( dpa )- Norway's oil capital Stavanger, which along with Liverpool shares the title European culture capital 2008, on Friday was applying final touches for the opening ceremony.
The city on the south-west coast of Norway has selected the theme Open Port for the year to feature exhibitions, concerts, music festivals, shows, theatre, workshops and nature excursions.
International groups lined up for the year include Oskaras Korsunovas Theatre Company of Lithuania slated to perform Shakespeare's Hamlet and A Midsummer Night's Dream, the Handspring Puppet Company of South Africa and Israeli dance group Inbal Pinto.
Weather forecasts on Friday gave hope of some sunshine at noon (1100 GMT) Saturday when the ceremonies begin at the concert hall.
But instead of a concert, participants would depart to various staging points to present their performances, organizers said.
Acts include Norwegian acrobat Eskil Ronningsbakken, who will ride a bicycle across a tightrope over the market square. Bicycles also feature when group Dame du Lac use bicycles and boats along the small lake Breiavannet in central Stavanger.
No rain or snow was expected during the Saturday afternoon parade through the downtown area of the city while some rain was not ruled out early evening - roughly when a fireworks display was due.
In addition to some 160 pubs and restaurants, food will be on sale at outdoor stalls, organizers said.
Public broadcaster NRK was to air an evening show held in a huge marquee at the site of a future concert hall in central Stavanger.
The city of some 120,000 people was founded in 1125 and is known for its many wooden houses including warehouses and boathouses.
Sites include the 12th century cathedral, the Stavanger Maritime Museum, the Norwegian Canning Museum, which reminds of the city's past history as a canning centre, and the Norwegian Petroleum Museum.