The kids' area will also feature a mechanical ride, a rock wall and bungee jumps this year.
Additionally, there will be a flower show in the Alice Boyle Garden Center and gardening ideas and materials for plant lovers in the Bland Gardens - on the gazebo side of the gardens. Gardeners will again be able to purchase a wide variety of plants.
Kennedy said each year the festival tries to highlight a local artist. This year, it will be Michael Duffy of Sumter. Duffy specializes in sculptures, and his work will be featured each day in the Bland Gardens.
Saturday brings the Shrine Day Parade with many units, including bands, clowns and a float carrying the festival's kings and queens.
Prisma Health Tuomey Community Health Initiatives will also provide free screenings for adults.
An extensive food court and the Marketplace - both in the Heath Gardens on the south side - will be open all three days, offering a diverse selection of food, arts and crafts. According to Kennedy, each year the festival features about 125 or more vendors.
Several new vendors have applied to the festival this year, and Kennedy said she expects there will be new artwork for attendees to take in.
Festival-goers can also enjoy free pontoon boat rides - the Iris Festival is the only time they're available - to get a swan's-eye view of the lake and gardens.
Again this year, the Iris Festival will have two car shows - one Saturday and another on Sunday.
Throughout the festival, a variety of entertainment will be presented on several stages.
Kennedy said if there is good weather, the festival can average anywhere from 40,000 to 60,000 attendees.
Admission is free. There is a $5 donation for admission to the Taste at the Gardens for people 13 and older and a charge by individual vendors for food tastings and art purchases. Kennedy said she encourages anyone and everyone to come out for a great show.
"We hope everybody comes out," Kennedy said, "and we're praying for good weather and a lot of blooms."
She said she also wanted to thank the festival's sponsors for their support.
"Without our sponsors, we wouldn't be able to offer all these things for free," Kennedy said. "It's very rare to go to a festival that the kids' area is free. You normally pay. Because of the response from the community and the sponsorships, we are able to offer free entertainment to all those who attend."