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Law enforcement beefing up for Azalea Festival

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The Azalea Festival is in full bloom now, and with that comes thousands of people from out of town, and more law enforcement officers.

With more than 200,000 expected to attend the street fair alone, law enforcement has its hands full this weekend.

"We have an operational plan that's in place every year for all the festivals that come to Wilmington. So, we do what we do every year," Wilmington Police Deputy Chief Marshall Williamson said.

This is Williamson’s 31st Azalea Festival. He says a lot has changed over the years, including the number of officers they have available to patrol this event, and the number of people attending.

"The crowds are different. Now the concerts are added. The other events around town bring in a lot more people,” Williamson said.

Sheriff Ed McMahon says everyone should be aware of their surroundings, but he says there is no reason to worry, everyone is as safe as can be.

"Even though they couldn't give us specifics of exactly what they are doing due to security reasons they said they have plenty of plans in place to keep you safe,” Williamson said.

Williamson says attendees should be patient, and report any suspicious or reckless behavior.

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