Weather forces Lilac Festival to shut down early

Posted at: 05/10/2013 7:42 PM
Updated at: 05/10/2013 11:12 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri

 Thunder and lightning forced the Lilac Festival to shut down on its first day. Festival organizers say for the public's safety they closed everything at 7:30p.m. They said the thunder and lightning was just too dangerous.

While the decision was made to protect festivalgoers, it had a negative impact on some of the vendors.

The rain may have closed day one of the Lilac Festival and that definitely means vendors were putting in less money. But vendors say by the end of the festival, it will all even out.

During the first few hours, people enjoyed nice weather at the opening day of the 2013 Rochester Lilac Festival. Even when the rain started, they were still enjoying themselves.

But as the night went on, the storm got worse. And that's when festival organizers felt it was in everyone's best interest to shut down everything for the night. Not only did the rain force festivalgoers to hide under tents, vendors had to change their plans.

Joy Irvin, vendor, said, “We had to shut down due to the lightning and the severe thunderstorms coming in.”

Joy Irvin had to close down all five of her bounce houses that were up for the kids.

Irvin said, “We can keep them open in a light rain, but it is getting into severe storms here and for safety reason, we got to close.”

And even food stands were forced to close early.

Anders DiPinto, vendor, said, “Anytime it rains, it is bad for business. Sometimes we stay open, it depends on how bad it is. But we sometimes would rather close early than sit here and do nothing. We like to be busy.”

At Big Kahuna, they say even though rain made them lose out on money. They will make up for it later on.

  DiPinto said, “Since it is Friday, it is a big night for us usually. All the people who were planning on coming out tonight will have to come tomorrow, as well as the people who are coming tomorrow it will be twice as busy.”

Because of the rain, the bands had to stop playing around 6:30p.m., but the festival stayed open hoping things might clear up till about 7:30p.m. But organizers say things Saturday are still on schedule. The Lilac Festival Parade will start tomorrow at 10:30a.m.

For more information on the festival including parade route and entertainment schedule, click here.