Weekend storms impact festivals in SWGA

Periodic storms caused delays and cancellations of festival-related activities on Saturday.
Published: Mar. 25, 2023 at 5:36 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Saturday storms have required festival organizers to adapt.

Throughout the day, the First Alert Weather team tracked multiple tornadoes and severe thunderstorm warnings. Those storms knocked down trees and power lines. Those alerts impacted two highly anticipated events.

In Early County, the Peanut Proud festival was impacted by a tornado warning a few miles south of Blakley. Sherri Newberry, one of the co-directors of the event, said they canceled the parade.

“The parade is one of our strong cards. Usually right after the parade is when we have our biggest crowd on the square. We decided because the parade was so large and there’s so many people involved it would be too dangerous to try to run the entire parade through and then get people to a safe place.” Newberry said. “It’s tough our vendors who had all the stuff set up under tents and then have a deluge of rain come.”

Newberry says most of the other events went on as planned and most people stayed. The sun popped out and hundreds could be seen watching ‘Little Texas’ perform.

Many miles away was the Fire Ant Festival in Ashburn. It was a multiple-day event. Ashley Miller with the Chamber of Commerce was concerned about bad weather before the event.

“We’ve been watching the weather all week, we do this because of the community. A little sprinkle doesn’t scare us off,” Miller said.

She said the rain likely did scare a few off, but the events took place as normal.

“The crowd could’ve been better today, but last night was fantastic. It’s the biggest Friday crowd since I’ve been here,” Miller said.

The Fire Ant Festival, like many others, have canceled in recent years due to COVID. Miller was thrilled that most events were still able to happen.

The carnival in Ashburn will continue through 10 p.m. In Blakley, their downtown dance contest starts at 7:30 p.m.