Shortly after rush hour traffic clears out of Clarksburg this afternoon, city police will start blocking off streets for this year's Italian Heritage Festival.
Main Street will be closed between 5:30 and 6 p.m. between Fifth and Second streets, Chief John Walker said Wednesday. All traffic will be rerouted onto Washington Street around the festival area, he said.
Main Street will remain closed until late Sunday evening, after crews have cleaned it, he said.
Cars parked in the festival zone after 5 p.m. today are subject to being towed, Walker said. The street must be cleared so vendors can set up their booths for this year's festival.
Traffic in other parts of the city also will be rerouted Saturday morning for the festival parade, which is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m., Walker said.
The parade will begin on Pike Street at Sixth Street, he said. It will proceed to Second Street, where it will cut over to Washington Street.
Those streets will be closed for 2 1/2 to three hours beginning about 9 a.m.
Police plan no major changes in the traffic plan for this year's event, Walker said.
Officers also will patrol the festival in much the same way they have in the past, he said.
"We'll have extra officers downtown for the festival," Walker said. "They'll mostly be in uniform, but some will be in plain clothes."
Normally, police make only a few arrests during the festival, Walker said. Most are for public intoxication, he said.
People are not permitted to bring alcohol to the festival, Walker said. The only spirits allowed are the beers sold by street vendors, he said.
The festival begins Friday at 11:30 a.m., with the band Amici, and the coronation of the festival queen at noon.
It starts with the parade at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and with 11 a.m. Mass on Sunday.
This year's entertainment includes Sam Butera on Friday and Saturday and Dion on Sunday.
Staff writer Paul Darst can be reached at 626-1404.