Fair because of their inability to provide proper security and safety. And it seems that even today The Frederick Fair is still struggling to provide proper security. 

After the death of Weed, the older brother pleaded guilty to second degree assault, while the younger brother pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Both were tried as minors and the younger was sentenced to behavioral correction at a juvenile detention facility, while the older was put on probation and ordered to complete an anger management program. Later the Weed family attempted to sue the city of Frederick and Frederick County for wrongful death both the judge sided against the Weed family stating “The Complaint alleges negligence against Defendant City of Frederick and Defendant Frederick County with relation to their law enforcement/EMS response services at The Great Frederick Fair,” Solt wrote. “EMS workers employed by the County enjoy immunity when providing medical care, provided the act or omission is not one of gross negligence.” The judge sided with both the City, County, and security company.

Is the fair truly safe? Just three years ago a man died on the fairgrounds over a dollar bill. Recently fights have been breaking out at the fair over trivial issues and the police say it’s perfectly safe to go to the fair. Is the fair safe and are these just freak occurrences? Or is there a greater issue with security and safety that is being overlooked to keep the fair functioning? Whatever the case may be, the fair is an icon of Frederick and I hope that it stays that way and only becomes safer for the visitors.