FORT WORTH, Texas — It seems every year when Fort Worth's Main Street Arts Festival rolls around, the headlines feel the same. Severe weather. Rain. Hail. Wind!
Yes, the chance of severe weather is a tradition at the four-day fest, and by now organizers have come to expect the questions from reporters.
"It's a question I get every year. I'm a pro at it," said Claire Armstrong, festival spokeswoman.
They are on top of it. They monitor severe storms and are ready to make temporary closures if required. But tents are built to sustain 50 mph winds, and they expect to remain open rain or shine.
Artists know what to expect too, and some like festival favorite Andrew Carson even welcome it.
"The more wind the better," Carson said.
His kinetic sculptures need the breeze to come to life. He builds them in his Seattle studio and has brought them to Fort Worth for the festival for more than 20 years. He tells possible patrons that they are built to live outdoors and even survive most hail.
"The weather's really not a problem at all, and it's why I keep coming back," he said.
The truth is most of the time, the weather at the festival is extremely pleasant. Thursday was perfect for strolling down Main Street in the sun, sipping refreshments, and taking in new artists. It's a highlight of spring for hundreds of thousands of visitors, and it's also vital for the artists who bring their pieces.
More than 1500 artists applied from around the world this year, and just 223 were selected to show in booths. "We're expecting to sell over $4 million worth of art this year," said Armstrong.
"It's huge," said artist Ariel Davis. "A lot of people are asking about commissions."
Davis is participating in the festival for the first time this year, and she didn't have to travel far. She's one of a small number of local artists who have been selected. Her studio is in Fort Worth, and she draws inspiration for her oil paintings from strong women who she knows in the community.
Today, Davis even brought a current project into her booth and was mixing paint and making brush strokes while passersby looked on. "Just putting eyes on your work. People who might never step in a gallery," Davis said.
It's a big opportunity, and she hopes people will see more than just the weather. The way we view art and a festival is up to us.