Festival-goers will hear Nik L. Beer,starting at 7 tonight, but the official opening is tomorrow morning at 9:00 when Mayor Greg Jones, Rice Festival President JC Webb and 2010 International Rice Festival Queen Andre Lyons welcomes the crowds. Lyons' reign ends Saturday when a new queen is crowned.

The festival's general chairman, Glynn Mayard, says a recent cold front is expected to keep temperatures pleasant through Sunday's closing activities.

Vendors and carnival workers began arriving last week, sparking anticipation among area residents. Margie Thayer, of Estherwood, says the festival is her favorite. She says watching the crowds converge on the area is "just a joy to see."