Cool, cloudy weather Thursday evening may have put a bit of a damper on the downtown street party kicking off the annual Art About Town exhibit, creative fun was still on full display.

The Westport Downtown Merchants Association sponsored the opening night event on Main Street and the Post Road as a celebration of the month-long display of art works in stores and other businesses throughout the central commercial district.

"We have 68 artists in 60 stores," said Lee DeMonico, director of marketing for the DMA. "We're so happy to give a forum to those wonderful artists ... We're trying to do everything we can to promote local artists, visual artists, artists of all kinds."

"This is our gift to the town, because we don't charge for it," said Peggy Travers, business manager for the DMA.

This year's street party featured several artists demonstrating their skills, crafts projects sponsored by the Westport Arts Center, a contortionist, three bands and booths set up by a range of local organizations promoting their missions.

"This is one more time Westport's community shines with its artistic endeavors," said photographer Irene Penny of Westport. "And it's a happy neighborhood feeling here."

"It's really nice," agreed Patricia Louise Corbett of Wallingford, painting in oils. "The people are so nice. That's what makes the difference, when the people appreciate what you're doing."

"It's exciting," said Harry Moritz of Westport, who displayed a large mobile-type sculpture. "This is the fourth year I've done it and for me it's cool to do it every year."

All of the art, which is for sale, will be on view in stores and other businesses through June 21. For more information, visit www.artabouttownwestport.com.