Civic Holiday Fun!

What a weekend! The second last long weekend of the season had a little bit […]

kempenfest-15What a weekend! The second last long weekend of the season had a little bit of everything that makes for a classic long weekend to remember.

Hot days and nights and going northbound on HWY 400 was lined up going into the weekend. Traffic was busy Thursday night, all day Friday and Saturday morning and up until about mid-afternoon. Barrie’s waterfront was alive with the action of the 45th annual Kempenfest celebration. Close to 200,000 people were expected to take in the exhibits and entertainment on the shores of Kempenfelt Bay.

Everything was going along amazingly through the first two days of the weekend and right up until about the dinner hour Sunday night, when the warm late-afternoon air collided with a storm system followed by a front of colder air directly behind it. The fast moving system caused high winds, heavy rain downpours, hail in some areas, and lightning bolts striking surprisingly close. The grounds at Kempenfest cleared, vendors tried their best to secure their tents and displays in the wind and summer-stormtoSummer Stormrrential rain. During the worst of the storm, the main tent at Centennial Beach collapsed which was earlier holding probably close to 800 people. I had heard as many as 70 vendors had completely lost their tents along the waterfront. Some had to simply pack up and head home. The Sunday night entertainment had to be cancelled. It was amazing no one was seriously injured.

Next day volunteers were out to help clean up the grounds, re-pitch tents, cover muddy areas with wood chips and by early Monday morning in the sunshine, you’d hardly know anything had happened the night before, except for the holes in some of the vendor area where tents had been in the days leading up to the Sunday afternoon storm. One tornado from Sunday’s storm was confirmed by Environment Canada yesterday in a town north of Waterloo Ontario and investigators are checking on reports of a second tornado possibility around the Shelburne area throughout the day today. With the arrival of the cold front, cooler air is expected in the area for the first part of this week.