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High winds level art tent

BRECKENRIDGE – A variety of factors have prompted Mark Beling to relocate his art shows in the past decade – and Mother Nature has never been one to lend a hand.

So artists at Breckenridge’s Fourth of July Arts Show were astounded Sunday when a gust of wind lifted a tent – and its 340 pounds of anchors – from the East Sawmill parking lot and deposited it across Main Street at A Racer’s Edge.

No one was injured in the incident.



“It was unbelievable,” Beling said. “I’ve never seen wind like that before. That tent went circling around, it went down, it went back up again. That first one (gust) came through – I thought we were going to get blown away. It was like a tornado; it was huge.”

The high winds scattered jewelry, broke cases and tipped over nearby pottery but didn’t harm items in tents on either side of it – one of which included stained glass and delicate, glass kaleidoscopes.



“You hear about these tornados that miss your neighbor but hit you,” Beling said. “Neither of them had so much as a pot turn over, and here’s this guy blowing up in the air. It was amazing.”

Eyewitnesses said the wind lifted the tent 100 to 300 feet into the air before dumping it in a heap across the street. One of the four 85-pound anchor weights fell from the tent and landed between two tents.

“It looked like a flying carpet,” said Jim Watts of Evergreen. “I turned to look, and it was probably 200 to 300 feet in the air, right side up, flying away to the east. It created quite a stir. It was very strange.”

Chuck Ginsburg, who sells bikes at A Racer’s Edge, said he was working on bikes inside his shop when the tent fell.

“I heard this big crashing noise in the back of the shop,” he said. “I had visions of a chimney coming down. I looked out there and saw this big, white thing crashing onto the rental bikes. It was the mangled wreckage of a tent. It was definitely pretty freaky.”

Beling said the jeweler gathered his goods within 20 minutes and continued to display them.

Another tent, this one featuring woodwork from Montana, was ripped from its anchors and shredded, Beling said. The wind also tipped over a few pots and broke some glass picture frames.

The last local microburst of note occurred Halloween night in 1995, when a sudden gust of wind blew through Valley Brook Cemetery, leveling trees and graveyard fences and breaking a dozen rear windows in cars parked at Upper Blue Elementary School.

Overall, however, this weekend’s show was a success, with scores of artists from throughout the nation displaying and selling their pottery, paintings, wood carvings, etchings, sculpture and clothing. Team Summit, which cultivates the talents of elite skiers and snowboarders, garners $30,000 from the Fourth of July and Gathering at the Great Divide shows.

“It was a great show,” Beling said. “It was by far the best quality show we’ve ever had.”

Jane Stebbins can be reached

at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or

jstebbins@summitdaily.com.


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