FORT WORTH -- Mayfest organizers are banking on warm weather and sunny skies this week to bring the Fort Worth festival into the black, two years after swine flu threatened to end it for good.
"We are not 100 percent recovered, but we're almost there," festival spokeswoman Shannon Baumgardner said. "We are confident we'll be at full strength after this weekend."
The four-day festival is expected to draw some 200,000 people to the banks of the Trinity River. The forecast calls for lots of sun, a good breeze and highs in the 80s, said Nick Hampshire, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
That is good news to Fort Worth's oldest family festival, which was canceled just hours before the gates were to open in 2009 when the swine flu scare swept through Tarrant County and the country. The closure caused Mayfest to struggle, and organizers feared that the festival would end. Mayfest lost about $500,000 and had to tap reserves to repay some vendors and sponsors.
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But community donations and strong attendance in 2010 helped rescue the festival, which raises money for community programs for awareness and improvement of city parks and the Trinity River, Baumgardner said. Organizers built the reserves to $300,000 after last year and need $200,000 more in reserves. "There is no reason to think Mayfest will not be here for many years to come," Baumgardner said.
New this year is the FlippenOut Extreme Trampoline Show, which features high-level athletes performing stunts. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will offer exhibits highlighting the state's outdoor activities, such as camping, fishing and bird-watching.
Parking has also been tweaked. Visitors will not be able to park at TCU as in past years because the festival coincides with graduation. Parking will instead be available at Will Rogers Coliseum's Harley lot for $3, and a shuttle will take people to Mayfest. Parking at Farrington Field will be $10.
Sarah Bahari, 817-390-7056