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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The EQT Three Rivers Regatta begins Friday afternoon, and this year, the festivities are getting bigger, expanding to part of Liberty Avenue.

Organizers are expecting more than half a million visitors over three days. So, keeping people safe is top of mind for police.

The food booths are set up, so is the stage, and the impressive sand sculpture of a locomotive and passengers is nearly complete.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

But something they’ve been planning for months is security.

“Safety is our number one thing, always for everything,” said Derek Weber, one of the regatta organizers. “We’ve spent months with City of Pittsburgh Public Safety, police, EMS, water rescue and the Coast Guard.”

Pittsburgh Public Safety says it’ll have a zero tolerance policy for any type of disorderly conduct. Prohibited items include alcohol, drones, grills, laser pointers, illegal weapons, explosives or ammunition.

There will police on horseback, and Allegheny County, state and city of Pittsburgh officers will all be on patrol, as well as hired security.

Lisa Washington’s Report:

“The presence is a little bit more. We’ve actually added some from in the past,” said Weber.

They’ll have an especially heavy presence at entrances and exits. It’s unclear if dump trucks filled with sand will be used, like at some previous city events.

And, like at many concerts and sports events nowadays, there will be sporadic bag searches.

“I think for safety reasons, I think it’s necessary, but I also don’t want to stand in line it’s like taking away from the fun,” said Paige Becoate, a Penn Hills resident who is planning on going to regatta weekend.

That fun this year includes three championship races – Formula 1 Power Boats, jet-ski championships and paddleboad championships.

Sugar Ray will headline the musical acts. And, of course, there’s the popular ALCOSAN Anything That Floats Race.

David Highfield