Tropic Hut Goes To Reno's First Rockabilly Riot
Saturday's weather was a bit
chilly and breezy, which probably kept some attendees away from
the event, but it wasn't cold or windy enough to cause any worries.
It was Saturday night, just as I was closing up shop, when the
winter storm that had been predicted began to move into the
area. Temperatures dropped and winds picked up dramatically. I
strapped down Tropic Hut as best I could and hoped for the best.
Next morning, Sunday (and remember this is mid May), I arrived at the event site around 10 AM. Temperature was 38 degrees, winds were blowing pretty hard, and I discovered my sink/cabinet unit had been blown over. That was with two full 5 gallon water containers on it. I got the cabinet righted and started to open shop by getting the first pots of coffee brewing.
About twenty minutes later Mother Nature unleashed her fury. Suddenly the wind gusts jumped to such force that my entire stand was being pushed back against the stand behind mine. Two nice fellows rushed over to help me hang on to my banner frames. The three of us kept the stand from blowing away entirely, but the wind was so strong it broke off the PVC pipes holding my banners at the top.
Inside my tent a wind gust blew an Air Pot off its perch, sending it crashing to the pavement. A moment later my lovely glass iced tea dispenser met its end. The entire cash register counter toppled. The interlocking supports for my E-Z Up Tent broke and popped apart all around the enclosure. Each banner frame or tent support made a surprisingly loud "crack" as it broke. Cups, straws and sugar packets were flying all over the place.
I have never been in a tornado or hurricane, but I now have much more appreciation for people who have. It is difficult to realize just how damaging and frightening strong winds are until you have witnessed their power first hand. My Tropic Hut stand took considerable damage, but I was actually one of the lucky ones. A ceramics vendor at this event had two large display cases blown over, breaking the glass on the cases and smashing all the ceramic figurines inside. A t-shirt vendor watched helplessly as entire racks of t-shirts were blown right off their hangers and sailed off with all the other debris and sand in the air.
The cruel winds lasted about an hour before they died down enough for me to pull apart the banner frames, which were cracked and broken in many places by then. Winds continued to blow, but not quite as hard, and with the banners down there was much less surface for the winds to blow against and wreak havoc. That's when I took the pictures below.