CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Bessie Smith Strut appears to have been a safe and uneventful night.
Police employed new methods to ward off troubles of the past.
This year, there were only four ways to get in and out of the festival. No more getting in through vacant parking lots or over barricades.
Vendors wore official ID cards. They stopped serving alcohol at 8:30 pm and food at 9pm.
Those new practices seem to have assured a night of what was intended, food, fun and family entertainment.
"This is my 1st year out of 30 years to be at the Bessie Smith Strut and it was soooo fun," says Gordy Uren.
Excitement at the strut was limited to the stages and the bar-b-ques.
"And the food is wonderful and the people were just great. No nasty people. It was wonderful," says Uren.
"Everybody was so cool, so calm, so happy. So, it was cool," says Tasha Best.
That's just what police had in mind when they revamped their security effort this year, about 120 officers and limited access points.
Strut-goers say they weren't at all hassled.
"If you're safe on your own, you shouldn't even worry about the police. So, I was feeling safe, period," says Best.
"Everybody was courteous and good. Good people. Good people," says Uren.
The only complaint was the early ending time.
For Anthony Coats, while the crowds may have been friendly.
"It was too many people. It was like sardines!," says Coats.
The changes didn't diminish the Strut's popularity and didn't spoil a good time.
If you didn't make it this year, maybe you were holding off to see how it would end. Uren has a message about next year.
"Make plans to go because it's fun. A lot of fun," says Uren.
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