Organizers address concerns of possible violence at Lake Reunion

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- There are questions about whether or not a popular community party in South Bend will be safe.

The party comes around every two years and some worry it will be plagued by the same violence that's hit other large gatherings this summer.

Organizers don't want their event to be overshadowed by what has happened so far this summer and say they are doing everything they can to keep the celebration from turning into a brawl.

When fighting broke out at Muessel Grove Park during the Northwest Side Reunion last month, it was just the first of several instances of violence that would happen at large gatherings in South Bend this summer.

Last Saturday at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation center, South Bend and St. Joseph County police had to break up another large brawl.

In a few days, a couple thousand people are expected to attend the Bi-Annual Lake Reunion at LaSalle Park. Organizers of the event weighed in on the recent violence.

"You're always somewhat concerned whenever you bring a large gathering of people together. Unfortunately it only takes one or two disrupt that for everyone," said Lynn Coleman, a Lake Reunion Committee Member.

To prevent that, organizers have spent a significant amount of time preparing for the event, and making security a high priority.

"We will hire off-duty South Bend police; we will hire off-duty county police," Coleman explained.

Mostly, they are relying on each other to stave off any issues before they start.

"It's not unusual that somebody will call and say, 'I understand Peter and Sam was into it last Thursday and they might be trying to settle it at the reunion'. Well we'll get a hold of them, before that. So those kind of things you have to try and do to keep the peace for everybody," said Coleman.

Both organizers and police are confident that the event will run smoothly, based on how past events have gone.

"All of those people deserve to have the best time of their life," said Coleman.

The Lake Reunion starts Friday night with a dance at the Charles Black Recreation Center. That's followed by an all-day family picnic on Saturday and an outdoor worship service on Sunday morning.

For more information about the schedule of events, click here.

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