ST. LOUIS – Despite clouds in the sky and rain on the radar, St. Louisans flocked to Forest Park Wednesday for the kick-off of summer break.

“My dad was off. My brother was home. So we just decided we wanted to come out. Do something as a family,” Paige Hoffman said.

Grizzly bears Huck and Finley were jumping with joy to have lots of company at the Saint Louis Zoo. The stingrays also had plenty of attention as families spent the day together.

“We went to Rooster this morning for breakfast then headed over to the zoo. We know that people stayed away because of the rain forecasted but it ended up being a beautiful day over there,” said Terri Kunz from Granite City.

St. Louis Shakespeare Festival hopes the rain won’t keep folks away. Wednesday is opening night of “Much Ado About Nothing,” the festival’s 22nd production in Forest Park. And St. Louis weather is a member of the company.

“Come drizzle or shine, we will be performing. If it gets worse, then maybe we stop. That call gets made later,” said Sorab Wadia, who is playing Don John, the villain of the show. “Also, water pooling on the stage. Steps getting slick with moisture. Costumes sometimes feel fine and sometimes feel really heavy and musty and ewww because of the humidity.”

Wadia is from Bombay, India. The veteran actor is in St. Louis for his first show. He says the cast is ready for the excitement that an audience brings. And he hopes they can entertain Shakespeare fans and first-timers alike.

“Yesterday, there were a few people for our dress rehearsal, and I got booed when I came out for my curtain call. And I loved that because they were obviously invested enough to hate me to boo me. And I thought that was a win.”

“Much Ado About Nothing” will run through June 26, 2022, with performances at 8 p.m., Tuesdays through Sundays. Come out early to picnic and catch the pre-show. As always, performances are free.