Grand Blanc & Genesee County folks look forward to Family Fun Fest each summer. This year, people have mixed feelings about everything after the annual event. It's necessity, location, security, should it continue, who is responsible for fighting and the alleged handgun problem(s).

Let's unpack the facts from Grand Blanc Police Department. Then, cover a few ideas to best guide us toward realistic solutions for future events of any kind. (Full disclosure, I'm part of the community--not an outsider preaching a fix.)

What happened at Grand Blanc Family Fun Fest?

Here's the official word on what happened from GBPD as widely reported by Flint area media:

  • 1. Gossip Around GB - "There were so many fights every night."
    • Not true. Here's why:
    • According to Grand Blanc Police Lt. Bryan Byarski, several small fights broke out on Saturday night around closing time. He said that caused a "chaotic" scene as some were gawking and others wanted to get away from the area.
  • 2. Gossip Around GB - "There were so many guns being waved around."
    • Not true. Here's why:
    • Byarski says, there was one handgun reported by a patron. It was spotted in someone's waistband and was not being waved at anyone. A patron reported it (calmly) to police on-site covering the four-day event.
    • During the pat down, they discovered and confiscated the weapon. That resulted others there with the individual interfering with and assaulting officers during the arrest -- not with guns.
    • Byarski said this was the only "firsthand knowledge" situation and everything else was "misinformation." There wasn't anyone waving weapons at people.
  • 3. Gossip Around GB - "It was so bad; businesses in the area didn't want to deal with violence and closed early."
    • Not true. Here's why (context from GBPD is important):
    • As police were clearing the area, they asked nearby businesses to clear people out and lock their doors until people left so nothing else could happen. Which leads to #4, below.
  • 4. Gossip Around GB - "If MTA didn't bring people into Grand Blanc this wouldn't happen."

Due to the vast majority of those individuals being juveniles from outside of the Grand Blanc community, they did not have rides to leave and were lingering in the area until they could get rides home.


  • Two important notes from GBPD's statement in #4:
    • It wasn't "just" people from outside Grand Blanc. Yes, a majority were from "outside the community."
    • They were waiting on rides to leave. Meaning parents dropped off their kids or they could have taken MTA.

The Grand Blanc Chamber and Police Department Released a Statement, too:

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What can be done to make Grand Blanc Family Fun Fest safer?

While nothing will stop the occasional fight, these ideas can help mitigate the likelihood.

  1. The entire Festival sits on high school property. It's NOT gated in any way. People can wander in and out from any direction. The GB Chamber should take a cue from Arts, Beats & Eats in Royal Oak to set up a point of entry and exit.
  2. Metal detectors/wands are necessary. They exist everywhere else in our everyday world for children and adults.
  3. Other parental/guardian ideas: Require parents to accompany their children? Age limit for unaccompanied minors after a certain time? Limits on number of unaccompanied minors in a group?
Grand Blanc Chamber of Commerce, Grand Blanc Road. Credit: Google Street View
Grand Blanc Chamber of Commerce, Grand Blanc Road. Credit: Google Street View

Grand Blanc has always prided itself on being a great community. However, that pride can give a false security like a "Perfect Gated Community" mentality vs reality. That perceived Grand Blanc "prestige" is only tarnished by parents & residents gossiping and fear mongering. Instead, offer ideas for improvement and get involved.

Lastly, thank you to Grand Blanc Police Department and event security for acting quickly to resolve the situations. We appreciate your service.

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