“We just keep growing, and I think that's good. It speaks a lot to the amount of support in our state for the creative industry and the arts in general,” she said.
With the arrival of the weekend, the festival will mix with even more entertainment options.
The Barons, Oklahoma City's American Hockey League team, will take on the Charlotte Checkers in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs.
The best-of-five Western Conference quarterfinal series starts in Oklahoma City at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Cox Convention Center.
“To have two of our neighbors who are heavily successful in the sports industry both in the playoffs right next door to our event, that's awesome. That definitely says so much for downtown,” Hawthorne said.
In nearby MidTown, the recently revived H&8th Night Market will gather food trucks like Roxy's Ice Cream Social, Taste of Soul Egg Roll and Urban Agrarian along with local bands like Honky Tonk Stepchild, The Waymires and Sonic Violence from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday.
Friday also will see the start of a new monthly event: Final Friday on Film Row, which will showcase visual artists, musicians, dancers and performers of all types from 6 to 9 p.m.
As part of the inaugural Final Friday on Film Row festivities, Individual Artists of Oklahoma will host an opening reception for a new exhibit of Michelle Junkin's modern mixed-media landscapes of Oklahoma.
Appropriately enough, the new exhibit is called “On the Rise.”
“There's so many wonderful things to do in the state of Oklahoma, and the arts festival is one of the flagship events,” Dolese said. “We're just proud to be part of what brings people to Oklahoma.”