Altamont fairgrounds vandalized, village rallies in support

— Photo from Amy Anderson

Taggers recently vandalized the Altamont fairgrounds. 

ALTAMONT — When Altamont Fair Manager Amy Anderson recently posted on social media about two incidents at the fairgrounds and asked for the public’s help in catching the suspects, members of The Altamont Community Facebook page responded by pledging $700 to help the fair purchase new cameras. 

On June 18, Anderson wrote, “Last night, a tagger had a great deal of fun at the fairgrounds vandalizing our property. Police were notified. Today, a gentleman, risking the lives of the children riding with him (no one had helmets on), was racing around our parking lot on a moped or dirt bike at a high rate of speed and when confronted, verbally assaulted my employees. Police were once again notified.”

 Altamont Police Chief Todd Pucci said that his department is investigating both complaints but has yet to find the perpetrators in either incident, and added that there hasn’t been any suspect activity at the fairgrounds in recent months.

“These are the first couple of calls we’ve had in a while,” he said. 

Pucci said the department’s success rate in solving these kinds of cases, referring to the tagging and other likely teen-related activity, has “been pretty high,” and that police usually end up making arrests. 

As for the donations, Anderson is very grateful but they aren’t what is needed right now. 

“Although we greatly appreciate the efforts of the community to raise funds to purchase more cameras for the fairgrounds, the reality is that we just invested upwards of $4,000 on cameras and are doubtful that more cameras will help,” Anderson wrote in an email to The Enterprise. 

What is needed right now, according to Anderson, is the community’s help.

“We are keeping the gates open so that our friends and neighbors have a place to walk, ride bikes, exercise and spend time together as families. We need those very people to protect our property like they protect their own,” she writes. “Go back to the days of ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ If you see misbehavior, say something. If you see children climbing on rooftops, please stop them and let us know.”

Fair Treasurer Pat Canaday told The Enterprise, “It’s just frustrating when you’re trying to do good things and then people don’t take the same level of responsibility or care for our things as we would for them.”

She pointed to some of the people postering on the The Altamont Community Facebook page who were complaining that some people don’t pick up after their dogs, as an example.

Workers who mow the fairgrounds have to deal with the excrement, which ultimately, becomes an expense because time — and, therefore, money — is spent cleaning up.

And then there are others who continually cut through the fairground gates that run parallel with the railroad tracks, Canaday said.

“They keep cutting the fencing; they’re not walking around, they’re just walking through,” she said. “So, we’ve got to repair that every time it’s damaged, and that takes away from things we could be doing positively.”

As for having to restrict hours or taking other measures that would close the fairgrounds to the public, she said, “We’re not there yet; we just want to encourage people to be responsible for themselves.”

Canaday said that among the only reasons the fairgrounds would have for locking its gates would be for events, like the Old Songs Festival, the Scottish Games, or the fair itself — otherwise the grounds are open to the public. 

“We’re sharing our property with the community and trying to keep people safe, and have it have it be a win-win for everybody,” she said. 

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