OTW Kicks Off; Heat a Concern

By: Whitney Martin and Stephen Johnson
By: Whitney Martin and Stephen Johnson

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Food inspectors will be hard at work over the holiday, as this year's On The Waterfront festival gets underway.

More than 40 food vendors at the festival will be on routine check, as thousands will purchase foods ranging from popcorn to pulled pork.

Winnebago County Coordinator and Inspector for Events Gail Goldman said, "Well the weather is really a key factor.  In years where we have really hot weather, there's more of a risk than there would be with cooler temperatures."

ROCKFORD( WIFR) -- The countdown officially stops today: On The Waterfront 2011 just kicked off today and that means, music, food, and games, will take over down-town for the next three days.

Crews spent the day preparing for the annual festival. While some of the booths look difficult to set up, the real challenge was keeping cool. Volunteers say they took plenty of water breaks during their morning shifts. You can see the schedule here.

A month after Wisconsin’s State fair turns violent Rockford Police and a local security company says they're paying special attention to this year's On The Waterfront celebration. Today we looked at why local law enforcement say they are prepared to handle anything.

The gates opened just minutes ago at five pm hundreds of thousands of people are expected downtown this weekend and while that's exciting for staff members, it can be a little scary for some considering the big crowds they say it's going to be safer We make sure our avenues are covered

PERMAR Security out of Loves Park is watching over this year's event. Officers say they had a plan in place months ago to handle the large crowds the organization will work with the Rockford Police Department in and outside the gates some guests say they're concerned about safety at the event considering residents brought weapons into the Wisconsin State fair last month.

Chase Simmons from PERMAR Security said, " We do have a plan in place and personnel ready to respond if need be and we have police available as well to help and prevent them from happening."

Another concern tonight is the heat. They have crews driving around just dropping off water at different stations making sure everyone is safe they had a concert last night and that was only their real concern with some people battling the heat and bringing them.

On The Waterfront staff members will be checking bags and purses at the gate the Rockford Police Department says they are prepared for every situation.

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