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Magnolia Festival continues after organizers, vendors fix storm damages on fairgrounds

Organizers say they were determined to clean up the mess the storm created.

KIRBYVILLE, Texas — It wasn't a pretty sight in Kirbyville with power lines down, tents torn and equipment ruined. 

Organizers and vendors of Magnolia Festivals arrived to the fairgrounds Friday morning. They've since cleaned up and say they're ready for people to come out. 

The Magnolia Festival is still on after being hit by Thursday night’s storms. Organizers say it takes a village to pull off something like this.

Tents blown over and wind and water damage all caused by last night's storm.
Organizers say they were determined to clean up the mess the storm created.

Within five hours, tents were back in its proper spots and power was restored, and the festival started on time.

“I got a call this morning from our president. Wind Damage, a bunch of tents and everything else were torn up,” said Magnolia Festival director Les Gatewood.

Last night's storm in Kirbyville took Gatewood by surprise.

“Whenever I got here this morning, around 6:37 o'clock,” Gatewood said. “Everything was just a mess we had our tent that is probably 100 yards away to the west into blown across the top of the food vendors, and it was actually wrapped up in the Ferris wheel here.

Leaving him and his team to piece back together what was torn apart.

“Director called shortly thereafter, and she was concerned that we may not be able to continue on with the festivities and I told her I said, ‘Well, it's just a matter of everybody pitching in and cleaning up,” Gatewood said.

Five hours of clean up from last night's storm and this is what you get a festival that is still on.

Rudy with Rudy Kaboobs says it's been an odd year for his business.

“You got pandemic and this kind of weather. I mean we lost a lot of business,” Rudy said.

And although the festival was still a go, he didn't see nearly as many customers as he was expecting.

“We don’t expect too much crowd this time. I think, we expect tomorrow is the best because this rain is killing us right now,” Rudy said.

But even with smaller crowds, the director of the Magnolia Festival Wanda Frank says an event like this will boost people's spirits.

“You know so many things been going on with the COVID and so much, we just want everybody to get out and get in a family organization and enjoy themselves,” Frank said.

And for those who came out for the fun and good food, Frank says it means the world to festival organizers. She's hoping for bigger crowds Saturday.

“It really warms your heart to see everybody out coming out and participate in what we have going on in the community,” Frank said. “Because you know some people could have chosen to stay at home not come out the other kids come out, and it's about the kids you know let the kids enjoy what's going on, let them get out and enjoy a little bit of normalcy for a little.”

If you are not out there just yet, you still have time to enjoy the fun and some good food on Saturday.

Social distancing is being enforced and vendors are spaced out along with different food stands.

RELATED: Neches River Festival parade canceled due to weather conditions, street party is still on

RELATED: Kirbyville residents experiencing power outages, damages after storm

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