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Festival fisticuffs: 8 fights reported at K-Days; man arrested for bear spray incident

It's been a violent start to K-Days, with at least eight fights and one bear spray attack reported in the first four days of Edmonton's annual exhibition.

Some of the brawls have been caught on camera, some showing multiple people punching, kicking and slamming each other on the ground.

One of the filmed fights included a uniformed employee trading punches with a young man inside a corn dog stand.

Workers in the booth later told CTV News Edmonton that the combatants are coworkers, who have since made up.

Videos of the violence are circulating online, prompting Explore Edmonton to release a statement Wednesday saying safety and security are "the top priority of festival management."

"We are aware of videos circulating showing physical altercations," it stated.

"While there have been a statistically small number of safety and security incidents, anything above zero incidents is unacceptable to us and we will continue to work hard on our safety measures."

Those include: a unified command centre including police, 24-hour security and a "significant police presence."

The festival is also using metal detectors to screen guests and doing "physical searches" for weapons, alcohol and other "dangerous devices."

Warning: The following videos contain violence and course language.

But at least one weapon made it through security. Police say officers found bear spray on an 18-year-old man who was arrested at the festival on Monday after several people were hit with spray.

"Onsite EMS also responded and treated the complainant and any bystanders impacted by the spray for minor injuries. No one was transported to hospital," a spokesperson for Edmonton Police Service confirmed to CTV News Edmonton.

The arrested teen has been charged with possession of a weapon.

Police said officers responded to 14 incidents in the first three days of K-Days, although not all of them included violence.

The brawls and bear spray don’t seem to be deterring the crowds, with about 70,000 people attending each day.

Some have even experienced violence on K-Days grounds before, but feel it comes with the territory.

"Last year we had some bear mace released and we kind of breathed that in, so we decided we’d try again and maybe not stay as late," said festival patron Jamie Sweitzer.

"It’s kinda screwed up to bring bear mace anywhere really, unless you’re going on a hike," a young man said.

"I mean we live in the city, and the same stuff happens in the city that happens on K-Days, so you know, it’s fine," said one dad who brought his kids.

K-Days wraps up on Sunday.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson Top Stories

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