Rain puts damper on event

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The best laid plans of the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce were undone by a clash with Mother Nature last Saturday night.

The GACOC's annual &#8220Celebrate America!” event in the Tiger Stadium parking lot quickly ground to a halt when thunder and lightning arrived shortly before 7 p.m., the starting time for the event.

The weather put a literal and figurative damper on the planned games and activities, as torrential rains and heavy winds soon joined the electrical activity.

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Volunteers and attendees had little choice but to seek shelter where they could – beneath entrance ways to the Tiger Stadium, the adjacent elementary school, concession tents and cars - to wait and watch the rain fall and the lightning flash.

&#8220I kept thinking this was going to be like the other storms we have had. Rough for a few minutes, and then it would blow over,” said GACOC Director Francine Wasden.

&#8220Unfortunately, things didn't work out that way. The weather is just one of those things you can't control.”

The games and activities were officially called off at 8 p.m. with the fireworks display still tentatively scheduled for 9 p.m., weather permitting.

However, the continued rain delayed the &#8220rocket's red glare” over Greenville.

&#8220The lady from the fireworks company told us they require a window of time when it is not pouring down rain before they can shoot off the fireworksŠthat meant it was almost 9:30 p.m. before the display could happen,” Wasden explained.

&#8220I did get calls from people who said they really enjoyed watching the show from their porch, so that is nice. I just wish things could have been different and everyone have enjoyed them at the stadium as planned.”

The GACOC director said on Monday plans are in the works to help compensate the several organizations that supplied refreshments for the event.