Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Winds of Texas

We just returned from Texas, where we exhibited in an indoor antiques show known as the Original Round Top Antiques Fair. It's quite large, having more than 100 dealers at the building we were in, plus two more buildings and one large tent for additional dealers.

The last night of the show a huge thunderstorm came rolling through the area. We weren't too concerned since our booth was indoors in a relatively new, well-built steel buildin
g. We heard the storms at 5 am, after an all-night rain, but since we were safe inside our hotel, it wasn't anything to worry about. Of course, we didn't know about the tornado that hit a Houston building about an hour east of us, taking off it's roof but luckily not injuring anyone.

If you
sell at antiques shows, weather is always a consideration. Show dealers are a hardy lot - they come prepared for all kinds of unexpected weather. We bring different kinds of clothing to cover both hot and cold temperatures, always have rain gear with us, and in general are pretty well prepared for the various extremes we might face.

The pictures here show the force of the strong Texas winds. The same storm that
ripped the roof off a large building in Houston was responsible for destroying this 30' x 40' brand new tent. The tent had been staked outside our show building with 3 foot steel rerod stakes. When the winds hit - estimated at approximately 50-60 miles per hour, it lifted this heavy-duty tent straight up twenty feet into the air, and then blew it across our building, landing it 200' away. The tent rolled across the top of the building, still attached to it's stakes and 3 inch diameter aluminum poles, tearing the edges and punching holes in the roof.

Down the road from our show, several hundred exhibitors at some of the tailgate antiques shows were showing in large tents. Many of them lost merchandise as their tents collapsed in the high winds. We heard that at least five tents were destroyed.

The tent next to our building flopped it's aluminum poles like legs, tumbling across one dealer's cargo trailer and then finally landing on another dealer's van. It covered the van like a giant spider, with it's aluminum poles splayed across the van. Some of the poles remained on the roof, while others were torn off and landed in various pieces on the ground. Both the van and trailer suffered some holes and dents, but neither was severely damaged.

Wasn't it fortunate that this didn't happen during the day, when patrons could have been eating lunch in this tent or walking around outside??

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