CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Preparations are underway across Charlotte as the city prepares for two queen-sized events.
Outside Bank of America Stadium Thursday, the stage was being built ahead of the Belk Bowl Fan Fest. Thousands of fans are expected in the Queen City as the Wake Forest Demon Deacons take on the Texas A&M Aggies Friday at 1 p.m.
And in uptown, set up has begun for Charlotte's First Night New Year's Eve celebration at Romare Bearden Park. More than 6,000 people are expected to ring in the new year at the family friendly event, which kicks off Sunday at 8 p.m.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officials said they've been gearing up for quite some time.
“We've been planning for months,” said Major Gerald Smith, with CMPD's central service area.
“We watch the events around the world and around the nation and those types of things we try to build on and mitigate against that could happen here in Charlotte,” said Smith.
Major Smith says those out-and-about this weekend should expect to see a high police presence – on foot, bicycle, and motorcycle. He believes the added police will be seen all throughout Charlotte, not just around the events.
“Our security plans and measures go beyond just the event itself. You will see an increased police presence as you move out,” he explained.
He says people should also not be surprised to see officers patrolling with riffles. And when it comes to keeping cars from plowing through pedestrians, like we've seen in places like New York City, Major Smith says safety protocols will be in place.
“In the immediate area around the park you will see some things that we have put into place in order to mitigate vehicle traffic from going into the event or around the event,” says Major Smith.
But more than anything, police say they're counting on you.
“If they see something, say something. That is always the best. There are more eyes with the civilian population than with ourselves,” he says.