By CHARITY B. SMITH
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE — Strong winds wreaked havoc at the Melvindale Street fair Aug. 2, knocking down several tents and forcing vendors to vacate the fair early.
“You can’t control Mother Nature,” said Lugene Flores of Taylor, who was selling textile crafts. “One lady lost her tent yesterday, bought another one, set it up today and lost that one too. I’m usually one of the last ones to leave, but not this time. It’s too frightening.”
“Everybody’s tents are just blowing all over,” said Jasmine Harvey of Wixom who was representing DTE Energy.
“I really can’t blame them for leaving,” event coordinator Susan Louvet said. “These winds are terrible.”
Some vendors wanted to stay, but felt forced to leave as all their neighboring vendors were leaving, leaving tents alone on the street separated by large gaps.
“I’m all by myself in the middle of nowhere so I guess I have to leave,” said Donna Peterson of Newhaven and owner of Bella Donna’s Baubles. “It’s such a shame. I was here last year and it was phenomenal.”
Other vendors blamed not only the wind but the lack of business for their early departure.
“It wasn’t just the wind, it was the combination of the wind and the lack of customers,” said George German of Wixom who was there with Jenni’s Illuminations.
German said business was very slow both days. German offered numerous suggestions to entice people to attend the fair, such as better music, a carnival, and some shaded seating areas.
“It can’t be planned out like church,” he said. “We’ve gotta find a way to keep people here all day.”
Kasi and Delbert Miehlke of Newport lost one piece of artwork that they were trying to sell to the winds and immediately removed their table and instead displayed all their work on the ground.
“Can’t break it down there,” Delbert Miehlke said.
“Unfortunately the winds really did hurt us on Sunday,” Louvet said. “You never know what you are going to get with the weather. This year it was the winds, next year it could be something else.”
(Charity B. Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)