Burlington County carnival kicks off amid recent chaos at South Jersey events

Leland Pinder Image
Tuesday, June 11, 2024
Burlington County carnival kicks off amid recent chaos at South Jersey events
Burlington County carnival kicks off amid recent chaos at South Jersey events

CINNAMINSON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- St. Charles Borromeo Church's week-long carnival in Cinnaminson, New Jersey kicked off Monday night.

It's family-friendly fun that's long been a staple in the community.

"This is our single largest fundraiser. It allows us to fund many of our ministries. It supports our school, it does many things to help us, and help others," said Father Daniel Kirk.

However, just hours before the start of this year's carnival, Cinnaminson Township police sent out an alert on Facebook urging residents to remain attentive, travel in groups, and report concerns.

Cinnaminson Police Captain William Obuchowski said the post was made in direct response to recent incidents where groups have caused chaos at public events.

"This is a direct response to the issues that recently occurred at Pennsauken Township, Gloucester Township, and Wildwood where a group of subjects came to public events to create chaos. We have some intelligence that, through social media, these have been organized or staged. At this time we do not have intelligence that suggests they will show up to the carnival but we're prepared," Obuchowski said in a statement.

A summer event in South Jersey ended early Saturday night due to safety concerns, according to police.

Just this weekend, six people were arrested at Pennsauken's Summer Kickoff event, including two juveniles.

Chaos at the Gloucester Township Day Carnival earlier in the month saw 12 arrests, with 10 being juveniles.

"Hopefully people aren't acting reckless at this carnival so everybody can enjoy themselves," said Melissa Hartzell of Maple Shade.

Police say intelligence suggests groups ranging in age from 13 to people in their early 20s are organizing on social media and coming from all over South Jersey.

RELATED | At least 4 festivals across Delaware Valley canceled over public safety concerns

According to the 6abc data journalism team, at least seven recent carnivals or fairs in the tri-state were either canceled pre-emptively or shut down due to safety concerns.

Those events include:

In all, 18 people were arrested, with 2/3 of them being under 18 years old. Most of the charges appeared to be disorderly conduct or failure to disperse.

Cinnaminson Township police and church officials confirm there will be an increased police presence at the carnival throughout the week. Items like backpacks, hoodies, and masks are also not permitted.

Police will also be in surrounding neighborhoods and are working with neighborhood police departments to respond to any issues as quickly as possible if they arise.

"We really do take everything seriously and we wish to make sure that people feel safe," said Father Kirk.