Kevin Cokely, NBC 5 News
Dallas Area Rapid Transit is preparing to move as many as 100,000 people who are expected to attend MegaFest, a three-day family festival, in Downtown Dallas.
Brace yourself for big crowds in downtown Dallas later this week.
MegaFest, a three-day family festival organized by Bishop T.D. Jakes, is coming to town on Thursday, and 50,000 to 100,000 people are expected to attend.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit is adding longer trains and schedules, along with 29 shuttle buses to move attendees between the events at three venues -- the American Airlines Center, the convention center and the Omni Dallas Hotel.
"In terms of the number of people, it's comparable to a state fair type of event," DART spokesman Morgan Lyons said.
DART hopes to avoid mistakes made in Atlanta several years ago, when hundreds attending MegaFest were left stranded late at night.
"We're adding more capacity and more frequency, and it will be over an extended period of time," Lyons said. "That's not only to take care of the anticipated customers coming for MegaFest, but also to take care of our daily customers."
Still, many trains and buses may be running full, so daily commuters should plan ahead now.
"It may take you a little bit longer, so if you can leave a little bit early, alter your schedule a little bit, you may have a better experience than your normal schedule," Lyons said.
Signs are going up around downtown Dallas to welcome the crowds.
"Dallas has just rolled out the red carpet for MegaFest," MegaFest spokeswoman Michelle Blielberg said.
Oprah Winfrey, Steve Harvey and Jennifer Hudson are among the big names scheduled to appear at MegaFest, which could pump as much as $70 million into the local economy.
"Overall, what people can expect is to be renewed to hear messages of hope and inspiration but, at the same time, just have fun," Blielberg said. "There's lots of activities for kids and families."