FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – As the 53rd Three Rivers Festival gets ready to start Friday morning, we’re taking a look at some new things this year.

First, a new smart phone app will help people navigate the festival. The free app is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play. It will have a festival map, schedule, entertainment line-up, and a list of vendors and available food.

“We’re really excited to add the app this year. It makes all of the festival information that you’d ever want accessible at the touch of a finger! It reduces waste from paper guides, while ensuring that the most up-to-date information is available. It’s our hope that this is a feature our attendees will find extremely easy to use and beneficial,” John Nichter, Three Rivers Festival Board President, said in a media release.

There will also be heightened security measures at the festival in light of recent events across the country. To get into the festival plaza, people’s bags will be checked and festival-goers will be screened for weapons with a metal detecting wand.

“The safety of our volunteers and attendees is always going to be paramount. Given recent incidents across the country, we felt this extra step would be a move in the right direction to add another layer of protection. This is in addition to the robust presence of security and law enforcement officials already working diligently to keep festival attendees safe,” Nichter said.

The Three Rivers Festival officially kicks off with a ribbon cutting Friday at 11 am in Junk Food Alley at Headwaters Park.

The parade returns this year Saturday morning, signaling the start of the festival’s big events. It starts at 10 am at the corner of Rockhill and West Wayne Streets and ends at Superior and Calhoun Streets.

TRF THROWBACK: Check out the 2013 parade through the eyes of two young girls. Former WANE 15 reporter Adam Widener tells their story.

Other festival highlights:

Friday, July 8:
Junk Food Alley and the Midway open at Headwaters Park and stay open the remainder of the festival.
Hillbilly Casino Concert

Saturday, July 9:
Runners on Parade
TRF Parade
Art in the Park
Chalk Walk
CeeLo Green Concert

Sunday, July 10:
Art in the Park
Chalk Walk
School of Rock Concert

Monday, July 11:
Waiter and Waitress Contest
Drag Show

Tuesday, July 12:
Beer, Bands and Bingo (NEW!)
The Why Store Concert

Wednesday, July 13:
Family Fun Day
Bed Races
Trivia Contest

Thursday, July 14:
Ginuwine Concert

Friday, July 15:
International Village
Quiet Riot Concert

Saturday, July 16:
International Village
Children’s Fest
Here Come The Mummies Concert
Fireworks Finale

Click here for more of the TRF event line-up details.