Ostrich Festival gets temporarily rained out

Ostrich Festival gets temporarily rained out

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CHANDLER, Ariz. -

This is about the worst weather you would want at the Chandler Ostrich Festival -- whipping winds and strong rain -- a terrible combination.

The ostriches didn't seem to mind it too much, but the people who decided to brave the elements today, like the Hanna family from Mesa, were caught off guard.

"I thought it was done raining -- I thought we could do something for an afternoon," says Ashley Hanna. "It's not working out so well."

"This is not ideal. The last time we had weather this bad was back in 2006, it was just torrential rains, it was flooded out," says Camille Cisek, Ostrich Festival chairman. "Typically we have great sunny weather."

Certainly not the case today though. The weather forced organizers to shut down the carnival rides and evacuate several of the large tents.

At one point, the winds were so strong it sent tents flying everywhere. Vendors went running for cover. Luckily, no one was hurt.

"It was pretty crazy -- we were hanging onto the tents as hard as we could, it was hailing so we were getting pelted, trying to get everything together without hurting anyone out here," says Bryanna McHenry, SRP vendor. "But it was a little crazy."

This tourist from France got more than he bargained for today.

"I think they kind of lied on the post card, eh?... I was hoping [it'd be sunny] but you've got to deal with it," says Xavier Laurand, of France.

The Hannas tried to do that, but with the kids getting cold and with more rain moving in, they headed out.

The Ostrich Festival closed down about 4:30 due to the inclement weather. At 6 p.m., the festivities started back up. In its 25-year history, they've never had to postpone things.

At 6 p.m., the rides got back up and running, and some musical acts will hit the stage later. If you do plan to head out, be sure to dress for the weather.

For the latest updates on the status of the festival: https://twitter.com/chandlerchamber

Online: www.OstrichFestival.com

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