oakland -- For the first time since the city began street closures two years ago, Oakland First Fridays will be canceled this month because of rain.

While the monthly street party along Telegraph Avenue is off, there still will be several art exhibits on display at nearby galleries in Oakland's Uptown District.

The festival, which morphed from an art crawl into a street party with live music and art vendors, had been blessed for years by great weather, organizers said.

But this winter, despite being one of the driest on record, has not been kind to the festival.

After a surprise storm lowered attendance at the December festival, organizers decided to cancel the outdoor events when forecasts called for wet weather.

Oakland artist Evan Bendall works on an untitled painting during the First Friday/Art Murmur on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland on March 1, 2013.
Oakland artist Evan Bendall works on an untitled painting during the First Friday/Art Murmur on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland on March 1, 2013. (Ray Chavez/Staff)

"Since we've got people with art and musicians with instruments, it would be both unsafe and unfair to have an open air street festival during the rain," festival coordinator Sarah Kidder said. By canceling the street festival, which extends along Telegraph from West Grand Avenue to 27th Street, organizers avoid paying operating costs for an event that would likely have been poorly attended.

Kidder said the outdoor festival will return Friday, March 7, weather permitting.



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