What started as a sunny Saturday afternoon on Main Street with vendors, musicians, artists and residents mingling together was taken by surprise by a torrential downpour. Clouds rolled in around 5:30 p.m., bringing a light sprinkling of rain that had most of the chalk artists looking for a way to protect their work.
Around 6 p.m., the sky opened up with high winds, hail and a downpour that left some of the Summer on the Streets breezeways and alleys with nearly half a foot of standing water by the end. Many vendors lost artwork and other retail goods to the unpredictable weather.
Firehouse Executive Director Elaine Waterman received the barest of warnings from a member of The Well at St. Stephen’s Church that the storm was incoming, just enough time to rally Firehouse volunteers to warn artists and vendors as best as they were able. Musicians unplugged their amplifiers and it was fortunate that nobody was injured by the sudden storm and flash flooding, Waterman said.
“It’s terrible that vendors lost merchandise to the rain,” Waterman said. “But it was also amazing to see everyone working together to keep people, tents and products safe.”
Only a couple of the chalk artists whose sidewalk sections were sheltered by the overhanging awnings of the buildings at the 300 block of Main Street had their artwork spared from the rain. Some chalk artists tried to cover their pieces with blankets or tarps to little avail.
“If you want it to rain in Longmont, I guess we just need to schedule a chalk art festival,” said chalk artist Jon Fukuda.
Fukuda’s chalk art lion in front of Dry Land Distillers was totally washed out under the tarp, but he kept going and redid the artwork with an hour left in the evening.
Waterman and the ArtWalk team took pictures just before the rain came down, which have been shared to social media through the Firehouse and ArtWalk pages. Whether the chalk art competition would continue using the pre-storm photos had not been determined at the time of publication.