Float Fest welcomes thousands, adds security

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MARTINDALE, Texas (KXAN) – The fourth annual Float Fest along the San Marcos River brought in thousands of people from all around the state. The festival has been rather controversial over the past few years whether it is complaints about noise, traffic or the trash left behind.

However, new rules this year have event organizers saying there shouldn’t be a problem.

In October, Guadalupe County Commissioners denied a mass-gathering permit for Float Fest organizers stating there were problems with litter, loud music and drunkenness. Months later, organizers were granted the permit for the event requesting more emergency personnel and security officers.

“This year was a total redesign on how we’ve done from the last couple of years, and we’ve increased security staff because of the people,” said Hays County Precinct 3 Constable Ray Helm.

Helm said he has helped with security at Float Fest every year, and he said this year there are 45 security officers patrolling — more than double what they had last year.

“Even with 15,000-16,000 people here each night, this has been the easiest I can say throughout the last three years,” said Helm.

Asst. Fire Marshal Bryce Houlton said his department has been on site since last week making sure everything is up to code and safe for all the visitors.

“Organized chaos, I think, would be the best way to call it. You know, 15,000 people all in one area, I think Float Fest has done a pretty good job,” said Houlton.

As of Sunday evening, Helm said there were only two issues during the two day event. He said one person was arrested for public intoxication and another for starting a fight, he added there were no injuries during the fight.

“The crime rate out here is very, very low to minimal,” said Helm.

And when it comes to drinking while driving, Helm claims this is one of the safest events in the area since most festival goers camp out through the night.

“They stay here all night long, so they pay to stay here in a big camp or a jail cell almost, so they’re not leaving. So, yeah, it’s a lot safer,” said Helm.

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