Main Street Arts Festival Opens in Fort Worth

Four day event could host more than 400,000 people

Carla English-Smith

The largest arts festival in Texas is underway in the heart of Downtown Fort Worth.

The Main Street Arts Festival runs along Main Street from the Convention Center to Belknap Street, and several side streets in-between.

Organizers expect as many as 400,000 people to attend the festival over the next four days; attendance records could be broken if the weather doesn't turn foul.

There are 213 artists exhibiting their works in various fields. They were selected from 1,400 applicants and are expected to sell $4.6 million in art during the festival.

That's why Kent Kraus of Santa Fe, New Mexico, keeps bringing his sculptures back to sell.

"We've been down here, seven, eight, 10 times," Kraus said. "It's one of my best-selling shows, so I recommend everybody come down, look at the art and take one home."

Those coming to Main Street should expect plenty of traffic, with streets shut down or narrowed to just one lane. Parking in nearby parking lots will be at a premium.

"We highly recommend using public transportation," said Claire Bloxom Armstrong, festival spokeswoman.

The festival urges folks to ride their own bikes, and store them at a temporary bike corral, or try the new bike sharing system which has 14 stations near the festival. There are also $1 shuttles for visitors to use.

"They have park and ride shuttle service that runs every 20 minutes, so you can park your car at Farrington Field or Billy Bob's Texas," Bloxom Armstrong said.

Once downtown, festival visitors should expect to see plenty of police. In addition to uniformed officers, there will also be plain clothes officers among the crowds. It's a security measure put into place following the Boston Marathon bombing and is now standard protocol for events.

Fort Worth police ask that visitors not bring unnecessary bags and to keep bags with them at all times. They also ask people to report suspicious activity to police.

Some of the new features this year at the festival include a new craft beer garden in General Worth Square and the first year of using the new Sundance Square Plaza, which houses one of the performing stages and many artists as well.

In addition to the artists, 213 different performers will take to three concert stages over the four-day festival.

The festival opens at 10 a.m. each of the four days, ending at 10 p.m. on Thursday, 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 8 p.m. on Sunday.

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