SAN JOSE (KPIX) — Four vendors who were at the Gilroy Garlic Festival the day of the fatal shooting aren’t allowing fear to stop them from attending San Jose’s popular jazz festival which draws thousands of people every year.
“We’re moving on now,” said Ralph Reyes of Lord of the Ribs. “It’s terrible for the victims and everything, I feel horrible for them, felt bad for my grandkids, but we’ll be OK.”
Reyes and his grandchildren witnessed the tragedy unfold nearly two weeks ago in Gilroy.
He said he was hesitant at first about being a vendor at this weekend’s San Jose Jazz Summer Fest.
“I’m not going to let the actions of some idiot, crazy person stop my life,” he said. “So you just got to live your life.”
One vendor, however, canceled because of concerns after the shooting, according to San Jose Jazz Executive Director Brendan Rawson.
“We want people to have a good time and to be able to do that you have to feel secure,” Rawson said.
After the shooting in Gilroy, Rawson immediately began communicating with San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo and police chief Eddie Garcia about tightening security at the event that’s expected to attract about 40,000 visitors.
This year they’ve hired more security and San Jose police have added more patrols.
Rawson said vendors also went through extra security checks this year.
As attendees approach the festival, they’ll notice metal detector wands, more thorough bag checks and a reduced number of entrances.
“The perimeter issues, for example, that was obviously an issue that was highlighted from Gilroy,” Rawson said.
David Rivera and Monique Brissette, who frequently attend Summer Fest, said the noticeable difference in security Friday gave them peace of mind. Rivera said he was nervous about attending the festival.
“They’re making a concentrated effort to make sure that somebody doesn’t come in with something they shouldn’t have, that everybody is safe,” said Brissette.
Liccardo tweeted that he would be attending Summer Fest and that, “with SJPD’s support, we will not allow the recent violence that has terrorized our nation undermine our collective passion for coming together to celebrate what makes a successful multicultural community.”
Despite the tragedy that unfolded just a few days ago nearby, Reyes said that he decided to attend because his family loves the jazz festival.
“Security seems like there’s a lot more presence this year,” he said. “I’m glad to see them nail it down.”
Summer Fest ends on Sunday.