PASO ROBLES, Calif. - Paso Robles and the California Mid-State Fair are bracing for Garth Brooks Thursday with tens of thousands of people expected to flock to the fairgrounds for his two, sold out concerts.
That's on top of the thousands of people who will be at the Mid-State Fair but not going to the concerts.
The apperance of Garth Brooks at the Mid-State Fair has created a buzz and anticipated public response that hasn't been seen since Kenny Rogers performed at the Fair back in the 1980's.
"50, 55,000 people, I think", says Paso Robles Police Lt. Ty Lewis, "on a normal Fair night, you're looking at 35,000 people, so you can see that alone, that amount of people, an extra 15-20,000 people within the city, our population of our city is just over 30,000, so its going to be a significant impact to the city."
Paso Robles Police will be coordinating a massive law enforcement safety net around the Mid-State Fairgrounds on Thursday in anticipation of the huge crowds before, during and after the Garth Brooks concerts end early Friday morning.
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department will handle security inside the Fairgrounds.
"Everybody in the county, all the municipal police agencies are coming our way", Lt. Lewis says, "even as far away as Santa Maria, we have representatives from Santa Maria PD coming to help us."
Paso Robles Police and event organizers are urging those coming to the Mid-State Fair for the Garth Brooks concerts to arrive as early as possible and use off-site parking locations across the city and beyond that offer free shuttle service to and from the Fairgrounds before and after the concerts.
"The shuttle is free so that's a big plus, we're college students so we're trying to save money wherever we can" said Jessica Adam as she and a friend waited to board a free shuttle bus in downtown Paso Robles to see Keith Urban live in concert at the Fair Wednesday night.
The anticipated influx of as many as 50,000-plus people at the Mid-State Fair Thursday has filled up local hotels, motels, restaurants and bars to the delight of local business owners looking to profit from it.
"It helps everyone, brings a lot of people to Paso Robles", says Rodeo Bar owner Jerry Spencer, "that's what it's all about, come to Paso Robles have a good time."