Growing Concerns About Festival Safety After Shots Ring Out at Chicago's Shakespeare in the Parks

After shots erupted at Columbus Park during Thursday's performance, concerns have surfaced about event safety

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Some people have voiced worries about safety at Chicago summer festivals after gunshots disrupted a Shakespeare in the Parks performance Thursday night, leading to the cancellation of weekend performances.

Crowds had gathered at Columbus Park to see Shakespeare in the Parks when all of the sudden gunshots rang out just before 7 p.m.

"All these kids started scrambling from the parking lot and playground area and attendees hit the deck and started running as well," said witness Keith Yearman.

Spectators laid on the grass while performers hid between instruments.

Yearman, a freelance photographer, captured the chaotic moments on camera.

"The mood certainly changed quickly, people were jumping on their phones, calling police," he said.

Fortunately, no one was injured. The random incident was top of mind for many who planned to attend upcoming summer events.

"You second guess what’s happening, but you know, you gotta live your life," said one resident, Samir Lakhani.

In Humboldt Park, the largest Hispanic festival in the Midwest is underway. A few blocks east, the annual Wicker Park fest is also drawing large crowds.

"Security heightened for all street festivals this year, Chicago police, fire department and all kinds of different things you can see and can’t see," said Courtland Hickey, chairman of the Taste of Lincoln Avenue.

At the Taste of Lincoln Avenue, which began its 38th year Friday night, precautions are in place, including bag checks. Several Chicago police officers are also on site for safety.

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