Thunderstorms and record-breaking heat – that’s the type of weather greeting Mayfest as it kicks things off in Fort Worth on Thursday.
The festival is coming back to Trinity Park after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, just in time to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
MAYFEST PREPARED FOR ANY KIND OF WEATHER
But this isn't their first rodeo with unpredictable spring weather. The May 5 kick-off also falls on the anniversary of the 1995 hail storm that fell on the festival and hurt dozens of people. The historic storm also brought deadly flash flooding to the DFW area.
Organizers say it’s just the realities of living in Texas in the month of May.
Elizabeth Basham, executive director of the Trinity Collaborative – the driving force behind Mayfest – said they’ve learned many lessons over the years on how to adapt to the weather.
“What's new, you know?” she said. “We are prepared for all types of weather. I've been with Mayfest for so long -- I've seen 29-degree weather and I've seen over 100-degree weather.”
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By Thursday morning, all of the tents and temporary structures were already set up and ready to go ahead of the grand opening at 3:30 p.m. Despite a threat of storms, no major rain or wind caused any problems leading up to the kickoff.
“We have been working with the same suppliers for several years and they're used to wind and rain. Our trees have been trimmed so we're prepared,” said Basham. “As we all know, what we think might happen today may not be happening tomorrow. And so we definitely do take this a day at a time but just we are prepared. We're prepared for all types of weather.”
She said there are also weather alert teams on-site to keep watch and clear the festival ahead of any severe weather. Medical staff is also on the grounds for any type of issues that pop up.
“Please be confident in knowing that we have several weather-watchers and we're in touch with the national weather service,” Basham said.
The biggest challenge might be the record-breaking heat expected opening weekend. Organizers are encouraging people to wear light clothing and pack the sunscreen.
You can also bring a reusable water bottle because Mayfest is providing a free water station for constant access to free drinking water, courtesy of Tarrant Regional Water District.
Everything kicks off Thursday with the grand opening celebration and parade starting at 3:30 p.m.
"To say we're excited is definitely an understatement," said Basham. "We are thrilled, we are awestruck. We are ready to bring the community back into Mayfest because it truly does represent the diversity of our cities. And we know people more than ever want to be able to connect, celebrate and be able to eat together and watch fabulous performances -- all in the beautiful setting of Trinity Park."
Much of Mayfest will be cashless for the first time ever. No cash will be accepted on the grounds except for some vendors in the art and gift shopping areas.
Parking will also be cashless so make sure to bring your credit or debit cards.
Here are the ticket prices and hours for each day:
All the favorite activities will be back again this year including carnival rides, games, festival food, live music, shopping in the arts and crafts area, and a beer garden/vineyard in the Oasis section of the park.
There will also be special deals and events for Mother's Day, which falls on the last day of the festival.
All new this year, the festival will be launching the Mayfest Art Gallery.
"This is really important because it's an opportunity for more emerging local artists to showcase their artwork in a very public platform," said Basham.
Plus, for the first time in five years, Twiggy the water-skiing squirrel will be back again this year. You can find him doing what he does best at a pool set up near the Children’s Area of the park.
For a full guide on parking and planning your visit to Mayfest, click here.