Warm temperatures and light winds are expected to greet visitors to the unofficial opening of spring in downtown Oklahoma City this week. Still, there's a chance the 42nd Festival of the Arts could see rain by mid-week, said a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Norman. "If you go seven or eight days in Oklahoma, you're bound to get rain,” Daryl Williams said. The festival, known for attracting rain as well as outstanding artists, kicks off its six-day run on Tuesday. A day later there's a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms with highs in the upper 70s. Wednesday is the only day this week when rain is predicted.
Hundred of artistsProduced by the Arts Council of Oklahoma City, the festival will feature 144 artists from across the state and country to show and sell their work in an array of media, from paintings and pottery to sculptures and jewelry. More than 300 performing artists will provide live entertainment. Artists begin arriving this morning to set up their booths. By Sunday, vendor tents and food booths had been set up. Still, not all preparations were complete. Volunteers — most wearing yellow T-shirts identifying them as unpaid workers — hauled away trash, planted flowers and set up staging and watered outdoor plants. The scene was much different than a day earlier. On Production Super Saturday, nearly 250 volunteers from the festival's 51 committees set up several areas. It takes 5,000 volunteers to run the festival, said Celena McCord, communications director for the Arts Council. "It's a long-standing tradition in Oklahoma City. I can remember coming down here as a child and enjoying the festival,” McCord said. "I think with an event that has been around as long as this one, people enjoy it so much. They (volunteers) look forward to it each year and having an opportunity to be a part of it.”
Forecasting storms"Wednesday looks like the weather day,” Williams said. "There's about a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms and about a 50 percent chance on Wednesday night.” Williams said this week's temperatures will be warmer than normal, with temperatures hitting the 80s on several days. The average high is about 72 to 73 degrees, Williams said.