Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Waynesboro Fly Fishing & Wine Festival 2011 | Rainsboro

Trent and I arrived down at the festival grounds around 4pm on Friday and started to unpack my car. We got my area set up in no time and it was a bit windy and cold. The tent was big enough for a few circus elephants to play in. My booth area was on the back wall / perimeter of the show. We cracked some cold beers and walked around. We met up with fellow tpfr.org member John Bilotta and headed down to the South River. 
Caddis and mayflies were coming off. An angler worked the man-made structure down stream and we watched several tiny fish (fall fish or juvenile trout?) jump out of the water to eat the bugs. I strung up my rod with a streamer and worked the holes under the bridge on Main Street. I had one bite and that was it before my fly fell apart. Trent and I headed to the local chain T.G.I AppleMcFridayigans to watch the 2nd game of the Caps vs. rangers playoff game. The caps one and we called it a night. 

I woke up to a downpour on Saturday morning. I ran from my car to the tent with my computer, backpack, and THW's computer. I was soaked by the time I go to the tent. Its days like these that I am glad I own a really nice pair of wellies. Upon arriving to my booth I noticed it was about 2" deep of pooled up water. I began dragging my heels through the mud to channel the water away from my booth. Power lines were under water, my cardboard boxes were soaked, and water had filled in around my chairs. It was not going to be a pleasant day. 

My booth neighbor arrived and immediately went back home to get a garden ho. We used the tool to dig trenches in the mud to channel the water. Lucky for us we were on the top end of a slant. All the rain that was coming off the tent roof was filling in the Fly Fishing Benefactors booth and then coming our way. We took advantage of this and further channeled their water behind us and soon we had drained all of our water away. My standing area was dry! We had a flowing creek behind us the entire day.

The wind was howling and shaking the sides of the tent. Huge gusts would come through and lift the tent stakes off the ground and water would rush in. It was too dark inside to tie flies. I was jealous of those walking around in their waders. They were dry. There was a mass run of people to Walmart to get rubber boots.

I applaud the brave visitors to the tent. It was cold and dark and raining (an understatement). Everyone was cold and soaked. I didn't really have any idea of how bad it was raining until later. The power had to be shut down due to the standing water. I had to show my slides on the computer battery. People couldn't run credit cards. It was slow going as most bailed on the idea of going to a fly fishing show in that weather. I took a hit on sales. I was able to sell a few dozen flies and some beer lanyards.  I was cold and didn't have enough layers. Nonetheless I had fun. We made the best of the situation.

 Sometime after noon we were told the weather was going to take a turn for the worse. The water by now had started to fill in the center of the tent. Wooden pallets had been brought in for people to stand on to elevate them off the water. I'm not sure what time it was but we were all told to evacuate the tent as a tornado warning had been issued. I grabbed my money and computer and ran to the car. Everyone waited out the storm in their cars. We sat in the parking lot, cracked a beer, and watched the Doppler (capital D since its named after the dude that invented it) radar. I don't think I have ever seen purple, magenta, pink, and crimson colors on a radar like I did on Saturday. 

Half an hour or so later we were given the ok to head back in. Most vendors bailed and headed to their hotels. Without vendors the show could not go on. I took my video camera inside the tent to check out the carnage. The media tents along the river had collapsed. This was my first glimpse as to how bad the weather had been all day. 

The tent was empty. Most The pallets in the walk way were either bobbing or submerged. Pools of water filled the entire floor. Some vendors were breaking down their entire set up and heading home. The show was over for the day. There was a kayak that had earlier been on the grass and was now floating around.
There are 3 times I have seen rain like this. Once was at the Bonnarro in 2004 during the My Morning Jacket set. There was a week long storm when I was in the Amazon in 1993 that flooded the Rio Aguarico and there were entire islands of trees and land washing down the river. The other was during a freak tropical downpour in Puerto Rico's El Junque in 1998. That was by far the worst storm I had been in. We got 19 inches of rain in 3 hours while driving through the rain forest. There were cows belly deep in water flowing down hill! Sofas were floating out of open windows. Entire mountain sides had collapsed.

Here are some more pictures from Saturday.

 Dalton playing with a breast implant, the most unique paper weight and conversation piece of the show.

 Scenes from after the tent evacuation. Ghost town.
 Photo cutesy of Mollie Simpkins
 People securing their goods.

 Not a fan of the smell of wet grass and mud.

 Packing up for the day. I packed up and headed to the hotel to watch some hockey and dry out.
 The South River. Two people drowned nearby while playing in the flood water. This was spotted on the way to the dinner on Saturday Night.
 People gathering to watch the flood waters.

 Police shutting down the roads. The roads in and out of the country club were blocked. We managed to find a back street that let us out.

 A house across the river from the country club. The water is several feet up the front and sand bags are piled up to keep the river out.
 Beau wearing his waders to dinner.
 Mollie receiving an award.

 Beau receiving an inflatable zebra.

Sunday morning brought a cold front and sunshine. I drove tot he tent around 0830 to see the carnage. To my surprise the water had drained out of the tent! Things were muddy and straw was being thrown about to soak up any remaining water. The show went on.
 Here is my booth. I had all sorts of visitors. As my first ever vendor at a fly fishing show I would have to say it was a success. I had crowds watching me tie my flies (hellgrammite, mouse, damsel) and sold about 3 dozen Snowhite Hellgramites
The other big hits were the dragonfly visors, half lanyards (sold out) and dragonfly beer can lanyards. With the lack of people on Saturday and the sales on Sunday I was able to make a small profit. I sold a few yards of my hellgrammite chenille. I had hoped to clean out my bin of surplus dry flies that I picked up years ago (coachmen, humpies, wulffs, comparaduns, BWOS, hendricksons, gnats, etc etc etc) No luck. Same with my tying foam. I thought there would be more fly tiers there that would want to get a great deal on my foam. Oh well, more for me to tie with.

 Trent was glad he bought wellies a few days before.
 Hardcore fish tats.
 This dog had an festival entrance stamp on its forehead.

 Captain Paul and  his paper weights.

I'll update more later as ideas come back to me.


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