INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana State Fair kicks off its three-week run on Friday and there’s plenty to do and eat at the fairgrounds.

On Thursday, fair officials were putting on the finishing touches to get ready to welcome back Hoosiers for the first time without COVID-19 restrictions.

“The energy is back, the staff is so excited it seems like the public is really excited,” Anna Whelchel with the state fair said. “We’re just so thrilled to be back.”

Fair officials say they’re top priority today and going forward is safety. Officials with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security spent the morning inspecting the rides in order to make sure they’re safe and ready for people.

“All these rides they travel they go throughout the country they’re set up quickly and they’re broken down and they’re onto the next one,” Matthew Cronley, chief inspector with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security said. “So we’re just here to make sure the people take their time setting up correctly.”

Inspectors will be present at the midway each day of the fair and encourage patrons to report any safety violations to them.

A different aspect of security will be seen at the fair entrances.

“There’s no weapons allowed into the fair we have magnetometers at all of our gate entrances so people can expect all of that just like they’ve seen in prior years,” Whelchel said.

Indiana State Police will be handling security at the fairgrounds and will have a large presence.

“We’ll have numerous officers in uniform, in plain clothes and some on carts patrolling the fairgrounds as well as numerous officers on foot,” Sgt. Stephen Wheeles said.

While safety is important, one of the big things you’ll need to be prepared for is the food.

“We have over 140 vendors that have some really incredibly creative new items this year,” Whelchel said.

Some of the new signature items include a pickle pizza, lemon shakeup cocktail, state fair charcuterie board and a Cheeto walking taco.

Fair officials want you to be ready for it all.

“We highly advise that people plan their trip, plan ahead,” Whelchel said.

There is ongoing construction in the area of the fairgrounds and fair officials say people should plan their route ahead of time. The fair has ways to avoid the congestion on their website.

The fair will run from July 29-Aug. 21 and the fair is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. You can purchase your tickets here.