Severe weather wreaks havoc on art festival

Severe weather wreaks havoc on art festival
Broken pottery on the ground after winds ripped through. (Photo source: WLOX)
Broken pottery on the ground after winds ripped through. (Photo source: WLOX)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Severe weather moved through South Mississippi Saturday afternoon, causing power outages, minor flooding, and even leaving behind some damage.

Artists at the ColOHR Fest in Biloxi said they feel like they caught the worst of it. They planned to spend the day selling their artwork, not picking it up piece by piece.

"We'll just start over and make some more pottery, but yea it's just disappointing," said Pam Tripp Simmons.

When it began to rain hard and the wind picked up, the artists took cover inside.

"We were hunkered down inside the building, most of us, when the wind come through and the lightning. It took up most of the tents, and some of the tents collapsed into the other tents," said Dani Davis.

Mangled tents, broken glass, and a lot of hard work were gone with the wind.

"I am a painter, so I had a lot of paintings. I do acrylic, so most of the paintings either got wet, the frames got damaged from the wind, or some of the oak frames got damaged from the water," said Davis.

What is believed to be straight line winds ripped through the festival. Some artists who stayed in their tents were reportedly lifted off of their feet. While it didn't last long, it left a lasting impression.

"Very disappointed, but you take the chance when you do an art show. You're out in the elements and you don't know. Especially when it's calling for storms," said Simmons.

Artists like Simmons say having to deal with Mother Nature is always a concern for outdoor vendors.

"A lot of us have opted to do the indoor shows because of this. People love to go to the festivals and be outside and everything, but for us artists, it's really harmful. We lose a lot of stuff this way," said Davis.

As they helped one another salvage what they could, many of them couldn't help but have a sense of humor.

"I came out from San Francisco, and welcome to the Gulf Coast," said Dirk McCall.

Although most of the artists lost their tents, organizers say ColOHR Fest is still on for Sunday starting at 9:00am. Admission will be free of charge.

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