The Southwest Renewable Energy Fair

damage1small.jpg - 39776 BytesHere are the remains of the large tent that was to house the majority of vendors at the Fair. On Thursday during Fair setup a violent tornado-like windstorm with extremely high wind speeds came dancing through the fairgrounds, not once but twice. I arrived between the two events and had just walked through this tent and taken refuge in another one when the storm made its second pass through the grounds.

This is the tent where 3 people were hurt, two seriously, one with a broken back and one with a broken shoulder blade (scapula). It is amazing that more people weren't hurt but at the time of the storm (about 1-2 pm) there were only a handful of us there.

damage17small.jpg - 33810 BytesThis is another view of the area where the injuries occurred, The injured men had already been removed by fire rescue personnel and transported to the hospital when I took this picture.

damage16small.jpg - 30070 BytesThis is the tent where I took refuge. It wasn't damaged nearly as bad as the big tent but, believe me, the view from inside was plenty scary. The tent basically tried to lift off numerous times only to be yanked back to the ground by the tie-down ropes, some of which eventually snapped. The tent then started twisting in the wind causing the pipe frames of the tent to snap like toothpicks.

damage8small.jpg - 34065 BytesThis is what saved me and 4 other folks from serious injury. They had already taken refuge inside from the winds when I came into the tent. As the winds grew stronger I tried to use the car as a windbreak but when I saw tables and chairs passing by the west side of the tent (airborne) I heeded the insistence of the others and jumped into the front seat. Right after that all hell broke loose. From the looks of it, my first decision to seek shelter in front of the car was probably not a very good one.

fair13small.jpg - 33710 BytesThe fair did eventually get started late Friday afternoon. Even with the late start some folks did show up for the abbreviated session. I even had 6 people in my workshop, which was moved indoors from its original location.

fair10small.jpg - 42285 BytesHere's the Homepower crew all set up and ready to go in the replacement main tent.

fair12small.jpg - 37737 BytesThis is an Aeromax prototype wind genny mounted on their very cool test-bed truck. By Saturday the storm was just a bad memory and attendance was quite good. My Saturday afternoon workshop was well attended, with about 25 people there asking excellent questions and showing a keen interest in Renewable Energy Living!

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Thomas W. Elliot