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Dogwood Festival organizers say warnings to gang members are normal precautions

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -

Organizers of Fayetteville's Dogwood Festival acknowledged Thursday this is not the first year they have warned gang members to stay away. Letters have gone out to gang members saying they would face trespassing charges for attending this weekend's festival.

Greg Hathaway, the Chairman for the festival's Board of Directors said it is a proactive step they think has been effective in past years. He said the public just has not known about it.

"It's not anything we haven't been dealing with for years," Hathaway said. "It's not the first year that letters have gone out. It's just what we've been doing, and that's why we have such a great festival."

Hathaway said he understands that some people may be alarmed by the police action to deter gang violence at the festival, but he said it is just something the organizers have found beneficial.

"The best to not let [gang violence] happen is to not let them come to the party," Hathaway said. "If we didn't do that then people would be complaining that we weren't doing it. This is business as usual."

The festival begins Friday and ends Sunday evening. It is free. Food and crafts are available for a price.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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