New security measures and heavier police presence was a controversial topic of discussion leading up to the 107th annual Feast of the Blessed Sacrament. Some residents were upset with the idea that the feast grounds will be fenced in with only a few entry points, and having to now enter through gated security with metal detectors.
The new restrictions were pretty much identical to attending a concert, sporting event, or entering a theme park. The Feast of the Blessed Sacrament is the largest Portuguese festival in the world and anytime you attract huge crowds, security needs to be a top priority.
I attended the feast for all 4 days and at any time I could always see multiple New Bedford Police Officers in bright yellow uniforms standing by. The heavy police presence mixed with strict gate security genuinely eased my mind and allowed for everyone to just enjoy the event.
There were 4 entry points which were never more than a few minute wait to get in at its busiest of times. EMS was on site assisting with any form of medical emergencies, and most importantly there were no notable fights, brawls or any wild outbreak that took place during the feast.
The Feast organizers, New Bedford first responders, and private security put on a masterclass on public safety and I think that should make the news.
Feast of the Blessed Sacrament photo.