Hey, Spike! sees a tent go flying in Breckenridge
Ryan Summerlin September 6, 2012
Attending Mark Beling’s three summer Mountain Arts Festivals in Breckenridge always provides wonderful glimpses of artistic works from around the world and Colorado.Sunday’s 37th annual Gathering at the Great Divide also provided a lesson in dramatic weather. Just after 2 p.m., with a packed crowd of art lovers on hand to see the works in 110 artists’ booths, a mini funnel cloud developed and swooped in over the Blue River to lift a double-sized tent and its weights high into the sky.It happened in a matter of seconds, with just a fluttering breeze to announce its arrival on a fairly calm day.The tent, housing musicians Darren Skanson and Gregg Hansen, went sailing upward – possibly a 100-plus feet – before landing on the Christy Sports store roof on Main Street at the Watson Street corner. “This wasn’t a microburst,” Mark later told The Denver Post’s Joey Bunch. “It came right over my tent. It was a twister of some kind. It looked like a large dust devil.”Oil painter Beth Erlund, who acknowledged she’s a “tornado magnet” from the number she’s encountered in a lengthy traveling artshow career, with 30-plus shows this year, steadied an umbrella outside her booth and saw the “opaque cloud” turn into a darkening “dancing rope” funnel.She was less than a block from where it struck the guitarists’ tent.There were several attendees who sustained minor scrapes and bruises and were treated by fast-responding firefighters and police. Later, the Red, White & Blue aerial ladder truck was deployed to get the tent off the roof.”Thank God, no one was killed,” Mark said. “These weights on these tents weigh 40 or 50 pounds, and they went flying. It was just amazing, but it was short. People two blocks away didn’t even know it happened.”In quieter times, we spotted out and about:Kurt and Sandi Hotto, Schultz and Elida Greenberg, Jan Butler and sister Betty, Kay and Bill Henkhaus, Tracy and Tom Glass, Darby and Marlene Piens, Rick Bly, Dave Patterson, Jeannie and Bob Beitscher, Ann and Frank Amorosa, Sandi Bruns, Graeme Johnston, Michael Longueira and Kathy Kussey, Mary and Harold Wilson, Maryann and Jim Annunziata, Marcia and Joe Newhart, Sam Eppstein, Jennie Bonenberger, BJ McCarthy, Mary Frances Ahlquist, Sandy Greenhut, Tony DiLallo and son Dominic, Brenda Herman and her Rapid City, S.D., relatives; Amy Smits and daughter Delaney, Ada and Harold Anderson, Lauren and John Fisher, Keith Bilisoly and Melanie Frye, Leon Joseph Littlebird, Nick and Barbara Payne, Debbie Downey, Natalie French, Bob and Patrece Mayerle, Judith Pollack, Scott Wheeler, Pat and Nancy Kelly, Pat Arnold, Steve Siehr, Beth Erlund and Dennis Johnson, Kathy and Jim Sigle, Leona and Jack Hawks, John Gibson, Bruce Taylor, Melanie Alcorn, Melinda Nemechek, Harry and Barbara Bowden, Meg Thompson, Leslie and Tim Sikon, Linda and Don Hamilton, Jeff Kessler, Anne Reichel, Colleen Everett, Judy and Randy Hoch, Chris Nelson, Ben Stielow, Dr. Tim Keeling, Ron and Jennifer Shelton, Pat Butler, Karin Bearnarth, and The Sandbergs: Matt and Shannon and daughters Madison and Sarah.Matt, the SDN publisher, reports successful arts festival visits: “Yes, we definitely supported the arts on both Sunday and Monday. All told we purchased five different pieces.”Also making an appearance at the show was Breckendridge Resort Chamber newcomer Jessie Unruh, who’s handling social media.Another personality, Greg Abernathy, was seen – from a distance – at the modern day hitching post (bike rack) outside his Lone Star Sports up in the Kingdom, chatting with clients.***In other arts events, it’s the second annual FALL for the Arts, today through Sunday, starting at 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., so you can enjoy music, fine art, theatre, dance, children’s activities, history and Summit County’s legendary fall colors.For the slate of countywide events go to www.fallforthearts.org or call Sandy Greenhut at 468-7557.***Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former Climax miner, graduate of Adams State College and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to firstname.lastname@example.org.