By Carlos Correa

LODI (CBS13) — More food, entertainment and plenty of security measures are in place as the community kicks off the annual Lodi Grape Festival.

Thousands of people are expected to walk through the gates. Organizers said they have been working to make sure there are no fights or crime at the event over the next few days.

Mark Armstrong takes pride in knowing families that will be visiting the Lodi Grape Festival are going to be safe. He has been working on a plan.

“It’s very important that when they walk in the gate, they are welcome, you know, feel safe here. I think that is our tradition. I have four kids and I feel through the years I’ve always let them do their thing in the carnival and enjoy the fair and I wouldn’t do that if I didn’t feel it was safe,” he said.

Over the years security at the festival has improved. There are more police officers and private security on staff. Management has improved the lighting. It’s no re-entry rule is strictly enforced.

“You come in, you don’t get a handstamp, we don’t have a handstamp for reentry. You come in, enjoy the fair and if you choose to leave, you have to pay to get back in,” said Armstrong.

Organizers said the measures they have taken to keep the event safe has paid off. There really hasn’t been any serious problems in a number of years. It’s something both community members and vendors have noticed.

“We deal with a lot of money out here so we can walk out of here and people are safe with the cash, but they have security at every gate and there is never any problem here it’s a good family fair,” said vendor Tom Stroud.

The Lodi Grape Festival is celebrating its 81st year. Organizers are expecting 70,000 people enjoying the food, entertainment and of course the weather.

“The weather is going to be beautiful, the high may be in the 70s or low 80s so it’s going to be wonderful,” said vendor, Fred Valadez.

Organizers are expecting the weather to cooperate. The Lodi Grape Festival runs through Sunday.

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