The Frederick County Sheriff's Office on Saturday determined that a rumor on social media about a threat of violence at The Great Frederick Fair was unfounded.
The agency became aware of the rumor Friday evening on an unspecified social media platform or platforms that an "act of violence" was going to take place at the fair, which opened earlier in the day Friday, according to Taylor Clarke, a sheriff's office spokeswoman, in an email response to The Frederick News-Post's questions on Saturday. The agency posted messages addressing the threat on its Facebook and Twitter accounts shortly before 9 p.m. Friday to make fairgoers aware and indicating that investigators were not able to find any evidence to substantiate the threats.
The sheriff's office later confirmed this preliminary finding in additional posts early Saturday afternoon dismissing the threat as unfounded.
"The most important thing we would like to reiterate is that the threat was found not to be credible. As always, the Sheriff’s Office as well as fairgrounds security are working closely together to ensure a safe and secure environment for all fair goers," Clarke's statement reads in part. "We want everyone to feel safe and have fun at the fair, however as with anywhere we encourage citizens to remain alert and vigilant to their surroundings and reach out to fair security or a sheriff’s deputy if they see anything suspicious or concerning while at the fair."
Clarke also encouraged fairgoers to sign up to receive fair text alerts by texting GFFair to 888777. The alerts will include notifications about potential emergencies or incoming severe weather, and subscribers will automatically be unsubscribed when the fair closes Sept. 21.
The Frederick Police Department also acknowledged the rumor on its official Twitter account on Friday and indicated that the city's In The Streets event also taking place Saturday was somehow involved in the rumor.
Later posts on Saturday also dismissed the threat.
"Through consultation with the [sheriff's office] and the subsequent investigation, it has been determined that the social media threat was not credible," the department's update reads. "As in past years, there is a strong law enforcement presence at In The Streets. Please call us if you see any suspicious activity."
Anyone with any information concerning any additional threats of violence to either event was encouraged to contact either the sheriff's office at 301-600-1046 or the Frederick Police Department at 301-600-2102.