NORFOLK, Va. - Massive crowds are expected in Downtown Norfolk for the 2017 Harborfest and preparation is underway.
Thousands are expected at Town Point Park this weekend and News 3 met up with organizers to ask them what they are doing to protect the public.
A ship from Educador is already docked and ready for the festivities.
Captain Jorge Cardenas, the Ecuadorian Navy Liaison said, “We really enjoy it because it makes friendships between countries that are far away.”
Organizers told News 3 they are expecting up to 300,000 people over the course of the event.
C.E.O of Festevents Karen Scherberger said anyone coming down for the event can expect a fantastic time.
She said this year Downtown Norfolk has a lot of new elements to make the experience even better for the public like Waterside, the Main and all other restaurants in the downtown area.
Scherberger said the event has been going on for 41 years and always drawn a big crowd with all kinds of fun entertainment, but said safety is a top priority.
“There is a lot of fun and excitement but if you pull back the layers and it’s an operation,” said Scherberger, “There are various layers of security that the public will see. Then there are layers that the public does not see.
The safety operation includes Norfolk Police and Firefighters, the Coast Guard, Homeland Security, State Police and Custom Officials among other agencies.
“The world is what the world is and we are doing our due diligence. We are being alert and vigilant to make sure we are prepared to respond to any type of incident,” said Scherberger.
She said the high military presence in this community puts us at an advantage when it comes to safety.
“It’s just part of the culture being vigilant and alert and prepared. It’s just part of the Hampton roads culture,” said Scherberger.
The event officially begins Friday at noon and runs all weekend.
Click here for information about all the planned festivities.