Steamboat Springs On Sunday afternoon, vendors at Art in the Park had a few derogatory things to say about Mother Nature.
Around 2:30 p.m., a strong gust of easterly wind ripped down U.S. Highway 40 and through West Lincoln Park. It came with a cloud of dust and without warning. Shoppers and vendors scrambled to hold down tent poles and stop shelves from toppling.
A few weren't fast enough.
A number of tents blew over, and vendors selling everything from mirrors to knickknacks saw their shelves come crashing down.
The tent for Blossoms Pressed Flower Creations fell to the ground and all Guy and Barbara Beals could do was watch. The couple grows flowers at their home in Bailey and presses and arranges the flowers into intricate collages. As their tent fell, dozens of framed pieces crashed to the ground.
Barbara Beals knelt on the ground picking up a pile of scattered brochures. She was near tears, but tried to stay positive.
She pointed to the mess and said that underneath it all was a plaque that reminded her that the weather may be frustrating, "but without the rain we couldn't grow," she said.
Her husband forced a smile.
"We depend on Mother Nature to do what we do," he said. "This is just part of it."
Sunday afternoon's wind gusts reached 40 mph, Gary Chancy of the National Weather Service said.
The windstorm encouraged Art in the Park to end a little early this year, but as vendors packed up their tents, they smiled and agreed the event had been a success.
Most sell their wares at Art in the Park year after year.
It's not a big part of her annual income, Crenshaw Jewelers owner Cathleen Crenshaw said, but she comes more for the atmosphere.
"This is my vacation show," she said. "I come just to hang out in Steamboat."
Rachel Green, who has sold her Rachel's Smokin' BBQ sauce at Art in the Park for almost 10 years, said that she relies on the festival as her test market. She debuts a new variety every year and watches to see how well it is received.
Her secret: "My mom was a good cook," she said. "I grew up in Texas and I know good food."
Green's business increases with every year, she said, because customers always come back. This year, a Boulder man returned for another gallon of barbecue sauce.
"He bought a gallon seven years ago and it just ran out," she said.
When the wind kicked up Sunday afternoon, Green said that passersby all grabbed a pole. One shelf came down, but the damage was minimal.
Green shares a tent with several other vendors calling themselves "The Farmers Market."
Susannah Lusk sold homegrown vegetables, herbs and flowers one table over. Lusk usually sells her vegetables at Sweet Pea Produce on West Lincoln Avenue during the summer, but continues to come to Art in the Park every year because "of the sense of community."
"I only make a small amount but it's enough to buy hay for my horses during the winter," she said. She didn't know how well she did this year and wouldn't know until later. "It's an old gambler's rule: Don't count your money until you're home."
The Farmers Market also included Ron and Bonnie Wilson of Beary Crafty Crafts in Hayden. They sell handcrafted lamps, wooden country-style decorations and homemade stick horses.
Ron Wilson retired this year. This is the first season that the couple will travel to craft fairs full time.
-- To reach Autumn Phillips call 871-4210
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org