PORTLAND — The city’s 37th annual Old Port Festival got off to promising start this morning as a large crowd gathered on Exchange Street to watch the festival’s kickoff parade.

Though it was overcast, it was also cool and not raining – both good signs for a celebration that has often been disrupted by rain.

“We’re in great shape. The weatheris holding nicely,” said Janis M. Beitzer, Executive Director of Portland’s Downtown District – the festival’s chief sponsor. “With the weather being the way it is, I think we’ll hit 40,000 visitors over the course of the day.”

The Old Portland Festival, which features performances by several live bands, a trapeze swing, pony rides, and dozens of displays by Maine craftsmen, will run through 5 p.m. today.