High Winds, Hail and Tornadoes Blow Art Fairs to Pieces


What a hard start to the outdoor art fair season it has been for artists this year. Here I am reporting on even more damage.

Storm damage at Stone Arch Festival of ArtThe first story comes from painter Linda Massey from the Stone Arch Festival of the Arts in Minneapolis on June 14 and 15. This was one of Linda’s first outdoor art fairs and it was definitely a baptism for her. Here is what she had to say:

I am also hoping the upcoming fairs are more successful than the Stone Arch Art Festival in Minneapolis… The weather was okay during the day but Saturday nite storm flattened many, many booths. Myself and a few other artists who went down to check our set ups put “all hands on deck” for the poor string of artists that were caught in a wind tunnel. It was one 20 second gust of wind that came in and stepped on a dozen or so booths in one section and another dozen down the way.We spent the wee hours in the morn picking up during another wave of storm clouds and torrential rain…

Talk about initiation by fire… I was shocked… but also very impressed with the way all the artist banded together to help out in a crisis… I just got a thank you note from a pewter artist who had loaded up all her inventory beforehand but lost all her pro panels and tent. She was still able to set up the next day using and extra EZ up from a nearby artist and walls from another…Nice group of folks there…

No surprise to me that the artists all worked together to help one another. There is hardly a group of nicer people out there than the traveling artists, always willing to give one another a hand.

Here is the news from Friday night (June 27) at the Omaha Summer Arts Festival from Don Crozier:Omaha Summer Arts Festival

Photo courtesy of Don Ament

The Summer Arts Festival is the latest victim of the severe and unpredictable weather which seems to come up out of nowhere. Most of the artists were okay, but according to the Omaha World-Herald, 10 to 20% of the artists suffered enough damage to have to leave the festival after the Friday storm. The festival continues on after the cleanup.

A close friend, Bari Precious of Marshfield Missouri, lost her entire booth and wares, save two teapots, when a triple food tent across from her came crashing into her booth. She is heading back home at this writing and hoping have enough stock and to be able to borrow a tent for her next show on July 5th in Sedalia, Missouri.

I’m sure she’d appreciate a visit to her website and a few words of encouragement….

Story here:

And here is a video:


Another storm hit the art fair in Evanston, IL, Saturday afternoon, bringing high winds and hail and injuring ten people. The weather man says it is now headed to Michigan. I’m thinking I won’t go to an art fair tomorrow!!


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5 Responses to “High Winds, Hail and Tornadoes Blow Art Fairs to Pieces”

  1. elaine lanoue Says:

    My husband and I are part of the 12 artists that absolutely were unable to set back up to finish this potentially wonderful event. The area where we located took the high winds full force. One report said straight line winds up to 110 mph; however, another estimated 80 mph because their equipment failed at 77 mph. My husband’s booth and work was demolished and further said in high water (he does handmade paper collages) during the heavy rains. At first I thought I had not sustained much damage as my booth appeared to be standing if not caved in and I indicated I was staying. However, after we were able to cut a hole in the top of the tent to drain water on top so we could pry open the panels. several of my large canvas paintings were torn and many frames also damaged. My propanels were pushed in, twisted and bent so we determined we must go home and regroup.

    My DEEP THANKS to the MANY artists who came to our aid to pull apart the mess and help us to uncover all of the debris. I was absolutely worthless and in a state of shock and disbelief (and sadness). I had becoming a nonfunctioning human and was so truly grateful for the artists who pitched in the muck and mud and helped get us going. There were too many to mention and my husband and grandson also kept at the task. I was overwhelmed, having never experienced such a disaster and financial loss in 20 some years.

    I realize this is a very long blog but my emotions are raw right now and it is a release. If anyone got any photos of my booth I would appreciate getting them digitally as I wasn’t in any position to think. I don’t have insurance for this but I felt at least it could be covered as a casualty loss for my income taxes the end of the year and I will probably need proof beyond the photos of some of the items I brought back. We left panels and tent parts at the show because they were bent so badly.

    The good news (oh, by the way, we were robbed the night before at the Comfort Inn hotel while we were all setting up)…anyway, the good news is that we have been on the road for over 8 weeks and my husband Guiteau reminded me that if this occurred at the beginning of our journey, it would have been much worse for loss of income.

  2. freshie Says:

    What a nightmare. I am so sorry for everyone’s losses! It certainly puts my complaints about the weekend in perspective.

    I was at an outdoor show in Chicago (Randolph Street Market) and it was the windiest I’ve ever experienced – tents were moving around and umbrellas were flying up. Sturdy, heavy displays (including mine) were blown to the ground over and over. The soundtrack of the day was the sound of art falling over and ceramics smashing to the ground. But no one was hurt – yikes that’s awful! I think it’s time to get that liability insurance I’ve always thought about…

  3. Susie Says:

    Same deal here. High winds in Antioch, Il the morning of June 15th brought my tent down along with 6 others, needless to say, the show was called off by the promoters. Tents looked like a pile of pick up sticks and thankfully, most of us removed most of our wares the night before.
    I’ve been doing this for most of 10 years and I can honestly say, I was in a state of shock over the devestation. On the positive side, no one was physically hurt and that’s all that’s truly important. But I too, am sorry for everyone’s losses.

  4. Tony burns Says:

    My wife and i have never seen such eratic weather – weve done three shows so far this year and have been hit by severe winds and weather at all three. typically we run into a show like this maybe once every two or three years – but so far this has been a heartbreaking year for weather and sales . Weve spent more time and money just recouperating from these events and have been stretched to the limit – Our prayers go out to all our fellow Craftspeople and Artists for the strength to carry on.

  5. Helen Ritter Says:

    It is so sad when something like this happens to the art community. We all work so hard to get ready for these shows. I guess it’s true when they say, “You can’t mess with Mother Nature”.

    I’ve had several losses due to theft at a few shows but I have never experienced the devastation that these fine people have and I hope I never do. My heart goes out to all of you!

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