Mother Nature steals show as storm washes out TexMex fest’s opening
Sun Staff July 13, 2012 4:42PM
TexMex Fest volunteers and patrons seek shelter from a thunderstorm on Friday, July 13, 2012. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 30, 2012 10:40AM
The first ever Naperville TexMex music and food festival was scheduled for Friday at CityGate Center on the north end of the city, but Mother Nature had other ideas.
Shortly before the 4 p.m. start time, a ferocious rainstorm blew through the area, destroying tents, damaging equipment and wrecking any chance that the fest could start on time. Wind speeds were estimated to be as high as 70 mph.
At about 6:20 p.m., organizers announced that the fest had been canceled for Friday.
“We sustained too much damage from the storm and will be canceling the fest tonight,” organizers said in a tweet to fans.
The fest is still scheduled to open at 4 p.m. Saturday, but organizers late Friday weren’t making any promises.
Jennifer McGuffin, of sponsoring Calamos Investments, could only say that there were many people, “working very hard” to make sure that Saturday’s schedule, including an appearance by Poi Dog Pondering, could take place.
As of 1:30 p.m. Saturday, the schedule will see Asleep at the Wheel taking the stage at 5 p.m. The Country Sky Band will not be performing.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” John Haarke, with Naperville’s Peterson’s Wine, said from the safety of the Hotel Arista’s lobby on Friday during the storm.
The winds were so strong that the musical equipment of the night’s scheduled entertainers were blown off the main stage and damaged.
Fans of Chris Isaak, the featured performer for Friday night, were disappointed.
Mandy Gangwer and her husband traveled from Lafayette, Ind., to celebrate her 35th birthday and had fourth row seats for Isaak, her favorite musician.
“I’m a huge Chris Isaak fan for many years,” Gangwer said. “It looks like I’m not going to get to see him.”
Terry and Bonnie Reasons came from Louisville, Ky., and had second row seats.
“As long as everybody’s all right and didn’t get hurt, that’s all that matters,” Terry Reasons said.
By 5 p.m., the storm was over and the sun came out. Organizers said they were doing everything they could to clean up the grounds, and were hoping to reopen at 7 p.m., but that proved impossible, they said.
Other than Isaak, Friday’s lineup was supposed to include cooking demonstrations from chef Rick Bayless and music from Carlos Ortega and his Latin Combo.
Isaak would not be able to reschedule for Naperville as he had a concert in another state scheduled for Saturday.