“It’s chaos:” Huge drag racing event draws racers, spectators and complaints

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TOWN OF PARIS -- "Larry's Fun Fest" is one of the biggest events at the Great Lakes Dragaway every summer. Some neighbors say the crowds and chaos have gotten out of control.

Before it was called "Larry's Fun Fest," it was known as "Black Sunday." It's a huge drag racing event that draws racers and spectators from the inner cities of Milwaukee and Chicago.

"The whole goal of this was to get a certain group of people from Illinois and Chicago to come up here and race, have fun," said Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth.

The massive event brings in more than 15,000 people to the Town of Paris, near Union Grove.

One man FOX6 News spoke with asked that we not use his name for fear of retaliation. He lives near the drag strip and said every year, the crowds get more intimidating.

"A lot of very aggressive and not very friendly looking people. You know, a lot of kind of gangster looking people," said the man. "Every year, it's chaos."

That man is not the only one complaining.

A FOX6 Investigators review of town records shows occasional complaints in the past five years about attendees weaving down county roads and squealing their tires. Also found, a town supervisor's suggestion to increase the police presence.

"I've never felt unsafe at the track," said Matt Winklmeier, a drag racer.

Winklmeier said what happened Sunday, August 13th has nothing to do with racing or Larry's Fun Fest. 30-year-old David Watson of Oswego, IL, 30-year-old Khalid Howard of Aurora, IL, and 26-year-old Derek Edwards of North Aurora, IL were shot and killed at point blank range in what officials believe was likely a gang-related shooting. Officials have said the victims were known gang members.

The gunman remains at large.

"It could happen anywhere. It could happen at a sporting event, a mall. I don't think that it's the event itself. It's just society these days," Winklmeier said.

Sheriff Beth said he was unaware of any gang-related problems at this event before the shooting. But one of his captains said there have been issues before.

It is something officials intend to investigate further.


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