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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Arts apart-MAIN ST. bustles with business

Throngs gather around the WaMu stage Friday night to hear Cowboy Mouth during the MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival in downtown Fort Worth, which also featured art, crafts, food and drink.  Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian
Throngs gather around the WaMu stage Friday night to hear Cowboy Mouth during the MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival in downtown Fort Worth, which also featured art, crafts, food and drink. Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian

By Sarah McVean/photo editor

Throngs gather around the WaMu stage Friday night to hear Cowboy Mouth during the MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival in downtown Fort Worth, which also featured art, crafts, food and drink.  Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian
Throngs gather around the WaMu stage Friday night to hear Cowboy Mouth during the MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival in downtown Fort Worth, which also featured art, crafts, food and drink. Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian

The fine arts, entertainment and culinary arts brought 445,000 people to a four-day festival, marred only by some threatening weather, on a single street in Fort Worth.

Over four days, 206 artists, 21 culinary arts and 111 performances filled Main Street in Fort Worth from the courthouse to the convention center.

The MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival is the Southwest’s largest arts festival.

The festival participates in Young People’s Art Fair helping more than 300 middle-high school students from the Fort Worth ISD bring their art to the festival to sell.

For two days, the students sold their art to the public and learned about customer service.

The Artist-in-Residence is another way the MAIN ST. Arts Festival helps young artists grow.

Paintings by Suzy Scarborough.  Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian
Paintings by Suzy Scarborough. Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian

This program involves 10 artists who visit schools in the area to provide insight into the art industry, demonstrate their work and teach specifically in their medium.

Late Thursday afternoon a severe weather warning dampened the MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival. Between 23,000 and 28,000 festivalgoers had to be evacuated.

“I received information that possible tornados, large hail, high winds and heavy rains were moving directly toward Fort Worth and the event area,” Russell McVean, security manager for MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival, said.

Ceramics by Gregory Story.  Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian
Ceramics by Gregory Story. Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian

It took only 33 minutes to evacuated people from the event site.

The weather that hit the festival was pea- to marble-size hail and heavy rain. All proper event evacuations were followed, McVean said.

A mass message was sent to all artist letting them know of the weather and telling them to shut down their tents and start evacuating.

Announcements were given from all the main stages, and the event site was sealed off, letting no one enter.

“We had some major confrontations with artists trying to come back to try and save their art, but ‘people before property’ is my saying, and my main priority was making sure everyone was safe,” McVean said.

Warning sirens in west Fort Worth could be heard on the streets of downtown, but the event security was also responsible for informing surrounding businesses with patio seating areas of the weather danger.

“Texans, of course, know how to take cover during weather like this, but we had people from all over the nation and the world, so we had to tell them how to duck and cover and to stay away from glass,” he said.

“There was not much damage in the long run. No tents were damaged, and we had only a couple of reports of artwork damaged,” he said.

A young visitor to the MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival last weekend gets her face painted in the children's area. The area also included wall climbing, arts and crafts, sand sculptures and other hands-on activities.  Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian
A young visitor to the MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival last weekend gets her face painted in the children’s area. The area also included wall climbing, arts and crafts, sand sculptures and other hands-on activities. Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian

In the past 13 years, McVean has been security manager for the festival, and a weather evacuation has happened four times.

“With the corporation of on- and off-duty police and security personnel, it was by the book—no casualties,” he said.

The MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival grows bigger each year and offers more activities and art to its audience.

For more information about the arts festival, go to www.mainstreetartsfestival.org.

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