NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) --Crews are busy getting the Naperville Ribfest grounds ready to host huge crowds over the weekend. This is the annual festival's 29th year, but this year, there will be some significant changes in security.
"A big fest like this where we could have anywhere up to 50,000 people per day, we want to plan accordingly and make sure we have the safest plan in place," Jason Arres, a Naperville police spokesperson, said.
Police say they have never had a big security issue at Ribfest, but in the current climate with terrorist attacks becoming more common, authorities say they are taking no chances.
"That's the thing that keeps you up at night, as a mayor, we want to make sure we avoid that at all costs," Steve Chirico, Naperville's mayor, said.
The city will use a drone to help survey the grounds for security threats before the gates open. Naperville's fire department is one of the first agencies in the state to get FAA certification for the drone and they expect it to help in a variety of situations.
"If there's somebody missing or any type of significant event going on, we can utilize it for that," Andy Dina, from the Naperville fire department, said.
Police say they also plan to have plenty of officers both in uniform and in plainclothes roaming the crowd. And they plan for the first time to have officers posted above the crowd on risers.
"You get a different vantage point a better look at the entire crowd to see if any issues arise," Arres said.
In the event of severe weather, police say they have an evacuation plan in place.