POSTED: Saturday, May 11, 2013 - 6:00am
UPDATED: Saturday, May 11, 2013 - 6:04am
Baton Rouge, LA (NBC33) — When Friday's rain disappeared, thousands of people appeared on the streets of Mid-City for the annual Hot Art, Cool Nights  art hop.
For a local artist, Hot Art, Cool Nights is one of the biggest events of the year. Part of the reason is the exposure they get from having thousands of people see their work. But for an artist such as Madlyn Hicks, the chance to meet them and talk about her work is just as important.
"You know, staring at it all the time, myself, it's like you need to hear somebody else's opinion," she said. "And it's so great when it's exactly what you wanted to convey."
Rain for the cancelation or postponement of several local events Friday night. Hot Art, Cool Nights was not going to let the weather get in the way, but Hicks was nervous.
"I was sweating buckets," she said, laughing. "I told them yesterday, I said, 'I'll be out early,' and I didn't come out early, because I was glued to the weather!"
Patrons were not as concerned.
"No, we were going to come whether it rained or shined," said Caitlin King. "We want to support local businesses."
The rain stopped thirty minutes before the art hop was scheduled to begin. The timing could not have been better.
"Everybody, I mean, it was like it was choreographed," Hicks said. "They all came out. And the tents started going up real quick, and then, like a flash, people stated coming out."
King and Blake Wilson walked from shop to shop with their young daughter. They live in Mid-City and have gone to Hot Art, Cool Nights each of the last three years.
"(We) enjoy seeing the art and mingling with our friends," Wilson mentioned. "It's a neighborhood thing, so you can see a lot of people from around town that you know, haven't seen for a while."
To take part, stores had to agree to showcase a local artist, even if they sell food, furniture, or tennis apparel. Thirty seven wanted in. They were supported by live music, as well as tents featuring wine tastings and olive oil tastings
Events like this are important, "especially for new businesses," Liz Walker said, "or smaller businesses that typically don't get but one or two customers a day, it gets their name out there."
Walker, who owns Elizabethan Gallery on Jefferson Highway, organized the art hop. She added that for many stores, even with the high level of foot traffic, the payoff will come later.
"They look, they're making notes, and then they come back tomorrow, once they've slept on it, and they say, 'no, I gotta get that piece right now.' And then they come back the next day."
Walker said the threat of rain likely kept the crowd a little smaller than usual. But she figured that nearly 8,000 people would show up.