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After Storm, Chief Satisfied After Successful Dumfries Festival

By Potomac Local News September 11, 2012 11:00 am

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DUMFRIES, Va. – A fall festival brought together Virginia’s first town on Saturday as about 40 vendors lined up in Garrison Park behind Town Hall.

It was held on a day where the weather felt more like summertime with 90-degree temperatures, and a violent storm disrupted the end of the festival. But before the storm blew through, crowds the filled the park during the peak of the festival after noon were treated to live music, dancing, crafts, and foods like barbeque, Italian sausage, ice cream treats and others.

A “Dumfries has talent” competition was also held, allowing children, teens, and adults to take to a stage provided by Hilldrup Moving and Storage to share their musical talents.

And with political season on hand, candidates vying for congress were on hand to greet festival goers. There also members of the Dumfries Town Council on hand to greet their neighbors.

Storm impacts festival

Despite all the revelry during the day, a nasty storm blew through the park about 4 p.m., toward the end of the festival, leaving at least one child scraped and bruised and metal tents broken.

A severe thunderstorm warning was issued by the national weather service at 12:15 p.m. Saturday, and the watch was increased to a warning just prior to the storm moving through the area.

“The event is held at Garrison Park next to Town Hall. This allows us to ‘shelter in place’ festival goers should an emergency occur necessitating the immediate evacuation of the Park. The Town had four police officers working and the Dumfries-Triangle Rescue Squad had staff on the scene most of the day. This was a rapidly developing event with little direct warning and little direct information concerning the severity and times,” said Dumfries Police Chief Robert Forker.

As the storm blew through, many vendors in the park – including PotomacLocal.com – had already began packing up their display materials. Dumfries Vice Mayor Willie J. Toney was still on stage announcing the winners of the talent competition when skies darkened. No order was given to evacuate the park, said Forker.

As the storm hit, police officers quickly moved to direct traffic out of the parking lot of Garrison Park. Forker said he is pleased with the performance of his officers.

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